Student Organization Purchasing Cards

What is a Student Organization Purchasing Card?

This is a MasterCard charge card issued by HSBC Bank to University departments for purchasing business related goods and services. The student organizations cards are issued to the Student Activities & Leadership Office which oversees the use of the cards by student organizations.

How does the card work?

The purchasing card is presented to a merchant for payment for face-to-face transactions or for purchases made by phone or Internet. The merchant will process the transaction as they would any other credit card transaction and funds will be deposited to their bank account within two days. Once a month, the University will be billed for all purchases made with purchasing cards and issue a single payment to HSBC.

How do I obtain a card to make purchases for my organization?

To use a student organization purchasing card an individual/organization must obtain approval using a purchasing card request form.

If your organization is funded through SLUSAF, then you must complete a SLUSAF Request for Use of Purchasing Card form (copies available at the Student Center Information Desk) and submit it to the SLUSAF mailbox by Sundays at noon. The SLUSAF Central Treasurer will review the form and approve or decline the request within one week. The person requesting a card will receive an email informing them of the status of their request.

If your organization is not funded through SLUSAF, but is a recognized student organization with a University budget code, then you must complete a NON-SLUSAF Purchasing Card request form (copies available at the Student Center Information Desk) and submit the completed form to the Student Center Information Desk. The Student Activities and Leadership Office will review your request and respond within one week. 

Once approved, the individual requesting the card will then be able to sign out a purchasing card at the Student Center Information Desk and will be responsible for following the terms and conditions listed below.

Responsibilities While Purchasing Card is in Your Possession- Please read carefully before you use a purchasing card!

Card privileges for an individual or the entire organization may be revoked if the terms and conditions below are not followed. Please read this information thoroughly and carefully. If you have questions, please ask.

The card will be stored in a safe place and the account number be kept confidential. The card will not be lent to or shared with anyone else. A lost or stolen card will be reported to HSBC immediately by calling 1-800-914-5274 and the Students Activities and Leadership Office at 315-229-5757.

At the time of purchase, the merchant will be informed the purchases are exempt from NYS sales tax. (The University’s exempt organization number is printed on the card.) Some merchants, however, may require a copy of the New York State Sales Tax Exemption Certificate ST 119.1, which may be obtained from the Student Activities & Leadership Office or the Business Office. Please note that Wal-Mart requires a separate tax ID number than what is printed on the card. Please ask for the Wal-Mart tax ID card for the appropriate Wal-Mart location (Potsdam, Ogdensburg, Massena) where you are making your purchase. Dollar General also requires a separate tax exempt letter available from the Student Activities & Leadership Office or the Business Office. If you have not used a purchasing card with a store or vendor before, it may be helpful to call ahead and ask if they require additional documentation of the University's tax-exempt status. If you have questions about this you can contact the Student Activities office or Business office for assistance.

An original receipt must be obtained from the merchant for each transaction posted to a purchasing card. The account number to be charged should be written on the receipt and returned to the Student Activities & Leadership Office where all receipts will be processed for payment and maintained for a minimum of 3 years. Personnel in the Business Office will periodically review transactions posted to an account and all supporting receipts.

All purchasing cards must be returned within two days of check-out unless approval is granted by the Student Activities and Leadership Office for a longer period. Please return your card on time. Someone else may be waiting to use it!

The purchasing card must be used for the items described, reason provided, and for no more than the approximate cost provided on the request form and approved for by the SLUSAF Central Treasurer or the Student Activities and Leadership Office. We understand that oftentimes the vendor listed on the request form may change after approval is granted. Vendor changes are allowed as long as they are similar vendors and the items being purchased are the same.

What Kinds of Purchases are Authorized?

The card may only be used to purchase goods and services for the University. Purchases must cost less than $1000 and comply with the University's Purchasing Polices. Student organization purchasing cards may be used for travel costs associated with organization business only.

Goods and services that may not be paid for with a purchasing card are payments to independent contractors for consulting or honorarium and capital equipment. (Capital equipment is defined as equipment with an expected life of more than 2 years and value of $500 or more) Student organization purchasing cards may not be used to purchase items for personal use, beer, alcohol or tobacco.

There are restrictions on the card that will not allow transactions to be processed by certain types of merchants. If such a merchant tries to charge a purchase to a purchasing card account the merchant will be notified by MasterCard that authorization for the charge is denied.

If you need to make a purchase that is more than $1000, here are a few options:

  • Ask the vendor for an invoice so that you can mail them a payment by check. Have the vendor complete a W9 form and then submit the invoice and W9 form, along with a completed check request form, to the SLUSAF Treasurer’s mailbox by Sundays at Noon.
  • Request a purchase order from either the SLUSAF treasurer or Timberly Hewitt.

What if I need a purchasing card for an emergency and did not submit a request form?

We recognize that as much as you can plan for an event, unforeseen circumstances may arise where you will need a purchasing card. In such instances we ask that you determine whether or not the purchase constitutes a true emergency or if it can wait until normal business hours.

If you need an emergency approval to check out a purchasing card you will need to have a completed request form. You will then need to contact the SLUSAF Central Treasurer (, the Office of Student Activities and Leadership or the Business Office to approve the form and be able to access a purchasing card.