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Purchase cards (petty cash)

If you need to buy products and services for your service area, electronically or as a substitute for petty cash, you can use a purchase card. A purchase card is a corporate credit card and enables you to spend money with various suppliers. These are for service areas that are required to make regular (not one off), generally low value transactions for their service.

Please note: the default purchasing process for goods and services is through East Riding Financials (Masterpiece). Check whether what you require is available through that system before using a purchase card.

You can also use a purchase card to obtain cash, but there is a bank charge of 2.95 per cent each time cash is withdrawn.

Cards are assigned to individual cardholders and each card has a:

  • monthly spend limit
  • transaction spend limit
  • number of assigned merchant categories to enable purchases to be bought from various suppliers.

Purchase cards should not be used for:

  • I owe you's (IOU's)
  • direct debits or standing orders
  • salaries or wages of people employed by the council
  • travel and subsistence of people employed by the council.

How to apply

Fill in the online form

You can apply for a purchase card by filling in one of our online forms below. The form you need to complete depends on whether you are a corporate or school member of staff. The form acts as a business case to explain your:

  • justification for the card request
  • spend and transaction limit requirements
  • merchant category requirements.

Please note: if your limits are exceeded or you buy against a merchant category not available to you, the purchase will be declined.

Apply for a purchase card - corporate staff

Apply for a purchase card - school staff

What happens next

Your completed form will be sent to your director for approval, based on the details provided. If accepted by the director, it will be signed off by a finance manager. This will then be issued to the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) for set-up. It can take approximately 6 to 8 weeks to receive the card.

You will be sent the card and PIN number in the post. This should be held securely and not shared with anyone else, including other members of staff. You can start to use your card as soon as you receive it. You will also be set up with access to view your transactions directly on the Royal Bank of Scotland website and be provided with a transaction log spreadsheet for monitoring purposes.

Amend purchase card limits

Fill in the online form

You can request an amendment to the monthly or single credit limits or to open extra merchant categories to make purchases. Fill in our request form below, based on whether you are a corporate or school member of staff.

Request amends to your purchase card - corporate staff

Request amends to your purchase card - school staff

What happens next

Your completed form will be sent to your director for approval, based on the details provided. Amendments can take 5 to 7 working days to action and you will receive confirmation of the changes once they have been made.

Transactions and withdrawals

View transactions

All transactions that are made using a purchase card are available to view on the Royal Bank of Scotland website. You will be provided with the link, when you are notified of your user access ID. This allows you to:

  • check your purchases
  • track monthly and yearly spending
  • split transactions across multiple cost codes
  • run reports.

The guidance document below explains how to view your transactions.

Purchase cardholder guide

Approve transactions

Transactions on the purchase card should firstly be reviewed by the cardholder and then approved by a second officer, such as a line manager, school business manager, head teacher or budget holder. Second officers should be of suitable seniority to the cardholder to challenge purchases made, if necessary. The approver will be notified of their role when the new cardholder is assigned access to the RBS on receipt of their card. Approvers will be informed of their user ID access by email.

To approve transactions made using a purchase card, you'll need to login to the Royal Bank of Scotland website. You will be provided with the link, when you are notified of your user access ID.

The guidance document below explains how to approve transactions.

Purchase card approver guide

Transaction cycle

Each transaction cycle starts on day 29 of the month and ends on day 28 of the following month. Cardholders and approvers should make sure transactions are reviewed and approved prior to this deadline.

Reimbursements

If you have a staff member who has paid for a one off, small priced item under £40 and requires reimbursement, a purchase card that allows withdrawals can be used to refund the employee. To make the refund, as the cardholder you need to:

  • obtain the receipt for the purchase from the employee
  • journal the transaction as normal, using the card's service default code
  • make the cash withdrawal.

If your card doesn't allow cash withdrawals or you require further advice about the refund email expenses.

Cancellations and charges

Cancel a purchase card

If a card is no longer required, for example a cardholder leaves the council or changes jobs, you need to email purchase card admin to enable the card to be cancelled and RBS user access deactivated. The card should be destroyed.

If the service area still requires a card, they would need to apply for a new one, as they are in individual officer names and can't be transferred to other members of staff for security reasons.

Amend or cancel an approver

If the approver role for a card needs amending or cancelling, the approver should email purchase card admin to confirm:

  • they are no longer responsible for the approving role assigned to the card
  • who the new approver will be if the card still exists.

Further guidance

If you have any queries about purchase cards or how they work email purchase card admin.

Our finance manual of guidance page also provides information relating to purchase cards and general corporate purchasing processes.

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