Frequently Questioned Purchases

If you are unsure if something is an appropriate purchasing card purchase or not, please review the list of Frequently Questioned Purchases below.  Some of the items listed are allowable, some are not, and some are allowable under certain circumstances.  If you cannot find the item/service you are looking for, please contact the Purchasing Card Program Manager.

Airfare

A Purchasing Card may be used to purchase airfare from the University’s contracted travel agency, Fox World Travel, or via Concur, the online booking tool.  For more information, visit UW TravelWIse at https://uw.foxworldtravel.com.

Alcohol

It is allowable for the University to pay for wine and beer to be served with a dinner included at a University-sponsored conference where these costs are included in the participant fee for the conference.  All other alcoholic beverage purchases are prohibited on the purchasing card. See PPP 4 – Exceptions/Approvals/Special Handling.

Appliances

Appliances for break rooms (e.g. microwaves, refrigerators, coffee makers) are allowable if they are part of an approved building project or they are replacing existing, faulty appliances. Appliances for individual use in private offices are not allowed. See Policy 201.M – Non-Payable/Reimbursable Expenses.

Awards

Awards that meet the criteria found in UW System Administrative Policy SYS 330: Prizes, Awards and Gifts are allowable on the purchasing card.

Capital Equipment and Capital Components

Capital equipment purchases greater than $5,000 must be made on a requisition or by a Delegated Purchasing Agent. The purchasing card may be used to buy component pieces of a capital equipment fabrication if the amount is less than $5,000 and the purchase meets the requirements defined by Procedure 110.4 - Fabricated Capital Equipment. If the purchase meets the criteria of a component part, the transaction must be allocated to Account Code 4670, and the cardholder must complete the Purchasing Card Capital Equipment Documentation Form, noting the associated fabrication ID for the purchase.

Cash Advances

Cash advances are technically not possible with a purchasing card. If a cardholder attempts to obtain cash from an ATM with their purchasing card, the request will be declined.

Catering

If the requirements outlined in PPP 10 – Catering are met, the catering expense is allowable on the purchasing card.  Note: Catering does not include food purchased and prepared by University staff or prepared food (box lunches, sandwiches, cheese trays, pizza, cookies, fruit or similar items) purchased from a licensed restaurant and/or catering operation and served by University staff on property owned/leased by the University.

Cell Phones/Service

Cellular service and equipment purchases are coordinated by DoIT in accordance with the State of Wisconsin cellular contracts and, therefore, are not allowable on the purchasing card.  See https://www.doit.wisc.edu/services/cellular-service-mobile-service/.

Copiers

Copiers are not allowable on the purchasing card and must be purchased through the state contract.  See How to Purchase a Photocopier (Copier).

Cylinder Gases

Cylinder gases are not allowed on the purchasing card. They must be purchased through MDS for safety and tracking purposes.

Decorative Items/Flowers

The purchase of decorative items (e.g. plants, artwork) is only allowable if the items are placed in a general reception area frequented by students and/or the general public. Decorative items for employee lounges, assigned offices or other work areas are not allowable on the purchasing card.

Ebay Purchases

The purchasing card may be used to purchase items from an online auction source, such as ebay, provided the risk of loss has been minimized to the maximum extent possible and University procurement requirements are met. Cardholders should do everything possible to determine the true condition of the item being purchased. When purchasing an operating piece of equipment, it is expected that an independent person or company be used to validate the operating condition. Cardholders are encouraged to contact the Purchasing Agent that handles the particular commodity prior to making an online auction purchase.

Fines

Fines, including parking tickets on or off campus, are not allowable on the purchasing card.

Gasoline

Gas may only be purchased on the purchasing card if it is going into a rental vehicle being used for University business. If an individual is driving their personal vehicle, mileage should be claimed on an expense report.

Gifts

Gifts that meet the criteria found in UW System Administrative Policy SYS 330, Prizes, Awards and Gifts are allowable on the purchasing card.

Gift Cards

Gift cards are only allowable on the purchasing card if they are to be used for prizes or awards in amounts of $25 or less. The gift cards may not be awarded to employees or Non-Resident Aliens and cannot be used for the payment of services or other tax reportable transactions. Examples of appropriate gift card purchases include offering an incentive to students for completing a survey or for selling the most tickets to a University-sponsored event. Prior to purchasing gift cards, the Gift Card Approval Form must be completed and signed by the cardholder’s Divisional Business Office. The Gift Card Recipient Log is to be used to document the name and contact information of each recipient.  Both forms must be attached to the cardholder statement.

Greeting Cards

Greeting cards are not allowable on the purchasing card, as they are considered to be a hospitality expense and not payable on UW funding.

Holiday Decorations

Holiday decorations are only allowable on the purchasing card when they are placed in open public areas, such as at a student union, student dormitory, or student health center.

Hospitality Expenses

Hospitality expenses (e.g. sympathy flowers, baby gifts, retirement gifts, greeting cards) are not allowed on the purchasing card.

Insurance

Insurance is not allowable on the purchasing card. Most insurance payments are processed by Risk Management. Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) payments are processed by University Health Services.

Meals

Hosted meals are allowable on the purchasing card provided the requirements outlined in Policy 202 - Hosted Meals and Events are adhered to. Individual meals, which are reimbursed to travelers are part of a Meals & Incidentals Per Diem Allowance, are not allowable on the purchasing card.

Memberships

Membership renewals are allowable on the purchasing card; however the initial payment of a new membership must be processed on a requisition or a Direct Payment Form to allow for appropriate approvals.

Parking

The following parking expense are allowable on the purchasing card:

  • Employee parking costs incurred outside of the employee’s headquarters city
  • Employee or non-employee parking costs incurred at an airport, even if the airport is located in the employee’s headquarters city

Postage/Stamps

Postage/stamps are allowable on the purchasing card.

Printing

The only time printing should be charged to the purchasing card is if the print order is less than $50 and the service is provided by an external vendor. Print orders provided by internal vendors (e.g. DoIT, Student Print, campus library) should be paid via an internal billing method, not the purchasing card. Print orders that exceed $49.99 must be competitively bid by Purchasing Services or purchased from an internal vendor. See PPP 5: Printing Related and Printing Purchases.

Prizes

Prizes that meet the criteria found in UW System Administrative Policy SYS 330, Prizes, Awards and Gifts are allowable on the purchasing card.

Registrations

Registrations are allowable on the purchasing card.

Services

Services are allowable on the purchasing card as it is the payment processor who is required to report on taxable credit card transactions.  Prior to commencing service work on campus, the vendor must have a valid insurance certificate on file in the Risk Management Office.  See https://www.busserv.wisc.edu/Certs/Certs_Main_Menu.aspx to determine if the required documentation is already on file.

Sponsorships/Donations

Sponsorships or donations are not allowable on the purchasing card.

Subscriptions

Subscriptions are allowable on the purchasing card.

Tax Reportable Purchases

Tax reportable payments are allowed on the purchasing card as it is the payment processor who is required to report on taxable payments made with a credit card.