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Purchasing Card Policies and Procedures


Welcome to the Hampshire College Purchasing Card Program: a MasterCard credit card, backed by JPMorgan Chase. This user guide outlines the benefits of the purchasing card program to you, the cardholder, as well as to your department and the College. It also provides you with information that you will need to use the card and your responsibilities as a cardholder. The purchasing card concept is designed to delegate authority and responsibility, and to enable you quickly and conveniently to make small purchases of approved commodities directly from those vendors that accept MasterCard. The program was created with the help of many staff members, and is designed to meet your needs and those of the College.

Benefits to the Cardholder:

  • Allows you to obtain small purchases of consumable goods much faster and more easily than by the traditional purchase/payment methods.
  • Allows you to be more efficient, thereby enabling you to better focus on the other important aspects of your job.
  • Eliminates the bottlenecks that exist within the current paper system.
  • Eliminates the need for you to obtain vendor information.
  • Use of the ProCard will in no way affect or change your personal credit history.

Benefits to Hampshire:

  • Saves time, enabling purchasing and accounts payable to focus on higher yield, more value-added activities such as improved contracts and timely processing of invoices and payments.
  • Dramatically reduces the number of purchase orders, invoices, and checks.
  • Eliminates costs associated with mailing of payments.
  • Reduces the number of vendors in Hampshire's vendor file.

How It Works

The purchasing card simplifies the process for the purchase and payment of goods. Purchasing authority is delegated to the authorized cardholder, thus enabling the cardholder to order materials directly from the supplier. When the transaction is completed, the cardholder saves the original, itemized receipt. Once a month, the cardholder will receive a statement from JPMorgan Chase that lists all the cardholder's transactions. The cardholder is expected to reconcile the documentation to the monthly statement and online through JPMorgan Chase Smartdata website and forward it to the purchasing office. It's that easy! This card is to be used for all College purchase transactions within the specified guidelines listed below.

The Authorization Process

There are authorization criteria built into the purchasing card that are checked by the MasterCard system when the vendor scans the card, or enters the cardholder's card number, at the point of sale. Following are the authorization criteria and limits that have been established by Hampshire for purchasing card use. All transactions are approved or declined instantaneously at the point of sale based on the purchasing card authorization criteria:

Single purchase limit beginning at $1,000 (example)

Spend per month beginning at $5,000 (example)

The cardholder, with permission of the cardholder's administrator, may request an increase or decrease on the cardholder's card based on individual needs. If the transaction limits established for the card are exceeded, the card will be declined. Splitting a transaction in order to avoid one's single transaction limit is not allowed.

Accounts and Object Codes

Only one account number and object code may be applied to each purchasing card as a default. Charges may, however, be moved to other valid campus accounts and object codes by authorized individuals who have access to the reallocation screens on the JPMorgan Chase Smartdata website.

Restricted Commodities

The following items are not Hampshire College-authorized purchases:

  • Cash advances
  • Contracted professional services
  • Gasoline purchased for personal vehicle (travel policy)
  • Gifts (see non-reimbursable expenses)
  • Gift cards or gift certificates
  • Hazardous materials or related cost of disposal
  • Lease or lease-to-purchase agreements
  • On-campus dining or retail purchases (The Bridge, dining commons, Kern Kafe Catering, HampStore)
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) medications, pharmaceuticals, or health and beauty aids
  • Personal items or personal expenses
  • Reimbursements of any type
  • Cellular telephones and related expenses
  • Purchases that are made outside of Hampshire's purchasing policies and standards or reimbursement guidelines

Contract Compliance

While the purchasing card is a convenient method for purchasing goods, it does not signal a change in policy regarding compliance with Hampshire College's contract suppliers. If the desired item is available on an established ESM, MHEC or E&I contract, it must be purchased from the contract vendor. More information on MHEC and E & I can be found below.

The purchasing office is responsible for the bidding and issuing of contracts that will provide Hampshire College with the "least total cost" arrangements for consumable goods from outside vendors. When taking bids for contracts, the purchasing office not only considers the vendor's line item pricing for the product, but also the vendor's:

  • Ability to provide the necessary quality, delivery, and service
  • Overall pricing structure
  • Warranty and service policies
  • Compatibility with Hampshire's automated systems
  • Financial stability

Supplier contract pricing and performance is based on Hampshire College's overall anticipated volume of purchases during the contract period. In order to ensure that the College community is paying the "least total cost" for quality goods, and to fulfill the College's contractual commitments to its contracted suppliers, all College departments are required to order their consumable goods from authorized vendors.

Where do I find the list of current contract vendors?

All computer purchases, including software and hardware, must be pre-approved by the director of IT.

All furniture, floor, and window treatment purchases must be pre-approved by the purchasing office or the facilities and grounds office. Specific fire and safety requirements must adhere to standards established by Hampshire College.

How to Activate Your Purchasing Card

To activate the purchasing card, the cardholder must telephone MasterCard at the number indicated on the credit card. MasterCard will verify your identity to ensure you are the legitimate cardholder. Remember, only the cardholder is authorized to use the purchasing card. You are responsible for all activity against the card and are not authorized to share your purchasing card with anyone.

How to Place an Order

The purchasing card may be used to purchase consumable goods in person at the supplier site, over the phone, or by mail. Prior to placing the order, check to see if the item(s) is available from a contracted vendor. Links to the College's contracted vendors can be found above.

When placing an order over the phone, please be sure to:

  • Identify yourself to the vendor as a Hampshire College employee.
  • State that you wish to make a purchase for Hampshire using the College MasterCard.
  • State that Hampshire College is tax exempt and give the vendor the College's tax exempt number, which is listed on the front of the card (04-6130872).
  • Provide your name.
  • Give your purchasing card number.
  • Furnish the expiration date of your card.
  • State the appropriate contract that the purchase is being made against (for example, MHEC), if applicable, to ensure that you will receive contract pricing.
  • State the quantities and descriptions of the consumable supplies that you require.
  • Verify the total cost of the purchase with the vendor.

Shipping Instructions

Tell the vendor that the address label/packing list that accompanies the package(s) must contain the following information:

Packages that are not sent via U.S. or express mail are to be sent to:
Hampshire College, 893 West St., Amherst, MA 01002

  • Cardholder's name
  • Name of the department to which the package belongs
  • The building and room number if applicable

Please note: By law, vendors are not permitted to bill your credit card for purchases until the items have been shipped, and the transaction will not go against your card until that time. In most instances your purchasing card account will be debited within 48 hours after the vendor ships your merchandise.

Responsibility for Receipt and/or Return of Goods

The cardholder is responsible for ensuring the proper receipt of goods and any follow-up with the vendor needed to resolve any problems regarding delivery, discrepancies, or damaged goods. Upon receipt of the goods, keep the documentation (typically a sales receipt or print screen from an Internet purchase) received from the vendor for later reconciliation with the monthly statement.

Items(s) should be returned to the vendor by whichever means the vendor requires. The cardholder is responsible for ensuring that proper credit is applied to the card account for any returned item(s) and that evidence of the return is maintained.

Resolving Errors and Disputes

In case of an error, first contact the supplier and try to reach an agreement. Most disputes can be resolved between you and the supplier directly. If you are unable to reach an agreement with the supplier, complete a Dispute Form (provided through JPMC or the purchasing department), sign it, and send it to JP Morgan Chase. All disputes must be submitted in writing to JP Morgan Chase within 60 days of the statement date via fax at 847.931.8861 or via mail to:

Commercial Card Services
ATTN: Dispute Dept.
P.O. Box 2015
Elgin, Illinois 60121-2015

Cardholder Record Management, Review, and Supervisor Approval

With the authorization to purchase specific commodities comes the responsibility to maintain adequate documentation on the source of the transaction.

It is the cardholder's responsibility to ensure that all of the required documentation is accounted for and maintained; the cardholder statement is reconciled against the supporting documentation; transactions are reviewed online in JPMorgan Smartdata; the cardholder limits assigned to the card are not exceeded; and the expenditures on the card do not exceed the funds available in the account assigned to the card. Failure to do so may result in revocation of purchasing card privileges.

Weekly: Transactions should be reviewed online weekly, or daily, using JP Morgan Smartdata. The cardholder shall: 1) check each transaction listed against receipts to verify the transactions listed on Smartdat, 2) complete the expense description field for each transaction and 3) check the reviewed box.

Monthly:  You (the cardholder) will receive a cardholder statement from the bank listing all your purchases. Check the statement against your sales receipts to ensure that all goods for which you have been charged have been received. Receipts should then be attached to the statement and forwarded to your supervisor for approval before the 15th of the month.

     The following are examples of supporting documentation:

  • Itemized sales receipts
  • Itemized vendor order forms or applications
  • Itemized cash register receipts

After your supervisor has approved your paper statement/receipts and online in JPMorgan Smartdata, forward all records to the purchasing office within 10 business days of receiving the statement; before the end of the month.

The careful matching of complete support documents and online review is vital to the success of this program. This data is critical to enable proper account reconciliation and audit review. If the cardholder does not have documentation of a transaction listed on the statement, the card holder must contact the vendor to obtain a copy of the original receipt. If unable to obtain a receipt, the cardholder may attach a missing receipt affidavit (pdf).

Note: When a purchase is made over the counter, the cardholder will retain the invoice and "customer copy" of the charge receipt. Prior to signing the charge slip, the cardholder is responsible for making sure that the vendor lists the correct quantity and fully describes the item(s) on the charge slip. When making a purchase by telephone, the cardholder should document the transaction on the procurement card log. The cardholder should always obtain the name of the individual taking the order. When the goods are received, all shipping documentation should be retained. The procurement card may also be used to make purchases over the Internet. All relevant information should be printed from the ordering screens, if available, recorded on the procurement card log, and handled in the same manner as telephone purchases.

Purchasing Card Security

It is the cardholder's responsibility to safeguard the ProCard and account number to the same degree that a cardholder safeguards his or her personal credit card. The cardholder may not allow any unauthorized individuals to use the ProCard or the card number. A violation of this trust may result in the cardholder having his/her card withdrawn, and/or disciplinary action for the cardholder and/or the unauthorized individual may be taken.

If the ProCard is lost or stolen, the cardholder must immediately notify the bank by calling 1.800.848.2813. Representatives are available 24 hours a day. The cardholder must inform the representative that the call is in regard to a MasterCard ProCard. The Hampshire College purchasing department (413.559.5405) must be notified as well. A new ProCard will be promptly issued to the cardholder after the reported loss or theft. A ProCard that is found by the cardholder after being reported lost must be cut in half and sent to the purchasing office.

JP Morgan Chase has the infrastructure in place to detect attempted fraudulent activity on the ProCards that it issues. If attempted fraud is detected, a representative from JP Morgan Chase will contact the cardholder directly. The compromised card is then deactivated and a new card is sent to the purchasing office. The cardholder must contact the purchasing office at x5404 if this occurs.

Cardholders who will be on an extended leave of absence should notify the purchasing office prior to taking leave. A hold will be put on the card to prevent unauthorized activity while the cardholder is away. In the case where a cardholder is unable to notify the purchasing office, the supervisor should contact purchasing.

Cardholder Separation from College

Should a cardholder terminate employment with Hampshire College or transfer between departments, the user's department has the specific obligation to reclaim the ProCard, notify the purchasing department of the termination, and return the ProCard to the purchasing office. The ProCard must be cut in two before it is sent to the purchasing office.

Purchasing Card Audits

To ensure the continued success of the ProCard Program and to meet audit requirements of Hampshire and various government agencies, periodic post audits will be made of the cardholder's ProCard account to determine that items purchased have been received, that proper records are being maintained, and that policies and procedures are being followed. The purchasing office and the accounts payable office staff, as well as Hampshire's external auditors, will perform these reviews.


Stay In Touch
With The Purchasing Office
Snail Mail
Purchasing Office
Mail Code PG
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002