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PCard Information


View the PCard FAQ

Read the PCard Manual

The Purchasing Card offers an alternative to the existing Harvard procurement processes and provides an extremely efficient method of purchasing and paying for goods. The Purchasing Card Program will enable you to conveniently purchase commodities directly from any vendor that accepts MasterCard.

This program, which was created with the help of staff and faculty members, is designed to meet your needs and those of the University. The benefits of the Purchasing Card are as follows:

Benefits to the Cardholder

  • Eliminates the need to use personal funds and obtain reimbursements.
  • Provides convenience, security and flexibility.
  • Allows you to obtain goods faster.

Benefits to Harvard

  • Reduces the number of invoices, checks and purchase orders.
  • Enables Administration to focus on value-added activities.
  • Capitalizes on the worldwide acceptance of MasterCard.
  • Saves Money - A Pcard transaction costs Harvard 88% less than cutting a check to a vendor or employee.

Please be aware of Harvard's policies and restrictions prior to using the card. The Purchasing Card is to be used only for purchases related to Harvard business. Use of the card for personal purchases is strictly prohibited and subject to disciplinary action.

How to Obtain a Pcard

In order to obtain a Purchasing Card, a Harvard University employee needs to complete a Purchasing Card application and return it to the Financial Office for processing.

Using Your Pcard

The Purchasing Card may be used to purchase goods in person at the supplier site, over the phone, via fax, or by mail. When placing your order:

  • Identify yourself as a Harvard Employee.
  • Inform the supplier that you are using a Harvard Purchasing Card.
  • Provide the tax exempt status and tax exempt number listed on the front of your card.
  • Inform the suppliers that they are not to send a bill or invoice to the ordering department or Accounts Payable.
  • Provide cardholder name.
  • Provide individual Purchasing Card number.
  • Provide expiration date on the card.
  • Provide delivery address including building and room number.
  • Provide description of goods to be ordered and confirm prices.
  • Provide any other information necessary to make the purchases.

Pcard Responsibility

The cardholder is responsible for ensuring receipt of goods and follow-up with the vendor to resolve any delivery problems, discrepancies or damaged merchandise concerns.

Purchasing Card transactions are usually posted to the Pcard Settlement System on the following business day. Designated users will log onto the Settlement System and provide any information necessary (such as account coding and the business purpose). Users have ten business days to make necessary changes to the default GL account codes. Accounts Payable sweeps transactions from the Settlement System into the General Ledger every Thursday. Once transactions are posted to the General Ledger, adjustments to GL account codes can only be made through journal entries. Therefore, it is imperative that users review their purchases before the transactions are swept. Please call the Financial Office with questions at 495-4607.

Pcard Training

Pcard training is done by the Financial Office. In order to receive your Purchasing Card you must attend a training session. Please call your contact in the Financial Office with questions or to set up a training time at 495-4607.

Last modified: June 14, 2013

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