Cardholder’s Purchase CardProgram GuideUSDA Purchase Card ProgramUSDA OPPM Charge Card Service inated: June 2009USDA PURCHASE CARD PROGRAM

INTRODUCTIONWelcome to the USDA Purchase Card Program. USDA and US Bank are partnering to provideUSDA employees the best solution for charge card management. US Bank is the world’s largestand most experienced issuer of purchasing cards. Together, both are committed to helpingCardholders achieve program success. Cardholders are encouraged to read this guide thoroughlyand retain it as a reference tool in addressing the procedures and proper management of USDA’sparticipation in the use of the purchase card.This Cardholder’s Purchase Card Program Guide provides you with information on the properuse of the purchase card. This Guide is intended to supplement Departmental Regulation (DR)5013-6 in establishing Department-wide standards and policy for all USDA agencies to maintainand operate an effective Purchase Card Program. In the event of a conflict between DR 5013-6and the Cardholder’s Purchase Card Program Guide, the policies and procedures of DR 5013-6shall govern.2

Table of ContentsSection 1. Purchase Card Overview1.1 USDA Government-wide Commercial Purchase Card1.2 How to Use the Purchase Card (Merchant)1.3 How to Use the Purchase Card (Cardholder)1.4 Purchase LimitsSection 2. Program Support2.1 USDA Charge Card Service Center2.2 Financial Point of Contact2.3 Billing Office Contact2.4 Access Online2.5 U.S. Bank Web-based Training2.6 U.S. Bank Government Services Technical and Training Help DeskSection 3. Program Management3.1 Departmental Program Manager3.2 Agency Program Coordinator3.3 Local Agency Program Coordinator3.4 Approval Official3.5 CardholderSection 4. Special Instructions4.1 Nomination of Cardholders4.2 Non-receipt of Requested Purchase Cards4.3 Card Replacement4.4 Card Renewal Reissue4.5 Lost/Stolen Cards4.6 Cardholder Receipt Verification/Activation4.7 AO Replacement4.8 Alternative Payment Methods4.9 Convenience Checks4.10 Non-receipt of Checks4.11 Reordering Checks4.12 Stop Payment Requests4.13 Check Copies4.14 Lost/Stolen Checks4.15 Check Fraud4.16 Declined Purchase Card Transactions4.17 Delegation of Authority4.18 Cycle Date4.19 Accountable Sensitive Property4.20 Authorization to Purchase Goods/Services4.21 Guidelines for Using Cards/Alternative Payment Methods3

4.22 Documentation and Retention Procedures4.23 Approval/Re-allocation Process4.24 Disputes4.25 Changes to Cardholder Information4.26 Independent Receipt and Acceptance4.27 Separation of Duties4.28 Transfers, Reassignments or Departures4.29 Account Closures/Cancellations4.30 Foreign Currency4.31 Required Sources4.32 Recycled and Environmentally-Preferable Products and Services4.33 Commercial Printing4.34 Meetings and Conference4.35 Micro-Purchase Procedures4.36 Competition4.37 Procedures Authorized for Use by Non-Procurement Personnel4.38 Simplified Acquisition and Formal Contracts4.39 Prohibited items4.40 Year-end Roll Over of Accounting Codes4.41 How to Change Default Accounting Codes4.42 1099 Reporting4.43 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests4.44 Suspension Procedures for Nonpayment of Transactions4.45 Management and Oversight4.46 Tax Exemption4.47 Cardholder Purchase Card Billing AddressSection 5. Training RequirementsSection 6. Administrative ActionsExhibits12345678Card/Check Destruction FormCardholder Request for Purchase Card FormDebt Collection Improvement Act Waiver CodesApproving Official ChecklistRequired Sources of SupplyBuying GreenList of Prohibited ItemsRecommended Administrative Actions4

EMISSSNTINAgriculture Acquisition RegulationApproving OfficialAgency Program CoordinatorAccess OnlineBlanket Purchase AgreementBilling Office ContactBudget Object Classification CodesCharge Card Account TableCharge Card Service CenterChief Financial OfficerCardholder Statement of Questioned ItemCustomer Service CenterDefault Accounting CodeDebt Collection Improvement Act of 1996Document Control NumberDepartment of DefenseDepartmental Program ManagerDepartmental RegulationEmployee Identification NumberEnvironmental Protection AgencyFederal Acquisition RegulationFederal Management ProgramFoundation Financial Information SystemFederal Procurement Data System/Standard FormFederal Prison IndustriesFinancial Point of ContactFederal Supply ScheduleGovernment Accountability OfficeGovernment Printing OfficeGeneral Services AdministrationIntegrated Acquisition SystemIndefinite Delivery/Indefinite QuantityInformation TechnologyJoint Committee on PrintingLocal Agency Program CoordinatorNational Finance CenterNational Industries for the BlindOffice of CommunicationOffice of the Inspector GeneralOffice of Management and BudgetOffice of Procurement and Property ManagementProperty System/Equipment Management Information SystemSocial Security NumberTaxpayer’s Identification Number5

UPSUSCUSDAUnited Postal ServiceU.S. CodeUS Department of Agriculture6

SECTION 1. PURCHASE CARD OVERVIEW1.1 USDA Government-wide Commercial Purchase CardThe commercial purchase card is a VISA credit card, similar to your own personal credit card,which authorizes a cardholder to buy goods and services under an established delegation ofauthority. The card is specifically designed showing the United States of America seal and thewords “For official US Government Purchases Only” imprinted on it to avoid being mistaken fora personal credit card. The card is also imprinted with “US Government Tax Exempt”. Notethat the card is still subject to existing federal and departmental procurement regulations inaccordance with DR 5013-6.The purchase card is the primary method for making purchases of 100,000 or less (simplifiedacquisition threshold). The objectives in using the purchase card are to reduce procurement andrelated payment paperwork by reducing/eliminating the number and dollar amounts of imprestfunds, reducing purchase order transactions for supplies and services, including construction, andreducing administrative processing costs and lead times. Under no circumstances is the purchasecard to be used for personal purchases.1.2 How to Use the Purchase Card (Merchant)To accept a VISA transaction, a merchant follows these general procedures for any type of cardpurchase:a) The cardholder presents merchandise and the purchase card to the supplier.b) After totaling the merchandise, the merchant processes the purchase card information toobtain authorization.c) The authorization request is transmitted electronically to the bank through thetelecommunications network. The bank verifies the cardholder account and determines if thepurchase is within spending control limits. In approximately 10 seconds, an approval,decline, or referral is transmitted back to the merchant’s bank or processor and on to themerchant.d) At the end of a business day, the merchant batches and sends the transactions to theprocessing bank that will issue credit for the purchase.e) The merchant’s bank electronically transmits the sales draft information to the card issuer’sbank, and then it applies the charges to the appropriate cardholder account.1.3 How to Use the Purchase Card (Cardholder)The same basic procedures are followed for mail, phone, and Internet-order purchases, althoughthe supplier may request additional information such as the cardholder’s shipping address.

A. Over-the-Counter Purchases (In-person transactions)Although the process may vary slightly, the following steps give a general overview of how thepurchase card works. An employee using the purchase card should:1) Identify the purchase needed; obtain authorization to make the purchase; and determinefunds availability and appropriate source of supply.2) Determine if the purchase amount is within their pre-approved single purchase limit. Ifyes, proceed to the next step. If no, check with the manager for details on how toproceed.3) Purchase goods/services. Provide the merchant with the purchase card. Inform themerchant that the purchase is for “official U.S. Government business” and is not subjectto state or local sales tax (see Tax Exemption). Pay sales tax if merchant refuses to waiveit.4) When an approval code is received, the cardholder verifies the sales total and signs thesales draft. The cardholder then receives the merchandise, the card, and one copy of thecompleted sales draft.5) Retain receipt (i.e., cash register receipt, VISA charge slip). If the purchase is above 300, independent receipt and acceptance is required.6) Approve transactions in Access Online (AXOL) using purchase receipts.B. Telephone OrdersAn employee using the purchase card to order by telephone should:1) Identify the purchase needed; obtain authorization to make the purchase; and determinefunds availability and appropriate source of supply.2) Determine if the purchase amount is within the pre-approved single purchase limit. Ifyes, proceed to the next step. If no, check with your Coordinator for details on how toproceed.3) Contact the merchant and place the order.4) Purchase goods/services. Inform the merchant that the purchase is for “official U.S.Government business” and is not subject to state or local sales tax (see Tax Exemption).Pay sales tax if merchant refuses to waive it. Provide the merchant with the card numberand expiration date.5) Relay all pertinent information to supplier, e.g., your name, shipping address, etc.8

6) Inspect and verify order accuracy, quality, and price when merchandise arrives.7) Retain shipping documents and receipts received with the merchandise. If the purchase isabove 300, independent receipt and acceptance is required.8) Approve transactions in AXOL using shipping receipts/documents.C. Internet Orders1) Identify the purchase needed; obtain authorization to make the purchase; and determinefunds availability and appropriate source of supply.2) Determine if the purchase amount is within the pre-approved single purchase limit. Ifyes, proceed to the next step. If no, check with your Coordinator for details on how toproceed.3) Locate the merchant’s web site and place the order.4) Purchase goods/services. Enter your card number and expiration date. Some web siteswill recognize that your purchase is tax exempt. If not, indicate that the purchase is taxexempt (see Tax Exemption). Note that you should check to see if the web site you areaccessing is secure before entering your purchase card account number. Check yourInternet browser software and any information posted on the web site you are accessingfor more information regarding the level of security provided.5) Relay all pertinent information to supplier, e.g., your name, shipping address, etc NOTE: When downloading a purchased product from the Internet, print out theelectronic confirmation for your files.6) Inspect and verify order accuracy, quality, and price when merchandise arrives.7) Retain shipping documents and receipts received with merchandise. If the purchase isabove 300, independent receipt and acceptance is required.8) Approve transactions in AXOL using shipping documents or electronic confirmationprintout.1.4 Purchase LimitsUse of the purchase card by a cardholder is subject to a single purchase limit and a monthlypurchase limit. The purpose of each dollar limit is as follows:A. Single Purchase Limit9

The single purchase limit is a dollar amount on the procurement authority delegated to thecardholder. A “single purchase” is the total of those items purchased at one time from aparticular vendor. Multiple items may be purchased at one time using the card; however, nosingle purchase may exceed the authorized single purchase limit. If the requirement is foron-going repetitive services that exceed 2,500 a year, the best solution is to forward therequirement for the service through the agency servicing contracting office. A requirementcannot be reduced into smaller parts to avoid formal contracting procedures. Splittingpurchases merely to stay within the single purchase limit is a violation of law. An exampleof a split purchase is:The cardholder’s single purchase limit is 3,000. The items to bepurchased total 3,500. The cardholder divides the purchase intoseveral charges to stay within the authorized single purchase limit.B. Monthly Purchase LimitThe monthly purchase limit is the maximum total dollar amount a cardholder is authorized toprocure each month. This amount is established in AXOL when a cardholder’s account isfirst established. The monthly purchase limit applies to the monthly total of all purchase cardand convenience check transactions. This amount is similar to a “credit limit.” The monthlypurchase limit is determined by the Approving Official (AO) using historical spending datafor the office.10

SECTION 2. PROGRAM SUPPORT2.1 USDA Charge Card Service CenterThe Office of Procurement and Property Management established an office to provide overallcharge card management. This USDA Charge Card Service Center (CCSC) is staffed withsubject matter experts to provide a one-stop shop for inquiries and assistance for each of thebusiness lines relating to purchase, fleet, and travel. Information pertaining to all 3 businesslines is available at the USDA CCSC website, pertaining to the USDA Charge Card Program can be forwarded to [email protected] CCSC staff consists of the Departmental Program Manager (DPM), business line experts forpurchase, travel, and fleet, and contractor support. Each expert is dedicated to providing qualityservice and assistance to USDA employees.2.2 Financial Point of Contacts (FPOCs)These individuals review the accounting information using Foundation Financial InformationSystem (FFIS). The specific duties include, but are not limited to: Coordinating with the cardholder updates to the “default accounting code” in AXOL;Monitoring and updating the Charge Card Account Table (CCAT) in FFIS;Correcting transaction rejects and any necessary accounting code string for the nightlyupdates to AXOL for cardholder reallocation;Reviewing accounting information obtained from FFIS; andAddressing any questions concerning Default Accounting Codes (DACs).2.3 Billing Office Contact (BOC)The National Finance Center (NFC) is the designated BOC for all business lines and isresponsible for payment of the single electronic invoice. BOC duties include, but are not limitedto: Receiving the official invoice and pay the invoice in full within the specified time frame;Working with U.S. Bank Government Services to resolve payment issues;Approving and/or certifying payments to U.S. Bank Government Services in accordancewith the Prompt Payment Act.2.4 Access Online (AXOL)AXOL is a web-based electronic access tool designed to be the system source for purchasingcard program management and related data. The U.S. Bank electronic access system enhancesprogram management capabilities and streamlines the billing and payment processes. Thissystem is used for establishing and managing card accounts, including account reconciliation and

purchase approval by cardholders and AOs. It is also used by Coordinators to performmanagement and oversight of purchase card transactions.AXOL interfaces with the financial system. It automatically generates and sends paymentvoucher documents (P8) for individual purchase charges to the financial system on a nightlybasis. The documents (P8) are charged directly to the cardholders’ default accounting codes.2.5 U.S. Bank Web-based TrainingThe web-based training provides valuable information about the electronic access systemcapabilities, including an explanation of access screens, as well as necessary key sequences andfunctions for reviewing purchases and disputing a transaction electronically. This is an exclusivetraining and communication website tailored to support U.S. Government Services PurchaseCard customers. Visit forourclients to access communication updates,training resources, and reference materials to successfully implement and manage the purchasecard program. For a username and password, cardholders and AOs should contact their LocalAgency Program Coordinator (LAPC).2.6 U.S. Bank Government Services Technical and Training Help DeskU.S. Bank Government Services Technical Help Desk staff are available via phone (1-800-2549885, option 2) or email 7 day-a-week, from 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., central time. They assistCoordinators and Cardholders with questions about web-based program management tools.After hours, calls are routed to U.S. Bank Government Services representatives who can assistwith frequent requests such as password resets.12

SECTION 3. PROGRAM MANAGEMENTIndividuals have been designated to manage the purchase card program at differentorganizational levels within USDA. Their responsibilities are determined by their roles and arelisted below. In order to manage the program effectively, Agency Program Coordinators (APCs)and LAPCs must be classified in either the 1105 or 1102 procurement series or meet the trainingrequirements of the Acquisition Workforce Training, Delegation and Tracking System for aLevel lB (LAPCs) and Level 1C (APCs) contracting officer.3.1 Departmental Program Manager (DPM)The DPM, who is located in the USDA CCSC is responsible for the implementation andoversight of the program as well as being the GSA Contracting Officer’s TechnicalRepresentative (COTR) for USDA. The COTR is an authorized individual acting within thelimits of their authority as delegated by the Contracting Officer. This means that the DPM hasauthority to perform the functions in the performance of the government-wide commercialpurchase card program only to the extent permitted by the GSA Contracting Officer.3.2 Agency Program Coordinator (APC)The APC coordinates the implementation of the program within the organization through theDPM. The APC is responsible for the overall management of the Purchase Card Programagency-wide.3.3 Local Agency Program Coordinator (LAPC)The LAPC is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the purchase card program at theirrespective site. They work directly with the cardholder, bank contact person, and APC. Alldocumentation related to the establishment of the cardholder will be processed through theLAPC.3.4 Approving Official (AO)The AO is the cardholder’s supervisor-of-record. Refer to the Coordinator’s Purchase CardProgram Guide or the Approving Official’s Purchase Card Program Guide for exceptions.3.5 CardholderThe cardholder is the individual to whom a card/convenience check or cardless account is issued.The purchase card/convenience check bears the cardholder’s name and may only be used by theindividual designated on the card/convenience check. No other person is authorized to use theaccount. The authorized spending limits are displayed in AXOL. These limits indicate thatgoods and services (including construction) may be purchased, within the cardholder’sdesignated authority, as required by the government, subject to funds availability.

The cardholder is responsible for all purchases made with the purchase card. All purchases thatwill be paid for using the card must comply with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) anddepartment and agency regulations. The cardholder is responsible for approving eachtransaction, either made with the purchase card or a convenience check, in AXOL.Cardholder responsibilities include: Making purchases within authorized spending limits and funds availability. Use acard/convenience check only for purchasing items in accordance with agency/departmentpolicies;Soliciting prompt payment discounts from vendors prior to accepting an offer. Discountfor prompt payment means an invoice payment reduction offered by