A purchasing card (PCard) is a corporate credit card that the University of Ottawa provides to designated buyers to purchase goods and services worth up to $5000 (before taxes) from any supplier that accepts the card. Exceptionally, other staff members may be authorized to use a PCard (see Procedure 4-3 on Procurement Standards for a list of exceptions). University purchasing cards are issued by Scotiabank in the name of both the University of Ottawa and the cardholder.
This card may have monthly and single transaction limits, in addition to restrictions on specific types of purchases from pre-determined suppliers.
Purchasing cards are governed primarily by two regulations: Policy 36 - Procurement and Policy 75 - Purchasing Cards. For details about the terms, conditions, and procedures that apply to PCards, see the Purchasing Card Manual.
Requests related to the PCard
The Procurement Systems Support team processes all requests related to PCards. The final decision to issue a purchasing card to an employee rests with the team's management, which also reserves the right to cancel or suspend a card at any time and for any reason.
Accessing the Services Portal and Requests
To submit one of the requests listed below, log into the Procurement portal in TOPdesk (click the hyperlink in the box entitled Link to the Procurement Services portal) by entering your uoAccess credentials. Requestors can log back into the portal at any time to check the status of their request.
Types of requests
You can submit four types of request through this portal:
- Request a new purchasing card: Request a card for yourself or for someone else. First, you must request access to the financial system, have this request approved by your unit, and then send it to IT– access management so they can set up a profile for you.
- Change a purchasing card: Submit this request to permanently change some aspect of a current card, such as the monthly limit, the single transaction limit, and or the default FOAP. This request must be approved by the same people who originally signed the request for the new card.
- Cancel a purchasing card: This request is used to cancel a purchasing card when a staff member leaves a position or is no longer employed by the University of Ottawa.
- Suspend a purchasing card: This request is used to suspend a purchasing card when a staff member takes parental leave, medical leave, refresher leave, etc.
Request approval process
Once the request has been submitted, the approving authorities will be notified by email and asked to review and approve the request in the portal (TOPdesk).
Requesting access to the financial system
To request, change, or cancel access to the financial system, fill out a Financial system request form (PDF). Section 4 (user roles) serves to differentiate between the cardholders (the coordinator) and those who will perform transaction reconciliations. Once you have filled out the request, make sure to have it signed by the following individuals:
- The dean or director, or their delegate
FAST (Financial Administration Support Tool) is a web management tool that is integrated into the University of Ottawa’s financial system. The PCard application in FAST charges a purchasing card transaction to a specific FOAP.
Transactions are downloaded every day from the Scotiabank database into the FAST PCard application, which is generally refreshed every morning.
To log in:
If you have trouble logging in, contact the IT Service Centre by phone at extension 6555 or fill out an IT Service Request.
For more information on the reconciliation process, see the FAST PCard User Guide.
Centre Suite is Scotiabank’s online card management platform. You can use it to check the status of your account, review your transactions, and retrieve your monthly statement. Note that Centre Suite does not perform electronic reconciliation; rather, this is performed by the FAST PCard application.
At the end of each cycle, you will receive an email notifying you that your monthly Scotiabank statement is available. (Note that the bank does not issue a monthly statement if there are no transactions.)
This service is free and accessible from anywhere at anytime.
To log in:
- Go to Centre Suite.
- Enter the user ID you were assigned when your card was activated.
- Enter your password. The password requires a minimum of 7 characters and a maximum of 25 characters, with at least one being lowercase, one uppercase, one numeric character and no special characters.
After three unsuccessful attempts to log in, your Centre Suite account will be locked. To unlock your account or reset your password, contact the Procurement Systems Support team.
The PCard workshop is for employees who are responsible for processing decentralized purchases for their units.
To take part in the workshop, employees must have an approved request for a new PCard on file. They must also have submitted a complete, signed Request for access to the Financial System form to IT – access management prior to attending the workshop.
To register for a workshop, please visit the registration page on the Human Resources website.
My purchasing card was declined; what do I do?
Purchasing cards are programmed with restrictions that limit your purchases. Here are a few examples related to these restrictions:
1. You have exceeded your single transaction limit.
Ensure that the transaction amount (including extra charges such as taxes, shipping, and currency conversion) does not exceed the single transaction limit.
2. You have exceeded the monthly transaction limit.
It’s important to keep track of purchases that have been authorized by the vendor but not yet posted by the bank, since these transactions could affect your available balance. To check your balance, log into Centre Suite, click the STATEMENTS tab, and select ACCOUNT ACTIVITY, or call Scotiabank’s Centre Suite hotline at 1-888-823-9657.
3. You are trying to purchase a restricted item.
Each card is encoded to recognize restrictions imposed by the University (merchant category codes, etc.). Since each card is encoded with a distinct security profile and each vendor is associated with a specific merchant category code, the transaction will be declined if you try to use the card to purchase from a merchant whose code is blocked.
When a transaction is declined, you can contact our team to find out exactly why the transaction was declined and we will work with you to solve the problem.
I cannot log into Centre Suite. What should I do?
“Invalid logon credentials” message: This message is posted when the user ID or password have been incorrectly entered. For security reasons, your password is hidden when you enter it. Since the password is case sensitive, check that your keyboard’s CapsLock key is off. Also, you may be entering the wrong user ID. To check it, contact the Procurement Systems Support team.
“Account is locked” message: For security purposes, a Centre Suite session is automatically locked after three unsuccessful login attempts. To create a new password, click on the upper right-hand corner menu in Centre Suite and select Reset Login Credentials?.
How do I reconcile a transaction to several expense accounts (FOAPs)?
The FAST PCard application allows you to split a transaction and assign different amounts to several different FOAPs as many times as you like. Allocating amounts will help retrace expenses and provide a better audit trail. For step-by-step instructions on how to split a transaction, see the FAST PCard User Guide.
What should I do if I don’t recognize one of the transactions on my statement?
If you do not recognize one of the transactions on your statement, you should first contact the supplier for an explanation. Keep in mind that the supplier’s name on the statement may sometimes differ from the one on your invoice.
And it may happen that the amount billed is different from the amount listed on the invoice. Once again, it is better, and simpler, to contact the supplier concerned to settle the issue with them directly.
If your attempts to solve the problem with the supplier fail, you must file a dispute with Scotiabank.
For complete details on filing a dispute, see Section 9.3 of the Purchasing Card Manual.
If you have questions or need help, feel free to contact the Procurement Systems Support team.
Our hours of operations: Monday to Friday
- 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (September to May)
- 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (June to August)