1505.2 - Procedure for Using a Travel & Expense Card


This Procedure states the scope of what the Travel & Expense Card (T&E) can be used for to comply with state auditing rules. It details examples of allowable and non-allowable uses of the T&E Card and defines the oversight of card use.



University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Finance Procedure 1505.2 - Procedure for Using a Travel & Expense Card



This procedure states the scope of what the Travel & Expense Card (T&E) can be used for to comply with state auditing rules. It details examples of allowable and non-allowable uses of the T&E Card and defines the oversight of card use.


This procedure applies to all employees (faculty, staff, and Senior University Administrators).


Allowable and Non-Allowable Charges

All T&E Card transactions must be in compliance with Finance Policy 1501 - Policy on Business Travel and follow the relevant travel procedures in Finance Procedures 1501.1 - 1501.7 (available in the 1501 Policy under "Related Requirements.") Travelers are required to book travel online via Concur Travel, with the University's approved travel agency, and/or on the State's term contracts, regardless of the method of payment.

The following is a sample list of allowable and non-allowable charges. If you have questions about a purchase, please contact the Travel Card Office at travelcard@unc.edu.


  • Airline and other Transportation costs, including:
    • Baggage Fees
  • Conference Registration fees
  • Hotels and other means of lodging
    • Third-Party Lodging still requires the completion of Finance Form 1501.6.1f - Non-Hotel Lodging Authorization Request in advance of travel
  • Business Meals and Entertainment Expenses
    • Must be in compliance with Finance Policy 1263 - Policy on University-Related Business Entertainment Expenses
  • Parking (when related to University Business travel)
  • Passport or Visa fees (when related to University Business travel)
  • Professional Business-Related Membership Dues
  • Rental Vehicles and Ground Transportation
    • Rental vehicles must be obtained through the State's term contracts when available
    • Only the cost of renting a standard vehicle class is allowed without prior approval
    • Rental insurance is allowed for international vehicle rentals only
  • Gasoline for rental vehicles
  • Ride-share services such as Uber, Lyft and Zipcar
  • Wi-Fi costs while in flight or during lodging (if necessary for conducting business)
  • Tolls (when related to University Business Travel)


  • Personal meals & incidentals
    • When traveling, meals for an individual must be paid for out-of-pocket; individuals may then submit for Per Diem reimbursement at the established rate.
  • Personal airline or in-flight purchases (including airline upgrade fees, in-flight movie purchases, Frequent Flyer Mileage fees, etc.)
  • Trip Protection/Trip Cancellation Insurance
  • Personal Hotel purchases (including fitness room fees, mini-bar, movie rentals, room service, etc.)
  • Toiletries
  • Fines for moving violations (including fines for traffic, toll, photo enforcement, parking violations, etc.)
  • Domestic Car Rental Insurance
  • Gas for your Personal Vehicle or Personal Auto Repairs
  • Personal toll road passes (e.g. EZ Pass)
  • Taxi Voucher Booklets
  • Charter Buses (without prior approval from Procurement)
  • Cash Advances
  • Gift Certificates/Gift cards
  • Lost/Stolen Property Replacement
  • Personal Items
  • Tobacco
  • Any purchase exceeding $5,000 with the exception of individual or group travel expenses
    • All purchases exceeding $5,000 must be vetted and approved by Procurement Services, including all catering and event costs

The T&E Card should be utilized to pay for individual official University travel and business entertainment expenses. Use of the card for personal spending is strictly prohibited.

Business Meals and Entertainment Expenses are allowable on the T&E Card. Alcohol may be charged to Institutional Trust Funds or Special Funds only if those funds are discretionary in nature and the fund authority is sufficiently broad to cover the purchase. If any other funds are paying for alcohol, the T&E card may not be used. Please refer to Finance Policy 1263 - Policy on University-Related Business Entertainment Expenses and/or the University's Alcohol Policy for additional information.

Accountholders who will be traveling overseas should notify the issuing bank to ensure that their T&E Card will not be declined. Foreign currency transactions will incur a currency conversion fee.

Each Accountholder is responsible for the security of the T&E Card assigned; the card should always be protected and kept in a secure location. It is recommended that the T&E Cards be kept separate from any personal credit cards.

Accountholders who are traveling with University students may pay for the lodging expenses or ground transportation expenses of the students on their card. Group meals and other travel related expenses are allowable with prior approval of the Business Manager and/or Department Head. Travel meals must still follow the Per Diem Policy.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can purchase many items exempt from state and local sales taxes. In the state of North Carolina, this exemption does not apply to lodging, prepared food, candy, soft drinks, motor vehicles, waste disposal services, or alcohol.

Accountholders must understand and comply with applicable sales tax rules. It is the responsibility of the Accountholder to ensure taxes are removed from eligible purchases whenever possible.

Blocked Vendors

Merchant Category Code ("MCC") numbers are used to identify the dozens of different types of vendors served by Visa. The University may block some of these codes and your card will not be accepted if presented to one of these blocked vendors. Questions in this area should be directed to the Travel Card Office.

In addition to the restrictions on use, additional restrictions may be applicable to an individual user as determined by the individual's department/unit.

Oversight of T&E Card Use

To ensure compliance with University policies and State purchasing laws and regulations, the Travel Card Office will perform an after-purchase compliance review on T&E Card purchases. Violations of University policies and State purchasing laws and regulations will result in notification of the department head and the Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance and Accounting and may result in disciplinary action against the individual or removal of the T&E Card privilege, or both.

If the Travel Card Office or an approver finds misuse of a T&E Card, they will contact the employee who allegedly misused the card by sending a copy of the T&E 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long should I keep original receipts and T&E Card statements?

A: Accountholders will receive electronic statements for their records. There is no audit requirement for the maintenance of T&E Card statements. Receipts must be uploaded into Concur Expense, which should be the system of record for all receipts.


Please refer to Finance Policy 1501 - Policy on Business Travel for a list of common definitions.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, Procedures, and Forms

Contact Information

Primary Contacts

Primary Contacts
Subject Contact Telephone Email
T&E Card Transactions Travel Card Office   TravelCard@unc.edu
Suspicious Transactions Bank of America Fraud Department 866-500-8262  



Article ID: 132760
Sun 4/25/21 10:04 PM
Mon 11/13/23 11:15 AM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Finance and Budget
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
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
07/01/2024 12:00 AM
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
07/27/2023 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
07/27/2023 12:00 AM
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.
05/04/2022 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
04/25/2021 12:00 AM