Purchasing Cards

What is a Purchasing Card?

The Finance Office can provide a nominated individual(s) within a Department with a Purchasing Card to pay suppliers directly for goods and/ or services.  A Purchasing Card is similar to a credit card and can be used to buy goods and services without the need to raise a University of Leicester Purchase Order.

Our cards are currently supplied by Barclaycard.

For those departments that currently have Purchasing Cards you may have one card for travel and one card for all other expenditure.

Why are they useful?

A Purchasing Card can be used to purchase goods or services in line with Financial Regulations where a supplier accepts credit cards for payment.

Purchasing Cards should be used for the following types of Departmental Purchases:

  • Payments to suppliers which a department only intends to use once or on an ad hoc basis.
  • Payments for low value, high volume purchases where the raising of multiple University Purchase Orders would be inefficient.
  • Payments for attendance at conferences and travel costs for staff.
  • Payments for goods and service available on websites (where purchasing from these sites is appropriate and in line with Procurement Regulations).

How are the purchases approved?

The holder of the card will make purchases on behalf of individuals within their department and must request and retain details from the person requesting the purchase detailing why it is required and ensure that it is in line with Financial Regulations.

On a monthly basis, the cardholder (or statement maintainer where a department chooses that this is not the cardholder) will receive an electronic statement and must charge the expenses to the appropriate charge code (cost centre, WBS/ Grant code or SIO) and document the purpose of the expenditure.

This completed statement must then be reviewed and approved by a designated individual within the department (of grade 4 or above).

Failure to approve these statements on a monthly basis will lead to the withdrawal of the Purchasing Card.

Who should have a card?

Purchasing Cards work best for Departments where they are held by a departmental administrator and used to purchase goods/ services on behalf of departments.  These individuals are better placed to know whether the use of a Purchasing Card is appropriate for the type of expenditure.

They can also be issued to an individual who incurs a high volume of suitable purchases.

The Head of Department must approve all requests for Purchasing Cards.

What cards are available?

Three cards can be issued to an individual:

  • Level 1: Monthly spend limit of £5,000 and single transaction limit of £3,000
  • Level 2: Monthly spend limit of £10,000 and single transaction limit of £5,000
  • Level 3: Monthly spend limit of £15,000 and single transaction limit of £5,000

When requesting a Purchasing Card please indicate what card level is required – as standard level 1 will be issued to those that request a card and for levels 2 and 3 the department will need to explain why a higher limit is required.

Temporary increases to limits

If you require a temporary increase to a Purchase Card single transaction or monthly spend limit please contact Accounts Payable.

Is the department charged for a Purchasing Card?


Restrictions on use

The following restrictions apply on use:

  • A Purchasing Card can only be used by the named Cardholder and the Cardholder cannot share this card with anyone else.
  • A Purchasing Card must be held securely in the department at all times and cannot be taken off the University of Leicester site.
  • Only goods and services in line with the Financial Regulations can be purchased using a Purchasing Card.
  • Where a Department uses Smarter Purchasing and goods or services can be bought via the online catalogue then a Purchasing Card cannot be used for these items.
  • Procurement rules apply to Purchasing Card purchases and must be followed.
  • From 1 June 2019 Purchasing Card holders wishing to buy from Amazon must use the University’s Amazon Business account. Please email procurement@leicester.ac.uk to request setting up on the account. Use of a standard Amazon account could lead to the withdrawal of a Purchasing Card.

If any of these restrictions are not complied with the Purchasing Card will be cancelled immediately and the Finance Office will inform the Head of Department to agree any further appropriate action.

Retention of records

  • All receipts relating to Purchasing Card should be held within the department and available for inspection by the Finance Office.
  • These receipts should be retained for a minimum of 7 years.
  • When expenditure relates to Grant Funding the Grant Funder may require the documents to be held for longer.
  • The Finance Office will audit each cardholder annually.  During this audit the Finance Office will review the supporting documentation for purchases and ensure that only purchases in line with the Financial Regulations are being made.

What to do if the Cardholder loses a card or notices transactions on a statement that they have not made?

Contact the Accounts Payable office immediately.

Applying for a card

All applications should come from the Departmental Administrator(s)/ Manager and not directly from employees.

Please complete the attached form and email it to accountspayable@le.ac.uk

Questions on Purchasing Cards or application process

Please contact Accounts Payable:

Other information

Click here for our Procurement regulations

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