What is the Purchasing Card (P-Card) Program?
Answer: Department of Administrative Services and Office of the State Comptroller have come together to co-sponsor commercial card solutions for the State of Connecticut. Save time. Get your purchases quickly. Order from the Internet. Pay one bill via ACH instead of writing hundreds of checks. The P-Card Program is designed and intended to more effectively meet your purchasing and travel needs.
How does the P-Card Program work?
The P-Card is a MasterCard issued by JPMorgan Chase Bank. It works much like a personal credit card. However, it is a commercial card and each card has custom designed features, with pre-set controls built into the magnetic strip, to meet the specific needs of the cardholder and the agency.
The P-Card simplifies the procurement and disbursement process by facilitating point-of-demand purchasing. Purchasing authority is delegated to the ordering departments enabling the authorized cardholders to place orders directly with the suppliers.
The process is fully automated, allowing all purchases to be tracked and easily managed. Each credit card issued can be monitored using Payment Net, an Internet application, to view transactions 24 hours after a purchase has been made.
What is the payment process?
Answer: Each cardholder receives one monthly statement of his/her transactions from their agency coordinator. Each agency verifies and reconciles one monthly total for all agency transactions and processes one monthly payment to JPMorgan Chase Bank.
What is the difference between a State- issued commercial credit card (P-Card) and a regular credit card?
The P-Card, since it is a commercial card, facilitates more options than a regular credit card. Limits can be encoded directly into the magnetic strip, allowing each card to be individually customized to meet the cardholder and agency’s needs.
- Monthly spending limit
- Single purchase transaction limit
- Limit to the number of transactions daily and monthly
- Restrictive or permissive commodity classification
What is the benefit for the Cardholder?
Answer: The P-Card allows the cardholder to get the job done with greater efficiency by reducing processing time and by obtaining commodities and travel services faster.
What is the benefit for the Agency?
The P-Card reduces the time and paperwork associated with:
- Purchase Orders
The P-Card offers an alternative to a variety of processes including:
- Petty cash
- Check requests
- Low dollar purchase orders
- Travel reimbursement
- Online purchasing/registrations
What is the benefit for the Vendor?
Answer: Accepting the P-Card ensures the vendor payment within 48 hours; increasing cash flow, reducing wasteful paperwork, and reducing accounts receivable overhead costs.
What are the perks associated with the P-Card Program?
P-Cards offer flexibility and security including:
- Streamlines and simplifies purchasing & accounts payable functions
- Eliminates waste & low value activities
- Reduces transaction costs
- Facilitates timely acquisition of materials
- Supports travel services
- Offers flexible controls
- Automates data transactions
- Improves vendor relations
- Rebates can be earned
Do I still need to use Contracted Vendors if I use the P-Card?
YES! While the P-Card is a purchasing tool, it does not signal a change in policy regarding compliance with the State’s contract suppliers.
DAS Procurement Services is authorized to negotiate and issue contracts that will provide the State with “least total cost” arrangements for goods and services required from outside vendors. In negotiating those contracts, DAS Procurement Services will consider not only the vendor’s line item pricing for the products or services, but will also consider the vendor’s:
- Ability to provide the necessary quality, delivery and service
- Overall pricing structure
- Financial stability
- Warranty and Service Policies
- Other organizational requirements
Supplier contract pricing and performance are normally based on the State’s overall anticipated volume of purchases during the contract period. In order to assure state agencies of “least total cost” of goods or services, and to fulfill the obligation to consolidate all of its requirements with the authorized contract supplier(s), all offices are obligated to order required goods or services from those suppliers who are authorized contract suppliers.
- What do I do if my P-Card is Lost or Stolen?
- Who do I contact if I have questions about the P-Card?
- Who do I contact if I have questions about paying my P-Card bill?
How is travel handled with the P-Card?
Answer: Contact your Agency Travel Coordinator to review your agency’s travel procedures.
Can I use my P-Card if I’m traveling outside of the country? Is there anything special I need to do?
Answer: If you have a cardholder traveling outside of the United States, please notify the P-Card Administrator so she can alert the bank and a notification can be put on the cardholder account for the dates of travel. With this notification, the security department that monitors the cards will read all comments on file if anything comes into question. This should keep the account secure and fully functioning.
When can gasoline be purchased with my P-Card?
Answer: The only time the P-Card can be used to purchase gasoline is when the cardholder is refueling an out of state rented vehicle. However, the first choice in refueling would be to use a state issued Voyager Fuel Card.
Why do I see a tax amount for transactions on reports when I have receipts that clearly show no tax paid?
While the Sales Tax information available in Payment Net can be useful, the data presented is only as good as that sent by the merchant.
Transaction detail is presented in three different levels. Level 1 is the most basic information - merchant name, transaction date, amount, etc. Level 2 allows the merchant to send sales tax information. Level 3 enables the merchant to pass line item detail (i.e. how many pencils you bought, unit price, etc.) or travel-related addendum information. All merchants that accept credit cards pass Level 1 data. A much smaller percentage passes Level 2 and 3 data.
Due to the transaction detail levels, you will not always be able to determine electronically that sales tax has been charged. Sales tax information that IS passed is either automatically populated by the more sophisticated merchants or manually entered by those less so. Additionally, clerks may just be tabbing through fields during the purchase and inadvertently enter some information in the sales tax field that is inaccurate.
The most reliable source for this information is the original receipt or invoice presented by the merchant.
Taxes: If you are charged tax, make one attempt to recover the tax with the vendor and get it credited back to your account. Document your efforts.