Overview & Benefits

Using a P-Card gives a Cardholder greater control over small-dollar purchases made on behalf of the university. Using a P-Card for small-dollar purchases eliminates the need to complete the traditional procure-to-pay process (Purchase Requisitions to Invoice, Reimbursement Requests, Petty Cash forms, etc.) and eliminates the need to spend personal money and then seek reimbursement. When authorized, a P-Card can be used to obtain cash advances for business related travel.

P-Card Purchases

A P-Card may be used to purchase any goods and services for university business, subject to the limitations stated in the Cardholder Responsibilities under Prohibited Purchases.

P-Cards should be used to make university related travel reservations through iBuy+ Travel.The P-Card may also be used for travel expenses incurred while traveling on GW business. This includes:

  • airfare
  • lodging
  • meals
  • rental cars
  • registration fees
  • other authorized incidental expenses
  • cash advances from banks and ATM machines (within the limits of the Travel & Entertainment Policy).

Software and SaaS purchases made on P-Cards

Cybersecurity and Application Risk Assessments are required when one or more of the following exist in the system/application developed or procured:

  • Transmitting, storing, or processing GW data or information classified as Restricted or Regulated under GW’s Data Classification Levels.

  • Interconnection with GW IT Resources including GW enterprise applications (ERP, Active Directory, Financial Systems, etc.).

  • Placement in the GW IT data center and campus infrastructure components connected to GW IT networks.

  • Expiration of the Authority to Operate (ATO) for an actively used system/application.

  • A significant change to the scope of a system/application requires a re-assessment.


Software license purchases or renewals do not require reassessment.  Significant changes in data processing scope, or integrations may require a new assessment.   Software licenses once acquired may be deployed in support of specific activities or that relate to processing, storing, or transmitting non-public data would be assessed at that point.

Travel & Entertainment (T&E) Expenses

T&E expenses have rules and regulations in addition to the general rules and regulations of the P-Card Office. When using a P-Card for T&E expenses, the Cardholder must adhere to ALL GW T&E policies in order to comply with various IRS regulations. Please note: a P-Card may NEVER be used to pay for a spouse or family member to accompany a traveler on GW business unless this unusual circumstance is approved in advance in writing by the appropriate Vice President.

Travel Benefits

Cash Advances

While it is preferred that a P-Card be used to pay for all T&E expenses, in certain circumstances there may be a need for cash. Travelers are eligible for P-Card cash advances of up to $500 every 7 days for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses while on travel. Should other limits be necessary to conduct University business, please contact the P-Card office for further instructions. Cash advances may be obtained either from a bank teller or ATM machine. A Personal Identification Number (PIN) will be required. When a P-Card is first activate, the Cardholder should select a PIN at that time. There will be a charge for obtaining a cash advance of 2% of the cash amount (minimum $3.00), as well as the possibility of an ATM charge. These fees appear as a P-Card transaction within Concur and need to be submitted as expenses on an expense report. It is therefore strongly recommended that purchases be paid for with the P-Card directly rather than with a cash advance. When on foreign travel and if there is a need to exchange currency, an official receipt showing the amount rendered in local currency and in US dollars, as well as fees, must be obtained

Please note: The exchange rate in effect on the applicable processing date may differ from the rate on the date the card is used. Banks have the right to charge 1% of the U.S. dollar amount on any international transaction.

Traveler Accident Insurance

Automatically insured for $500,000.

Lost Luggage Benefit

Eligible to receive supplemental reimbursement for lost luggage of up to $1,250.

Rental Insurance Coverage

  • Primary Collision/Loss Damage Insurance for up to 31 consecutive days of car rental.
  • Up to $50,000 per incident on claims for which the traveler or any other authorized driver is legally responsible to the vehicle rental company.
  • Secondary Personal Effects Insurance which covers loss, damage, or theft of such effects.
  • Maximum coverage per rental is $1,000 per covered person, per occurrence.

P-Card Policy

The GW P-Card is a standard revolving card, in which the cycle limit is refreshed on the 21st of each month set up with the following control parameters:

  • Maximum dollar amount per transaction: The department/school determines the maximum dollar amount that each cardholder can spend in a single transaction. The default per-transaction limit allowed for any P-Card is $3,500 unless there is a business need for an amount larger that has been justified by the Finance Director, Dean or Associate Vice President.
  • Credit limit: The department determines the maximum dollar amount that can be spent by each cardholder during a cycle. The cycle begins on the 22nd of the month and ends on the 21st of the following month.
  • Merchant Category Codes: Each P-Card is further set up to exclude specific Merchant Category Codes when necessary.

Who Can Obtain a P-Card?

Prohibited Purchases

P-Cards may be used to buy anything EXCEPT the unauthorized/prohibited items listed below:

  1. Any order that exceeds the established Single Transaction Limit for the P-Card holder. A transaction may consist of one or many items. Splitting a large order into multiple transactions each less than the established Single Transaction Limit for the P-Card holder is prohibited and may result in card suspension. However, transactions greater than the established Single Transaction Limit for the P-Card holder may be allowed if preapproved in writing by Finance Directors, Deans or Associate Vice Presidents. Refer to the university’s Procurement Manual for additional information about the required documentation on P-Card transactions and thresholds for competition.
  2. Services rendered by an individual or sole-proprietor LLC regardless of dollar amount due to the university’s Workers Classification Form requirement and/or the potential for tax reporting requirements. Please consult the Tax Department's website for the exemption to the WCF requirement job classifications. These services may be able to be paid on a P-Card. Please contact the P-Card office for further information if your service appears on the exemption listing.
  3. Gasoline for personal vehicles.
  4. Payments to any school, department or division of GWU or the MFA cannot be made on a P-Card.  A journal entry must be used to transfer funds between various schools, departments and divisions at GW and  also at the MFA.  
  5. Laboratory Animal orders placed by anyone other than the Animal Research Facility.
  6. Goods and Services greater than $3,500 unless the P-Card is being used as the payment method to satisfy a previously executed contract. When the services are paid by the P-Card, a copy of the executed contract with the receipt and invoice must be attached to the expense report.
  7. Prizes, awards, and gift certificates, such as gift cards and cash equivalents (GWorld debit cards) unless approved in advance in writing by the Finance Director for the School/Division. See complete details regarding gift card purchases by visiting the iBuy+ website; under the "Request" tab. 
  8. Radioactive materials unless ordered by the Radiation Safety Office.
  9. Special Occasion Items for specific individuals (flowers, fruit baskets, candy, balloons, etc.), unless approved in advance by a Vice President, Dean or Associate Vice President. The approval document must be submitted with the expense report as an additional receipt related to the transaction.
  10. Any purchase prohibited by another university policy.


Departments are liable for all charges made on P-Cards assigned to their cardholders and are liable for charges on lost or stolen cards before the card is reported lost or stolen to the issuing bank. Fraudulent charges should be disputed, and the Bank will make an effort to recoup those charges and credit back the cardholder. In addition, the Department is liable for all transactions reallocated to sponsored project funds, including any charges that are unallowable according to the terms of the specific grant/award.

The P-Card staff in Procurement are responsible for ensuring P-Cards are administered in accordance with university’s policies and procedures.

Helpful Guidelines