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Approved byVice-Chancellor, March 2013
Date Policy Took Effect1 January 2013
Last approved revision28 July 2023
SponsorChief Financial Officer
Responsible officerFinancial Controller


The purpose of this policy is to define the rules and procedures governing the use of Purchase Cards.

The purpose of the Purchase Card is to provide an effective means of paying for everyday purchases and to reduce the reliance on petty cash floats, staff reimbursements, cash advances and one-off purchases processed through the Accounts Payable office.

Organisational scope

This is a University-wide policy. It shall apply to all University staff, including the University's Council members.


Purchase Card (or “PCard”)
A bank-issued credit card that is available to University of Otago staff, so that they can purchase goods and services on behalf of the University.


  1. Purchase Cards will only be issued to employees of the University who are permanent or are employed on a fixed term contract of at least six months.
  2. Overall responsibility for authorising the issue of a Purchase Card resides with the Chief Financial Officer.
  3. Purchase Cards must only be used to pay for goods and services where the expenditure is business related and is incurred on behalf of the University.
  4. Expenditure must be reasonable, appropriate and in accordance with the University's policies and procedures related to expenditure.
  5. The Purchase Card is a means of payment only and the use of the Purchase Card does not reduce the requirement for appropriate purchase decision-making and compliance with authorisation processes for entering into a commitment on behalf of the University, including ensuring that a budget has been approved for at least the value of the purchase.
  6. Purchase Cards should be used only after the University's other preferred methods of purchase have been considered. Purchase Cards should not be used where the University already has a procurement arrangement for goods and services with preferred or mandatory suppliers which does not anticipate the use of Purchase Cards. Refer to Approved Suppliers webpage or email for further advice.
  7. Expenditure must be supported by appropriate and relevant documentation. All card holder monthly statements, with the exception of those listed below, must be approved by the Purchase Card holder's line manager or a higher authority, and submitted to the Accounts Payable Office, Shared Services Division by the date specific on the statement. All documentation and approvals will be received by Accounts Payable officers.

    Approval of statements for the following specific positions applies:
    • Chancellor – will be approved by the Chair, Audit and Risk Committee
    • Vice-Chancellor – will be approved by the Chancellor
    • Vice-Chancellor's direct reports – will be approved by the Vice-Chancellor
  8. There is an expectation that legible and complete supporting documentation is to be provided within one month of expenditure being incurred; and if not received after 3 months, this may result in a 6-month suspension of the Purchase Card.
  9. The use of Purchase Cards must always be in accordance with the requirements of the issuing bank.
  10. Expenditure on the Purchase Card must not exceed the monthly credit limit.
  11. Purchase Cards may include a cash advance facility.
  12. Purchase Cards that have not been used for a period of six months will be reviewed and may be cancelled.
  13. Purchase Cards may be issued for a specified period of time or for a specific purpose and once that time has elapsed, or the purpose has been completed, the Purchase Card will be cancelled.
  14. Where the Purchase Card is unintentionally used for personal purchases the value of those purchases must be repaid to the University as soon as possible.
  15. Any breach of purchasing policies or procedures may result in the cancellation of the Purchase Card, the refund of expenses, and possible disciplinary action.

Related policies, procedures and forms

Contact for further information

For further information, contact:

Financial Controller

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