Q: What if a state employee has bad credit. Will s/he be able to secure a Purchasing or Travel Card?
A: The Purchasing Card is a state liability card so the individual cardholder’s credit rating is not applicable. The credit check for state employees applying for the Travel Card is non-invasive per our contract with the bank. Therefore, all employees that apply for a Travel Card should receive one. However, should a state employee fall behind on payments to the bank, the card could be cancelled.
Q. How will an employee’s credit history and credit report be affected if they choose to secure and utilize the travel card?
A. US Bank will not perform an initial credit check on any prospective cardholder prior to issuance of a travel card. However, US Bank does perform an internal credit scoring inquiry, referred to as a delinquency alert, to identify potential cardholders that may represent a substantial risk. This inquiry has no effect on the individual’s credit report or credit history. Utilizing the travel card will not impact or affect an employees’ credit report. Employee credit reports will only be affected if payment in full is not made within 150 days. At 151 days, the card is cancelled and collection of the balance is turned over to collection agency and reported to the credit bureau.
Q: How long will it take US Bank to issue me a card?
A: Once the paperwork is submitted to the Bank, it will take approximately one week to receive the card, so you’ll want to plan ahead.
Q: What if I need to take a trip before I receive my new Purchasing or Travel Card(s)?
A: Please order the card(s) now to avoid this situation. The Purchasing Card must be used for airline tickets, travel agency service fees, hotel room rates and car rental costs effective October 17, 2005.
Q: When will I receive the statement for any charges on my Travel Card?
A: You will receive a monthly statement. The cycle date for the state is the 23rd of each month. When completing the application, you may choose to receive this statement at your home or office address.
Q: What if a division or department, is planning a conference? Will all participants have to secure a Purchasing Card to pay for their travel-related expenses?
A: The purchasing card offers two other options that would work in this situation. One is called a “ghost account”, the other a “meeting or event” account. Both work in a similar way in that they are behind the scenes. The department would make arrangements with the hotel to charge all reimbursable expenses to a single account. If you would like additional information on how this works, please contact your campus Purchasing Card Program Administrator.
Q: What if I’m staying at a hotel that does not accept a credit card?
A: You will then have to pay by cash or check. Most hotels accept credit cards. All airlines and car rental companies do accept credit cards.
Q: Does campus have the flexibility to determine if either the travel card or the purchasing card be utilized?
A. The travel card can be offered, not mandated. If the employee so chooses, s/he may complete an application for the travel card. If the employee prefers not to have a travel card, charges for all airline tickets, travel agency service fees, hotel room rates and car rental rates that are reimbursed or processed through University accounts must be placed on purchasing cards.
Q. Our athletic account administrator is the only one in that department to have a purchasing card and he doesn’t want his staff to have access to one. He could book airfare but only has a $1500 limit on the card which of course wouldn’t be enough. Do these types of departments get a large increase of the limit to enable them to use it?
A. When appropriate, the charge limit for purchasing cards can be increased either on a permanent or occasional one-time basis. If you would like to increase the spend limit or for more information, contact your campus purchasing card program administrator. If supported by the campus, your purchasing card program administrator would then contact the DOA State Bureau of Procurement to secure the spend limit adjustment.
Q. Travelers may not know the purchasing card guidelines so they may make inappropriate charges, i.e. $100 social function at a conference, tuxedo rental for an optional event, meal purchases etc. How do we handle unauthorized (including personal) purchases?
A. The cardholder must be contacted for a refund of any unauthorized purchases. The State Controller’s Office and the State Bureau of Procurement have well-established policies in place on appropriate use of the purchasing card. A cardholder manual is also available. All purchasing card cardholders should receive these documents and also receive either individual or group education on appropriate use of the card. The more information we can communicate to cardholders now, the fewer inappropriate charges we will need to deal with later.
Q. How do we handle situations were employees can’t get personal credit cards due to non-payment where departments are very nervous about putting a University purchasing card in their hands?
A. A University should feel comfortable offering the purchasing card to all employees as the card is centrally billed and paid. Non-payment will not be an issue. Additionally, the state has liability coverage for fraud built into the contract. The state also has liability coverage for employee misuse built into the contract. However, in cases of proven employee misuse, the employee must be terminated for the state to secure the liability coverage. If a University still does not feel comfortable issuing employees a purchasing card, the travel card can be offered. If the employee so chooses, s/he may complete an application for the travel card. The credit check for state employees applying for the travel card is greatly relaxed per the state’s contract with US Bank. Therefore, all employees that apply for a travel card should receive one. However, should a state employee fall behind on payments to US Bank, the Bank will cancel the card.
Q. Can telephone calls be charged to the purchasing card? What about the $5 call that is allowed to travelers on a daily basis?
A. At this time, telephone calls cannot be charged to the purchasing card.
Q. Are students allowed to use their own personal credit cards or cash since we do not allow them access to a travel or purchasing card?
A. Only employees may have the state’s purchasing and/or travel card issued to them. Students may not have a card(s) issued to them however, when state funds or funds passing through state or university accounts are used for student airline tickets, travel agency service fees, lodging and car rental, use of the purchasing card is mandatory. Students may never carry someone else’s purchasing or travel card. Only the employee named on the card may carry the card(s). Student personal credit cards or cash may be used for charges other than those stated here.
Q. There is a privacy concern with DOA monitoring travel card activity. Will they have access to individual credit card activity and information, or just summary level information for all the travel cards for the Institution?
A. DOA, the State Controller’s Office and each University travel card program administrator will have access to each cardholder’s charge and payment data as they have responsibility for cardholder policy and payment compliance. They will not have access to the cardholder’s credit history.
Q. Will the hotel accept a Purchasing Card in the name of a program assistant in my area for payment of my hotel room? Will I have to have this Purchasing Card with me when I arrive at the hotel?
A: A state employee may never carry a Purchasing Card in someone else’s name. This violates the state’s liability arrangement as contracted with US Bank. However, using a program assistant’s Purchasing Card to pay for a traveler’s IN-STATE hotel room has worked very successfully since the cards inception eight years ago. In this situation, the program assistant would contact the hotel for the reservation and advise the hotel staff that his/her Purchasing Card should be charged for the hotel room rate. The hotel will charge the program assistant’s card for the room only. (The traveler may have to present a letter on official letterhead to the hotel’s front desk personnel authorizing the charge to the program assistant’s Purchasing Card.) The traveler will then pay for any meals, in-room service, telephone calls, movies, etc., via a method other than the state’s Purchasing Card. This may not work at every hotel in the state as it has more to do with hotel policy than state policy. Please check with each hotel when you are making your reservation to determine if this arrangement can be accommodated for you. Please note: This scenario will not work for out-of-state hotels unless you work with the hotel for a third-party billing arrangement prior to arrival. Out-of-state hotels will require a card to swipe at check-in and the card must be in the name of the guest.
Q. Are there expenses I cannot put on the Purchasing Card?
A: Yes. There is very specific policy on the authorized use of the Purchasing Card. Please contact your supervisor or your agency’s Purchasing Card Program Administrator for the policy.
Q. What if my agency already has a direct-bill or purchase order in place with a specific hotel(s)? Can we continue to pay that way?
A: Only if the hotel does not accept Visa. In all other situations, your hotel stay must be charged to a state-issued charge card.
Q. What if I’m staying at a hotel that does not accept a credit card?
A: You will then have to pay by cash or check. Most hotels accept credit cards, however some do not. All airlines and car rental companies do accept credit cards.
Q. What if I frequently travel around the state as part of my job? Will I need to use the Purchasing or Travel Card for my expenses?
A: Only if you have hotel and/or car rental expenses. These must be charged to either the state’s Purchasing or Travel Card. If your travel expenses are only for meals and mileage, you would not need to use the Purchasing Card or Travel Card.