FinancePurchase cards - Financial Management System (FMS)

The University provides two different types of purchase cards (PCard):

  • departmental Visa purchase cards
  • University traveller Visa purchase cards

Departmental Visa purchase cards

Departmental Visa purchase cards are for general departmental expenditure where a supplier is not able to accept an FMS order – for example, online-only suppliers. They would typically be used for smaller value purchases, and for immediate payment to deal with unplanned circumstances.

Departmental Visa purchase cards are virtual cards – a card number is issued, but no physical card is issued.

University traveller Visa purchase cards

University traveller Visa purchase cards are for University staff who are regular travellers and are intended to provide an efficient means of allowing those staff to incur legitimate expenses on University business, in accordance with the University's Travel and Expenses Policies, and minimise the claimant’s need to incur out of pocket expenses then reclaim those costs. The cards are specifically for expenditure related to travel and subsistence.

University traveller Visa purchase cards are physical cards, similar to any personal credit or debit card.

University purchase cards are for business use only and under no circumstances should they be used for personal transactions. Personal use of a University card may lead to disciplinary action.

How purchase cards work

The same process applies to departmental purchase cards and University traveller purchase cards.

  1. PCard holder purchases good/services using PCard
  2. Weekly card transaction file from bank uploaded to FMS
  3. PCard holder receives FMS task to review and approve transactions
  4. PCard holder attaches scanned receipts and other procurement documentation if needed - can also recode transactions from default sub project
  5. PCard approver (sub project manager) receives FMS task to approve transactions
  6. Approver ensures purchase is a legitimate business expense
  7. Approver ensures purchase is supported by receipts and any other necessary documentation
  8. Approver accepts or rejects transactions
  9. Once approver accepts, FMS automatically records the transaction

For both types of card, the University settles the card bill centrally.

As a condition of using the card, the cardholder is required to agree and validate transactions online on a weekly basis and to upload receipts and any other relevant documentation relating to those transactions.

All cardholders will designate a default sub project (budget) to which card costs will be charged, but the cardholder can, if necessary, amend the default to an alternative sub project (budget).

Requesting a departmental Visa purchase card

Please read the Departmental VISA Purchase Card - Request & Employee Agreement before requesting a card.

To request a departmental Visa purchase card:

Requesting a University traveller Visa purchase card

Please read the University Traveller - VISA Purchase Card - Policy and Procedures before requesting a card.

To request a University Traveller Visa Purchase Card:

Changing a limit on an existing purchase card

To request a change in the monthly credit limit or single transaction limit on an existing card:

FMS Training on the use of purchase cards

Training material explaining how to use FMS to support Purchase Card processing is available on the FMS Training Portal (SharePoint login required).

If you have any queries about Purchase cards please contact the Finance Helpdesk email:

How to check your University purchase/travel card spend using RBS ClearSpend

ClearSpend is a useful banking tool provided by RBS, which will help you monitor and review your Purchase and Travel Card spending. It is a great tool to help you keep track of your expenditure before it appears on your budget statement.

Training material explaining how to access and use ClearSpend can be found on the ClearSpend User Guide - Cardholders document.