21-1: P-card general policies and procedures

Effective: April 20, 2021
Revised: January 31, 2024
Approved by: Van Christensen
ReferencesUtah Code 63A-3-110Administrative Code R33


This policy covers the responsibility of p-card holders, applying for p-cards, rules for purchases, limiting p-card purchases through spending limits and blocking merchant category codes, disputing charges, what to do if a p-card is lost or stolen, and how to return a p-card that is no longer needed.


Agency – Any agency, board, bureau, office, department, or other administrative subunit of state government. This definition includes the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

Agency site coordinator – The employee assigned to oversee the agency’s p-card program.

Concur – Software used by the state to manage travel, reimbursements, and p-card transactions.

Executive director – The executive leader of an agency.

P-card – A state-issued purchasing card used for approved business purchases.

P-card program administrator – The GovOps Division of Finance employee who coordinates the p-card program.

P-card reconciliation – The general term for making sure p-card transactions are accounted for correctly. In Concur, the state’s travel and expense system, p-card holders add their expenses to a report.


A – Who can have a p-card

1 – Agencies determine if their employees need a p-card.

2 – Agencies should consider issuing p-cards to employees who travel frequently to reduce the need for cash advances, simplify accounting for travel reimbursements, and for the traveler’s convenience.

3 – P-cards are not provided to executive directors reporting to the governor unless a written request is made by the executive director and approved by the governor’s chief of staff.

3a – If an executive director, cabinet member, or other state employee who reports directly to the governor receives a p-card, any reference to a supervisor in the GovOps Division of Finance p-card policies means the governor’s chief of staff.

B – Applying for a p-card

1 – Applicants must successfully complete the small purchase training from the GovOps Division of Purchasing.

2 – Applicants must complete the p-card application and cardholder agreement. The p-card application must be signed by the applicant, the applicant’s supervisor, and the agency site coordinator.

3 – Agencies must email the following to the p-card program administrator:

  • The certificate of completion for the small purchase training, and
  • The completed and signed p-card application and cardholder agreement.

4 – The p-card program administrator must review the application for completeness and submit the application to US Bank.

C – Spending limits

1 – Agencies must determine and establish appropriate monthly limits and single-purchase limits to p-cards based on expected, normal monthly expenses for the assigned cardholder.

2 – Agency site coordinators must work with agency management to approve changes to limits. Agency site coordinators can then contact the p-card program administrator to request changes to these limits.

3 – The p-card program administrator makes changes to the limits.

D – Merchant Category Codes

1 – P-cards are authorized to make purchases for merchant category codes normally associated with state business.

2 – Merchant category codes that are generally not used by government agencies or that are considered high risk have been blocked on all p-cards. Examples: bars, taverns, casinos, and adult entertainment merchants.

3 – Agencies may choose to block or select specific merchant category codes for p-cards. For example, agencies may limit a p-card so it can be used only for travel expenses.

3a – Agencies must work with agency site coordinators to determine appropriate merchant category codes for individual cardholders that might differ from the standard merchant category codes normally allowed.

3b – Agency site coordinators must work with the p-card program administrator to block or unblock merchant category codes.

E – Agency and cardholder responsibility

1 – Agencies are responsible to make sure cardholders understand their responsibilities, know how to use the p-card appropriately, and are compliant with applicable laws and regulations.

2 – Agency site coordinators must provide new cardholders a copy of all relevant purchasing, finance, and p-card policies.

3 – Cardholders must understand and comply with Utah Procurement CodeAdministrative Code R33, and GovOps Division of Purchasing policies.

4 – Cardholders must understand and comply with any relevant GovOps Division of Finance policies when using a p-card to purchase a good or service.

5 – P-card use is a privilege. Noncompliance with policies, code, rule, or abuse of p-cards may result in severe consequences, including termination of p-card privilege or employment.

F – P-card purchases

1 – Cardholders must use p-cards for official state business expenses only. Personal expenses made with a p-card are prohibited and are subject to Utah Code 63A-3-110.

3 – Cardholders must get an itemized receipt for each transaction.

3a – Itemized receipts must include the merchant, dates the items were purchased or dates the services were incurred, items or services purchased, quantities, amount paid by item, total cost, and proof of payment.

3b – Cardholders must ask merchants for itemized receipts if one is not provided.

3c – Receipts that have only the total listed are not itemized and are considered missing receipts. If a cardholder does not have an itemized receipt, see p-card policy 21-2 section C.

4 – Cardholders should use the tax exempt number assigned to the state when making business purchases in Utah, including when purchases are made online and shipped to a Utah address. To get the sales tax exempt number, contact the agency site coordinator.

4a – If the cardholder is charged Utah sales tax, they should request a refund from the merchant.

4b – If the merchant did not accept the sales tax exempt number or will not refund the sales tax, the cardholder must allocate the sales tax to the expense type Utah Sales Tax-Refundable when the cardholder reconciles their p-card.

4c – Agencies may claim a refund for sales tax by submitting form TC-160G to the Utah State Tax Commission in accordance with agency policy.

5 – The purchase of alcoholic beverages is prohibited.

6 – The purchase of gift cards, gift certificates, or other cash equivalents must be preapproved by the director of the GovOps Division of Finance.

7 – Travel expenses that can be paid for with a p-card

7a – Travelers may pay for lodging with their own p-card. P-card holders may pay for lodging for non-employees as long as there is a valid business purpose and the non-employee is not reimbursed for any expenses. See travel policy 10-8: Lodging.

7a.1 – Travelers may not use their p-card to pay for lodging for another employee.

7b – Travelers may use a p-card to purchase meals only when paying for a business meal or a meal for a non-employee. See travel policy 10-7: Reimbursement for meals and incidental expenses.

7c – P-card holders may use their p-card to pay for another traveler’s conference or training registration. See travel policy 10-13: Conference and training registration.

G – Disputed charges

1 – Cardholders are accountable for all transactions made with their p-card.

2 – Cardholders who find unrecognized or improper p-card charges in Concur must contact the merchant to try to resolve the charges.

2a – If the merchant acknowledges the charges were an error and agrees to issue a refund, cardholders must attach documentation of the discussion with the merchant to the p-card reconciliation in Concur. The cardholder and supervisor must make sure a refund is issued.

3 – Cardholders who cannot resolve unrecognized or improper charges with merchants must contact US Bank customer service within 60 days of the statement date to dispute the charge. US Bank will provide a dispute form.

3a – A copy of the dispute form must be emailed to the p-card program administrator.

3b – The dispute form must be attached to the disputed charge in Concur.

3c – US Bank will apply a provisional credit equal to the disputed amount to the p-card account. Cardholders and supervisors must perform adequate follow up to ensure that credits were issued.

H – Lost or stolen p-cards

1 – Cardholders are responsible for the security of their p-card.

2 – Cardholders must immediately notify US Bank customer service when a p-card is lost or stolen so that US Bank can cancel the p-card to minimize the risk of fraudulent charges.

3 – Cardholders must notify their manager and agency site coordinator of the lost or stolen card.

4 – The agency must notify the p-card program administrator in writing of the missing or stolen card’s cancellation.

I – Canceling a p-card

1 – If a cardholder is terminated from state employment, transfers between departments, or loses p-card privileges, their supervisor must obtain the p-card from the cardholder and notify the agency site coordinator.

2 – Agency site coordinators must email a card cancellation request to the p-card program administrator the same day of termination, transfer, or loss of p-card privileges when possible. Site coordinators must include the following information:

  • cardholder’s name,
  • last 4 numbers of the cardholder’s p-card, and
  • date of termination, transfer, or loss of privileges.

3 – The p-card must be destroyed the same day of termination, transfer, or loss of p-card privileges.

4 – When the p-card program administrator receives a cancellation request, they must notify US Bank so the p-card can no longer be used.