Facts & FAQs

Facts about the PCard

The PCard...

  • is the preferred method of payment for goods and services costing under $3,000.
  • is a Visa charge card - the merchant receives payment at point of sale.
  • is not a debit card - funds do not leave account at point of sale.
  • is not a credit card - WWU carries no balances and pays no interest.
  • is used for purchases by WWU faculty and staff.
  • allows for purchases of up to $3,000 per transaction.
  • eliminates the need for Check Requests.
  • allows users to shop for the best value.
  • can be used for online, phone, domestic mail order, and in-person purchases.
  • allows merchants to get paid faster.
  • provides a specially designed website to review all purchases.
  • reduces paperwork and saves time.

PCard Basics

What is a PCard (PCard)?

The PCard (PCard) is a Visa credit card used to purchase low dollar business-related expenses within a department, replacing the paper Purchase Orders.

Why a PCard?

It is designed to promote purchasing flexibility, efficiency and convenience for types of routine purchases.

What are some of the PCard use advantages?

  • More rapid turnaround of procuring low dollar goods and minor equipment
  • Significant reduction in paperwork/processing
  • Convenience for the buyer
  • Traditional requisition payment cycle process is reduced
  • Resource savings - paper and time

How do I go about receiving a PCard?

To receive a PCard, you must complete two online training courses. Each course is followed by a brief quiz to confirm your knowledge and understanding of the presented materials.

What do the training sessions offer?

The training sessions outline University policies and procedures of the PCard program, PCard fundamentals and the PaymentNet online reconciliation process.

Will my personal credit history be checked when I apply?

No. Your personal credit history will not be checked or affected when applying for or using the PCard. The personal information on the application will only be used for identification purposes when activating your card for the first time.

Who is liable for the card?

The card belongs to the University, not the individual. When the cardholder leaves the University, or transfers to another department, the cardholder or approving official must contact the PCard Administrator x2080, to cancel the card, and the card must be destroyed.

The cardholder is not personally liable for the card unless he/she makes an unauthorized purchase. The University is liable for any fraudulent charges made on the card if it is lost or stolen.

If I am the Cardholder/Reviewer, who should be the Approver?

The Approver must be at the Budget Authority level or higher, or designated by the Budget Authority. In addition, the Approver must be at a higher level within the department than the Cardholder/Reviewer.

Does the Approver have to take PCard training?

Yes. The Approver must participate in a PCard training session, complete, and submit a PCard application.

What happens to transactions when I go on vacation?

First, a Backup Approver can be appointed, but they will need to complete the PCard online training session. The individual will then need to complete and submit a PCard Approver application with "Backup Approver" written on it, indicating the dates needed or valid. Obviously, this takes quite a bit of planning ahead of time.

Another option is to access PaymentNet wherever you have Internet access. Simply log into PaymentNet at www.paymentnet.com as you normally do and then complete your regular tasks.

Where should I store the card for safekeeping?

It is the responsibility of the cardholder to be sure that both the card plate itself and exposure to the card number are in a safe place. It is recommended that the card be stored on campus either in a locked drawer, or a safe. Please do not carry the card in your billfold or purse permanently. Avoiding this will decrease the possibility of the card being lost or used inappropriately.

PCard Specifics

What is my billing address? How do I find it?

The address associated with your card is the one you included on your PCard application. We are encouraging users to use their building, room number and mail stop. You can double-check your address by going into the PaymentNet Transaction List; click on the top drop-down list (initially displays ===Transactions===); select Profile for ####; Employee Address 1 is your billing address.

Should I use 516 High Street for my shipping address?

The use of the 516 High St. address was requested by WWU's Mail Services department, specifically for US Mail. Since the majority of your PCard transactions will be shipped via another carrier, we recommend using the physical address where items will be actually shipped. Merchants may want to verify your shipping address. The address they verify will be entered when you apply for a PCard. Keep in mind that you need to remember a consistent shipping address so that you will not run into problems during the merchant verification process.

What happens if I do not approve my transactions?

Your transactions will be uploaded into Banner at month end, even if you don't approve them. However, a few things will happen if you do not approve your transactions: (1)You will receive an email reminding you that the end of the month is near and you have transactions to review and approve. (2)If you did not revise your budget string or account code information before the end the month, you will have to do a JV if corrections need to be made. (3)Approval does not control payment. Your transactions will be paid whether or not you approve them on PaymentNet.

What should I do if my PCard is lost or stolen?

If your P-Card is lost or stolen you should report it immediately to JPMorgan Chase by calling 1-800-270-7760. You should also contact the P-Card Help Desk as soon as possible, x2080 or pcard@wwu.edu. Report stolen cards to the police.

You may be asked for some basic information about your credit card account by the customer service representative, in order to verify that you are indeed the cardholder. Please keep in mind that we do not use any of your personal information in the card set up. Instead of your social security number we use the 4-digit campus phone extension that you provided on your application. In place of your mother's maiden name we use the word "viking". The issuing bank is Chase Manhattan Bank (aka JPMorgan Chase).

Tips for keeping your PCard safe...

  • Do not carry your card with you on weekends or vacations
  • Leave your card in a secure location in your office, only take it out if you need to make a University purchase
  • Do not write down your card number and let other employees use the number
  • Only place online orders on secure websites

What if I need to buy a restricted item?

The best thing to do is call Purchasing x3340 or a specific Purchasing Buyer. They can recommend a source, grant you an exemption (which will include an authorizing email for your file) or advise you to send it to Purchasing and be ordered on a PO. Or you can call the PCard Help Desk at x2080.

What happens if I mistakenly use my PCard for a personal purchase?

Notify your Approver of the mistake. Attempt to have the charge reversed (credited). If the vendor will not cooperate, write a check made payable to Western Washington University. Submit it to your Business Manager for deposit, and request a copy of your monthly billing statement identifying the deposit (along with a copy of your check) for your purchasing card documentation.

On a phone order, do I have to request the original credit card slip and do I have to wait for it before submitting paperwork to my Approver?

Request a faxed copy of the invoice. If you do not receive the fax immediately, we recommend submitting paperwork to your Approver with a note that says you requested the receipt.

I placed a telephone order for six items. I was given prices and I thought it was a done deal. Ten minutes later the vendor calls back and says "sorry we don't have the last item in stock. It will take us a few days to get it." What should I do?

Keep in mind that it is University policy that we not pay for any items unless we have received them. So here are some options: Cancel the order if the vendor cannot guarantee that they will bill you only for items that have shipped. If the merchant can guarantee that the item is only a few days late and not more than 25 days out, then go forward with the order. If you think they will not hold up the billing for that last item and cannot guarantee shipment before the 25th day, then use a PO.

How long must PCard receipts and documentation be kept?

The department Guardian of Receipts should retain the receipts and logs in the department for six years. These must be available to the PCard Auditors if requested. The receipts and accompanying logs can be sent to the University Archives & Records Center after two years.

What if the merchant changes pricing after I've places an order?

If the merchant has already billed your PCard, then request a credit and re-bill with the new price. A credit will show up on Payment Net as a transaction and will be easy to track. Make notations on your receipt/documentation. Also, request a receipt showing the credit.

My PCard purchase was declined. What should I do?

In most cases this is because your name or shipping address does not match the vendors information. Another reason would be you have reached your PCard dollar limit. Online and telephone Merchants will be verifying your PCard information before they submit your transaction to the VISA company. We recommend that you continue to discuss and verify with the vendor. If the vendor can still not verify your PCard, contact the PCard Administrator at pcard@wwu.edu.

What if I have not yet received an invoice or receipt before my transaction appears on the PaymentNet web site?

It will take anywhere from 24-72 hours for a PCard purchase to post on the web. In addition, some vendors will take longer because they process VISA only once a week. So if the invoice/receipt is not faxed by the time a transaction posts on PaymentNet, print a copy of the PaymentNet screen showing your transaction and add a note stating that you have requested a receipt and it has not yet arrived.


What is PaymentNet?

PaymentNet is an internet application designed and managed by JPMorgan Chase that lists all procurement card charges you make. The PaymentNet system allows you to make changes to current month's transactions by changing the account and budget centers from a drop down list before posting to the general ledger.

If I don't review my transactions in PaymentNet or my Approver does not approve them in the system, will the merchant still be paid?

Yes. The bank pays the merchants within a few days of the transaction date. At the end of the month, when the export file is sent to the general ledger, it will include all transactions whether or not they have been "approved" in the PaymentNet system. The transaction will post to the default account and budget center number. Note: PCard Policy states that both the Cardholder and Manager must review and approve the transaction in PaymentNet. Failure to review and approve transactions in PaymentNet may result in loss or suspension of Cardholder and/or Card Manager rights.

I am not using a FAST index, and PaymentNet won't let me save my transaction.

If you are not using a FAST index you need to type in a numerical "0" in the FAST Index field. If you don't you will get a message such as "none is an invalid code" or "a blank in fast index in not valid" when you try to Save the transaction. Once you put the number zero in and enter at least a Fund Code you will be able to complete reviewing the transaction and save your changes.

My department uses Macintosh. Can I still access PaymentNet?

Yes, but there may be some functions that do not work as well as they do with a PC.

Is the Reference number listed on my VISA receipt listed on PaymentNet?


Can I split charges if they are to be redistributed to different accounts and budgets centers?

Yes. The PaymentNet application allows you to split your transaction up to 20 splits. When you review or approve transactions in PaymentNet, you can divide the cost among several different Fast Indexes or funds.  Your split funding may include General operating budgets from Chart of Accounts (COA 1), Foundation funds (COA 2), or grant funds.

How to split a PCard transaction in PaymentNet

  1. In the Transaction List screen, click on the transaction ID # to go to the Transaction Detail Record screen.
  2. Click on the Split button in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. 
  3. A page titled Transaction Split for Record ##### will appear. Select Number of Splits from the pull down menu for up to 20 splits.
  4. Once you have determined how many splits you will need, click on the Edit Row button.
  5. You may change the Fast Index and/or any of the budget string components in this row, either by percentage or actual amount. It may be necessary to use the scroll bar at the bottom of the page to see the entire row.
  6. To allocate by percentage, click in the Percent field and type the percentage that you want allocated to that budget. The allocated amount field will update accordingly.  When allocating transaction expenses to various budget codes, PaymentNet will automatically balance the last split proportionally based on the previous percentages entered.
  7. To allocate by dollar amount click in the Amount field and type the dollar amount that you want allocated to that budget. The Percent field will update accordingly.
  8. Click on the Save Row button to save the new information. You will then be able to edit any additional rows.
  9. Type in your usual Transaction Notes and mark the appropriate boxes for Tax, Review or Approve.
  10. When you have finished the entire split, click the Save Split button in the upper left corner.
  11. If you would like to cancel the changes you have made, click the Undo/Cancel button.
  12. Click on Return to Transaction List to return to the previous page.

How do I log off of PaymentNet?

You can log out from any screen by using the Log Out link in the upper right-hand side.

What if my transactions are not approved in PaymentNet?

Your transactions will be uploaded into Banner at month end, even if you don't approve them. However, a few things will happen if you do not approve your transactions: (1)You will receive an email reminding you that the end of the month is near and you have transactions to review and approve. (2)Since you didn't revise your budget string or account code information before the end the month, you will have to submit a JV to make corrections (3)Approval does not control payment. Your transactions will be paid whether or not you approve them on PaymentNet.

How can I export a query and save in Excel?

After you have created a query, click on Create Export File at the top of your screen. The name of the file you exported will appear on the next page. Read the message in red instructing you to click on Refresh until your Exported file appears. When the file displays, Double click on it. The file will unzip (you must have WinZip on your machine for this process). If you double click on the unzipped file, it will open in Notepad. To open it in Excel, do the following: Open a blank Excel spreadsheet. Click on your Notepad file and drag it to the AI cell (the top left cell) on the blank spreadsheet. The Notepad file will open in Excel. Click on File > Save as and name your Excel file. You will then be able to manipulate and print the data in Excel.

I don't know what Account Code or Fast Index to use. What should I do?

See the PCard Account Codes List. You should also contact your Approver or Department Budget Authority to find out what budget string information you should be using. None is not an option. The Fast Index (or Fund) and the Account Code need to be filled in correctly to avoid billing the wrong budgets and JVs. Departments are responsible for their own JVs.

After I reviewed my transaction a small white rectangle appeared on the Transaction List screen. What is that?

That's an icon representing a note which lets you and your Approver know that you have entered text in the Transaction Notes field. This is good because most likely you entered a description of items purchased.

I am trying to split a transaction between five different Fast Indexes with different percentages. When I input the first one which is 40%, I get an error message saying I can't enter a negative number. What's up?

The reason that you couldn't add 40% at the start is because the last row (percentage) will always be your remaining balance. When you enter the 40% first, it calculates over 100%, thus producing the error message. By entering your lowest percentages first, you will not receive this message.

I have split a transaction using multiple Fast Indexes. Can I split transactions other ways?

You can split transactions a number of ways: By Account Code, by invoices entered in the "Comments/Req# field,by item when the merchant combines all items into one dollar amount. Most of these splits will assist you when tracking your PCard purchases. Each split will show up on a separate line item in Banner.

What does the Dollar icon mean on the Transaction List screen?

This signifies a level 3 merchant. A level 3 merchant provides additional transaction information such as items purchased descriptions. Click on the text in this transaction to see the item description and other information. Office Max is a level 3 provider.

I reviewed my transactions and a couple of days later received email notifications that these transactions needed to be reviewed. What happened?

More than likely it means that you did not click on Save when you were Reviewing or Approving your transactions. Another possibility is that your session timed out. Especially in the beginning, when you are getting use to the PaymentNet web site, it may take you a while to enter the information when reviewing and approving. In these cases, PaymentNet will time out and send you back to the login screen. Any changes you thought you made will not be saved and you will have to re-enter the data.

How long will transactions stay on the PaymentNet web site?

Transaction history will be available online for two years from the date the transaction is posted. However, at the end of each month/billing cycle, we will upload the JPMorgan Chase statement. Those monthly transactions will no longer be visible on PaymentNet unless you run a query.

How do I change my password in PaymentNet?

After you log into PaymentNet.com, select the Change Pass Phrase option on the left side of the screen. You will need to enter your current password, your new password (minimum of six characters) and then need to confirm your new password. Click Update Pass Phrase to save changes or Cancel to exit without saving.

PCard Miscellaneous

What is this email from postmaster@mail3.paymentnet.com I keep getting?

When you become a PCardholder, your email address and your Approver's email address will be entered so that you receive email notifications when you have PCard transactions to review and approve. Here's how it works: After you make a PCard purchase, the merchant submits the transaction to JPMorgan Chase who in turn, will post that transaction on PaymentNet. If you do not review the transaction within a week after if posts to PaymentNet, this unique email feature will send you a reminder that you have PCard transactions waiting to be Reviewed and Approved. Both the Cardholder/Review and Approver will receive the email simultaneously.

When will I receive my PCard statement?

Cardholders and Departments do not receive statements from the VISA company. WWU will receive one monthly statement for all WWU PCard transactions.

How will the tax display in Banner for PCard transactions?

PCard transactions on Banner will be listed on one line and its tax will be listed as a separate line item. In addition, when PCard transactions are split, each split will be seen as a separate line item and the tax (when applicable) will be split and listed separately in Banner.

What will the auditor look for during a PCard audit?

The auditor will be looking for a variety of items including:

  • Purchases are in compliance with campus purchasing policy.
  • Purchases are in line with the mission of the department.
  • There is no evidence of personal transactions.
  • Purchases are made with appropriate vendors.
  • Purchases are made from state contract vendors when required.
  • There is no evidence of serial purchasing.
  • Proper documentation of purchases (original receipt, detailed receipt, item description is clear, business purpose is clear) is attached to the statement.
  • Statements have been reconciled and signed by cardholder and site manager.
  • Disputed transactions have been followed up on.
  • Cardholder is the only person using the card.
  • No sales tax has been paid.
  • Card is kept in a secure location.
  • Files are kept in a secure location.

Page Updated 06.25.2018