Using your University Purchase Card - Dos and Don'ts

A University Purchase Card must only be used for:

  • Placing low value (typically <£1000) orders with suppliers who will be used infrequently or as a one-off, to avoid setting up the supplier on Agresso. 
  • Purchasing goods and services only available through the internet, eg conference fees.
  • Incidental expenses incurred whilst travelling on business (instead of carrying lots of cash overseas, for example).
  • Paying suppliers quickly (usually within 4 days). Please note: only in exceptional cases.

A purchase card must not be used for:

  • Purchasing goods or services from suppliers already set up on YEP, for which a purchase order should be used.
  • Purchasing goods or services where contracts or agreements already exist. See information about approved suppliers below for more details and HE Contracts for framework agreements.
  • Purchasing goods or services from preferred suppliers.

Use of personal credit or debit cards

Staff should not use a personal credit or debit card for work-related purchases of goods such as books, equipment or software, then claim the money back.

If purchases are made this way there are implications as to the legal ownership of the items purchased and any warranty or guarantee may be compromised. Additionally, prices paid will be more than can be achieved through University agreements. Please speak to your Departmental Administrator who should have access to a Departmental University Purchase Card. 

University Purchase Card rules

The rules about the way in which University Purchase Cards can be used have been updated: University Purchase Card rules - an update for cardholders and approvers (MS Word , 23kb)

This document details the answers to common questions about the above changes: Q and A about the University Purchase Card's regulations changes (PDF , 136kb)

Storing Purchase card receipts; as per finance records guidance (UoY login required) departments need to retain and store card receipts, including for research grants, locally, and on paper.  These records are no longer held by central Finance.

You may need to purchase goods from the internet for business use, usually when our preferred/approved suppliers can’t provide the goods needed.  

A recent internal audit identified that some staff are using their personal online shopping accounts to order goods for business use and paying for them with a university purchase card eg Amazon and online supermarket accounts which can cause problems:

  • When using a personal account, the goods ordered are the property of the individual under contract law, not the University;
  • It’s very easy to select the wrong payment card if a personal card and a university purchase card has been attached to a personal account. Occasionally, people have mistakenly paid for personal goods using the university purchase card. 

If you need to use online stores such as Amazon to purchase goods for the university, please set up a separate account that is clearly identifiable as a ‘work’ account. 

  • Your ‘work’ account must be linked to your work email address only.
  • Deliveries should be made to a University of York address.
  • Delivery addresses must be set up as ‘University of York’, [department name] etc.
  • A university purchase card must be linked to this ‘work’ account to pay for the goods.  
  • Any transactions paid for with your purchase card will feed into the Barclaycard Spend Management (BSM) system. You must code and describe the items accurately so that your approver has sufficient information to authorise. Please keep the order confirmation/receipt as your card approver will need verify this against the description provided in BSM prior to approving.
  • Your ‘work’ account must never be used for personal purchases.
  • Account details (e.g. passwords, card details etc) must not be shared.
  • Deliberate misuse of an account set up for ‘work’ purchases is a disciplinary matter.
  • University of York financial rules and regulations apply.

If you have any queries, please email

How to apply for and cancel your card and how to make changes to your account

  1. Complete the Purchase Card application form (MS Word , 39kb)Purchase Card application form (MS Word , 39kb)
  2. Complete the Barclaycard cardholder application form (PDF , 480kb) (it is also linked to from the Purchase Card application form above).
    For guidance on how to complete the form please read the instructions below under the “Barclaycard GPC cardholder application form guidance” heading.
  3. Print the forms off and send them to Ilona Eastham in the Procurement Office. Please allow around 3 weeks for the forms to be processed and your card to be delivered.
  4. Sam Kinsey, Accounts Payable Manager, will contact you when your card arrives for you to collect it from the Accounts Payable office in HG06a Heslington Hall.

Barclaycard cardholder application form guidance

Please read the instructions below before submitting your completed forms, mistakes in your application will cause delays. Prospective cardholders should only complete the sections highlighted in yellow on the Barclaycard form as follows:

Section A, question 5 Please insert your default workorder and department name (this is the workorder that any card spend will be charged to if you do not return your transaction log at the end of each month).
For example: 12345678 Procurement.
Section A, question 6 Please insert required expenditure limits - please note that a single transaction limit in excess of £2000 and/or a monthly limit in excess of £5000 will be queried and if approved will have
to be signed off by a University bank signatory. Applications for limits under these thresholds can be processed without additional sign off.
Section A, question 8  Please select option A, B or C. Please note that option A (which includes the ability to withdraw cash from an ATM) is normally restricted to those who are travelling to countries where cards
are not readily accepted and cash has to be used. If you select option A, you will be asked to justify your reasons. If you wish to restrict your spend categories, please select option C and
tick all category groups that you require. Please do not tick groups 13 or 32 as these will not be permitted.
Section B, question 10 Please complete this whole section. Please note, the password is for communicating with Barclaycard and NOT for use on the online system, you will be able to change your password once
your card arrives should you wish.
Section B, question 13 Please complete all contact details.

If you move to a different department or are leaving the University, you need to return your card to Sam Kinsey in the Accounts Payable office in HG06a Heslington Hall with a note saying you wish to cancel your card.

Use this form to change your details including your card approver, your delegated administrator or a change of cardholder address: University Purchase Card change of details form (MS Word , 35kb).

To request an increase in the spending limit on your card please complete this form and email it to, copying in your Head of Department: University Purchase Card payment limit increase request email template (MS Word , 12kb)

If you've changed your name, please forward a certificate detailing the name change eg marriage certificate, decree absolute to



The University Purchase Card user guide (MS Word , 271kb) provides help and guidance.

Otherwise please use the following.

Card administration queries:

Telephone: +44 (0)1904 322113 or +44 (0)1904 328203 

Lost/stolen cards/fraudulent activity:

Barclaycard:+44 (0)1604 230230

Any other queries not covered above:

Barclaycard customer services:+44 (0)8448 222160