1252.2 - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Procedure on Using a Purchasing Card


This procedure states the scope of what the Purchasing Card can be used for to comply with state auditing rules. It details allowable and non-allowable uses of the P-Card, and defines the oversight of card use.

Allowable and non-allowable charges

The following is a sample list of allowable and non-allowable charges. If you have questions about a purchase, please contact the P-Card Officer at 919-962-2255.


  • Advertising (no contract/agreement involved)
  • Caterers or restaurants that are providing food/beverage for University meetings & events (if no contract required)
  • Conference Calls
  • Copying/Framing/Photo Developing (that produces a supply item)
  • Credential Verification/Background Checks
  • Conference Registrations (Financial donation/gift component when registering for a conference or other event are personal expenses and not allowed)
  • In-Restaurant Dining (Alcohol not permitted)
  • Inventory Purchases
  • Medical License/DEA License/Passport Renewal
  • Professional Business Related Membership Dues
  • Newspaper/Magazine/Online Subscriptions
  • Postage/Shipping/Courier
  • Repairs from a vendor (a corporation or partnership)
  • Reprints
  • Rentals (If a Rental Involves a Contract with Terms and Conditions requires review by Procurement Services)
  • Services from a vendor (a corporation or partnership)
  • State Contract Purchases (must use contract vendor)
  • Supplies (office/shop/IT/lab)
  • Travel &Entertainment for Athletic Department and Student Travel on Request
  • Utility (power/water/gas/cable)
  • Zipcar
  • Uber and Lyft rides to and from the Clinics for Clinical Trial Studies using Departments Defined Dashboard


  • Any purchase that requires agreements or contracts.
    • Note: All agreements and contracts must be submitted for review and approval to Purchasing Services on a requisition.
  • Items otherwise available from ePro Vendor Catalog.
  • Alcohol/Tobacco
  • Anything costing more than $5,000
  • Avoiding State Contracts
  • Cash Advance
  • Contributions or donations
  • Gift Certificates/Gift Cards (Exception allowed for purchase eGift Cards for Clinical Trial Subject Study, Designated P-Card for each project and OSR approval required)
  • Personal Items
  • Radioactive Materials
  • Research Gases
  • Services from a Sole Proprietor (a Doing-Business-As Vendor - these are independent contractors)
  • "Splitting" of transactions to avoid purchasing thresholds
  • Travel (Exception allowed for Athletic and Student Travel on Request)

Blocked Vendors

The University has also blocked several Merchant Category Codes (MCC). MCC numbers are used to identify the dozens of different types of vendors served by Visa. The University has blocked many of these numbers (primarily travel and entertainment), and your card will not be accepted if presented to one of these blocked vendors. Decisions by the University to block vendor categories are based on whether or not P-Card purchases from a category are deemed appropriate by the Purchasing department. Questions in this area should be directed to the P-Card Officer.

In addition to the restrictions on use, additional restrictions may be applicable to an individual user as determined by the individual's department. The University's P-Card Officer will explain all of the restrictions when the P-Card is issued.

When a State Term Contract is available the contracted supplier must be used. State contract information is available at the N.C. Department of Administration website, or by calling the appropriate buyer in Purchasing Services.


Oversight of P-Card Use

The University's P-Card Officer is charged with oversight of this delegation of purchasing authority to individuals. To ensure compliance with University policies and State purchasing laws and regulations, an after-purchase compliance review will be conducted on individual purchases. Using a random sample technique, the University's P-Card Officer will screen the list of purchases and select certain purchases to review. The Officer will request that the individual produce documentation to support all purchases, including an invoice. Violations of University policies and State purchasing laws and regulations will result in notification of the department head and the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Finance and Accounting and may result in disciplinary action against the individual or removal of the P-Card privilege, or both.

If the P-Card office or an approver finds misuse of a P-Card, they will contact the employee who allegedly misused the card by sending a copy of the P-Card Misuse Form / Letter of Notification. This serves as an official warning of misuse and could be followed by further corrective action if more abuses occur.

Related Requirements

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

External Regulations and Consequences

Contact Information

Primary Contacts
Subject Contact Telephone E-Mail
P-Card Purchases P-Card Office 919-962-2255
Suspicious Transactions Bank of America fraud department 1-866-500-8262  
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Article ID: 131441
Thu 4/8/21 9:09 PM
Mon 7/12/21 4:33 PM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
02/28/2020 12:00 AM
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Travel and Payment Card Services Manager
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
02/28/2020 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
02/28/2020 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
01/01/2000 11:00 PM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.