FIN-044: Use of the University Travel and Expense Card

Date: 03/13/2012 Status: Final
Last Revised: 08/29/2017
Policy Type: University
Oversight Executive: Vice President for Finance
Applies To: Academic Division and the College at Wise.
Reason for Policy:

The University Travel and Expense Card provides a means for authorized individuals to make official purchases of small dollar goods and services and travel. This policy establishes the standards for the use of the University Travel and Expense Card.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Approver:

    The employee who has the authority and knowledge to approve transactions on the account.

  • Authorizer:

    An individual assigned to approve travel and expense card applications, changes to card limits and restrictions, and cardholder purchases. This individual is the applicant's or cardholder's supervisor; for non-employees, this is a University department sponsor. A supervisor can designate someone else to approve on his/her behalf. The individual should not be the cardholder and, in general, should not be asked to approve for an individual to whom they report.

  • Card Administrator (Program Administrator):

    A University employee registered with the Card Provider and the Virginia Department of Accounts (DOA) as the only person authorized to make changes (e.g., add or cancel cards, change card controls, etc.) to the card program.

  • Cardholder:

    An individual who holds the University Travel and Expense Card.

  • eVA:

    The Commonwealth of Virginia's electronic purchasing system.

  • Official Purchase:

    All purchases of goods and/or services made with University funds which are necessary, reasonable, and directly related to the goals and mission of the University.

  • Preparer:

    The employee who performs the monthly detailed reconciliation and prepares documentation for approval.

  • Recon@UVa System:

    A system that provides an electronic solution for the documentation of reconciliations for all organizational units at the University of Virginia (including all academic schools and departments).

  • Student Organization:

    A general term that refers to all Contracted Independent Organizations (CIOs), Fraternal Operating Agreement Organizations (FOAs), and Special Status and Agency groups.

  • University Travel and Expense Card (T&E Card):

    A credit card issued to an authorized individual to make official purchases of small dollar goods and services, travel, meals, and entertainment (that do not require competitive bidding) quickly and directly.

Policy Statement:

The University Travel and Expense Card (T&E Card) may be used only for official purchases. The T&E Card may not be used for personal expenditures or to obtain store credit; it may only be used to conduct University of Virginia business. All items purchased with University funds remain the property of the institution.

The University offers a "one-card" solution that allows the cardholder to make small dollar purchases of goods and services, and pay for travel expenses. Cardholders are responsible for following all rules governing the use of the T&E Card.

The University Travel and Expense Card Program is managed by Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services (PSDS).

  1. Eligibility for a T&E Card:
    To obtain a T&E Card:
    • an Academic Division employee must secure his/her supervisor's or Authorizer's (as documented and filed with PSDS) approval;
    • a Student Resident Assistant must acquire approval from the University's Housing and Residence Life Office;
    • A Medical Center employee, University student acting on behalf of a student organization, and a non-University employee must be sponsored by a University department.
  2. Obtaining a University T&E Card:
    All entities noted in Section 1 above, except Student Resident Assistants, must submit a card application with the required approval. Student Resident Assistants should see the Housing and Residence Life Program Administrator to obtain a T&E Card.

  3. Training Requirements:
    New cardholders must complete training and agree to the program’s terms and conditions before receiving a T&E Card. Cardholder training is required annually to retain the T&E Card.

The Authorizer for the T&E Card is required to certify annually that he/she understands and commits to follow the University's policies and procedures that govern the T&E Card.

The Preparer is required to attend training before access is granted to the Recon@UVa system and certify annually that he/she has reviewed the University's T&E Card policies and procedures.

The Approver is required to certify annually that he/she understands and commits to follow the T&E Card policies and procedures.

  1. Types of Purchases:
    The T&E Card should be used only for eVA-excluded purchases. [See list of eVA exclusions.]

(See the PSDS website for purchases that require payment by the T&E Card and other allowable and restricted purchases.)

Requirements for competition prior to purchasing with the T&E Card are generally based on the dollar value of the order, and all purchases are subject to the Guidelines for Competition. Regardless of competition requirements, it is expected that cardholders will make prudent and necessary purchases.

  1. Spending Limits and Restrictions:
    Cardholders must comply with the University procurement, payment, and travel regulations.
    1. Spending Limits:
      The University has established standard limits of $4,999 per transaction and $10,000 per month for the T&E Card.

    A cardholder may NOT make purchases that exceed the established transaction and monthly spending limit for their T&E Card. Splitting orders among multiple smaller orders for the purpose of circumventing transaction limits is NOT allowed.

    The cardholder may request: adjustments to spending limits; changes in legal name of the cardholder; status changes (e.g., to reflect a leave of absence); cancellation of the card; removal of lodging or restaurant restrictions; or authorization to obtain a cash advance on the T&E Card. Such requests must be authorized by the Approver and should be made by completing the "Card Change Request" web form. This and other T&E Card procedures are available at the University of Virginia Travel and Expense Card Program page.

    T&E Card limits and restrictions should be reviewed at least annually by departments to ensure they are appropriate.

    1. Spending Restrictions:
      The T&E Card has certain restrictions which are based on:
      • specific types of commodities that may be purchased with the T&E Card; and
      • the vendor with whom the T&E Card can be used.

      A detail of the above purchase restrictions can be found at University Travel and Expense Card -- Restricted Purchases.

    Requirements for competition prior to purchasing with the T&E Card are generally based on the dollar value of the order, and all purchases are subject to the Guidelines for Competition. Regardless of competition requirements, it is expected that cardholders will make prudent and necessary purchases.

    Additional restrictions may be placed on the T&E Card depending on the cardholder's status. For example, additional restrictions may be established at the departmental level or as part of the terms of a grant. Resident Assistants are subject to additional restrictions established by the University's Housing and Residence Life Office.

  2. Merchandise Returns:
    When a cardholder returns merchandise, the original receipt must be provided and the vendor requested to credit the return to the T&E Card. "Store credit" must not be accepted for returned items. If a vendor refuses to credit the T&E Card for returned items, the cardholder must notify the University's T&E Card Administrator.

  3. T&E Card Security:
    The T&E Card may only be used by the person to whom the T&E Card has been assigned. A cardholder may not lend his/her T&E Card to another person.

    A Cardholder must not:

    • fax or e-mail the complete T&E Card number (more than the last 4 digits), or include it in an email or email attachment; and
    • place orders over the Internet unless the security of the vendor's website can be verified. [See Responsible Computing at the University.]

    Cardholders should consult Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services' website for guidance.

  4. T&E Card Reconciliation and Documentation:
    T&E Card transactions must be documented and reconciled monthly.

  5. Exemption from Virginia Sales Tax:
    As an agency of the Commonwealth, the University is exempt from Virginia sales and use tax on all goods and services except for purchases of lodging if: (i) the goods and services further the mission of the University; (ii) payment comes directly from the University rather than from an individual reimbursed by the University; and (iii) for meals only, the University determines the place, time and recipients of the meal. Also, University purchases are not subject to many Federal excise, Communications (e.g., wireless and cellular phone services), and transportation taxes. If a vendor requires proof of exemption, the Commonwealth of Virginia Sales and Use Tax Exemption Form and Communications Sales and Use Tax Certificate of Exemption Form are located on the PSDS website. For tax exceptions with other states, see the State Tax Exemption Certificate database on the University Controller’s website to determine the University’s exemption status. The cardholder is responsible for claiming an exemption when using the Travel and Expense Card.

  6. Compliance with Policy:
    Cardholders who violate University Travel and Expense Card policy and procedures may have their cardholder privileges suspended or permanently revoked, and may face additional disciplinary action.  In addition, failure to comply with the requirements of this policy and/or associated procedures may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination or expulsion in accordance with relevant University policies.

    Questions about this policy should be directed to the Contact Office.


Using the Travel and Expense Card

Travel and Expense Card Application
Card Change Request
Commonwealth of Virginia Certificate of Exemption Forms

Related Information:

Using the Travel and Expense Card
eVA Allowed Travel and Expense Card Use

Guidelines for Competition – describe when a purchase requires competition, other processing by Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services, or may be ordered directly.
Recon@UVa, the University's on-line financial reconciliation system.
Travel and Expense website – contains links to TravelUVA, ExpenseUVA, forms, training materials, and other resources.
FIN-004, Travel, Meals, and Entertainment Expenses Incurred on Behalf of the University
IRM-008, University Information Technology Accessibility

Major Category: Finance and Business Operations
Next Scheduled Review: 01/07/2019
Approved by, Date: Policy Review Committee, 03/13/2012
Revision History: Updated 8/29/17, 8/12/16, 1/7/16.
Supersedes (previous policy):
FIN-017, University Travel Card Program; VII.C.3, Use of the University Purchasing Card