Module 3


PALCard Controls

The PALCard is embedded with controls which are based on PALCard and Low Value purchasing policies and procedures. Attempted transactions that fall outside of these controls will be declined at the point of sale.

Five Card Controls

* PALCard cycle runs from the 22 nd of the month to the 21 st of the following month.

Merchant Category Code

When merchants sign-up with their bank to accept credit cards, they select a 4-digit number known as a Merchant Category Code (MCC). The MC Code provides a description of the type of business they will be operating. Each card is encoded with MC Codes of vendor-types that should and should NOT be used according to University policy. If a purchase is attempted with a vendor whose MC Code is blocked, the purchase will be declined at the point of sale.


If your card is declined by a vendor, check your available credit in Access Online , U.S. Bank's online system for the PALCard.  Information on how to register and use Access Online is available at Select - How to Register and Use Access Online .  If you do not have enough available credit, ask your supervisor to send an e-mail to PALCard@uci.edurequesting an increase.

If you have sufficient credit and the charge declined, contact for assistance.  It may be possible that the vendor's Merchant Category Code is causing a decline.  If this is the case, PALCard staff will customize your account to facilitate an authorization.

Example: A cardholder attempts to purchase book supplies at the Cal State University Fullerton bookstore. The card is declined because the MC Code the bookstore has selected to describe their business is "Recreational Service," and recreational services are blocked on the card.

Common reasons for declines:

  Decline Report

The PALCard Coordinator receives a daily decline report from U.S. Bank, which provides the following details about declined transactions:

Although card controls are designed to automatically limit unacceptable usage, it is primarily the cardholder's responsibility to be aware of University's Policies and Procedures and ensure that all purchases conform to these Policies. 


  Purchase Transactions

  Low Risk Goods and Services

The purchasing process begins by identifying and selecting a vendor that sells the goods and services your department requires. Vendors from whom you currently purchase goods or services should be considered potential PALCard vendors. Whenever possible, select a University-preferred vendor. A list of University-preferred vendors is available at the following links: Strategic Sourcing and Local Agreements.

Most of the purchases you make will be for "common" goods and services." "Common" refers to low-risk goods and services that usually have few, if any, insurance requirements, and the buying is fairly routine and straight forward.

High risk goods and services like radio-actives and controlled substances, must be purchased by a Central Purchasing Buyer to ensure that insurance and regulatory requirements are met.

Call, visit the vendor directly, or place the order on the phone, fax or Internet. Give the vendor the account number and expiration date of your PALCard. NEVER e-mail your account number to anyone, and use caution when faxing by ensuring the fax number you are dialing is correct. The vendor will verify the account number with VISA, and the spending limits will be checked electronically for compliance with applicable limits.

Be sure that the total amount (including all shipping/handling, freight and postage expenses) does not exceed your card''s single purchase limit: maximum $5,000. Confirm the sales or use tax amount and notate it on the Internal Requisition (Use of an Internal Requisition is optional, per department).

Obtain a receipt, or if goods are delivered, retain packing/delivery slips that accompany the order. Be sure to retain all documentation pertaining to the transaction and forward to your Reconciler within 4-6 calendar days.  Failure to document purchases when they occur, or not forwarding paperwork to your Reconciler in a timely manner, constitutes violation of PALCard policy.  Such actions will result in your account being placed on hold or cancelled.

Special Approval

Special approvals may be required before purchasing goods or services. Contact the following campus departments to make sure that approvals are obtained beforehand.

Contract and Grant Accounting


Facilities Management

Stationery and Business Cards

The Office of the President issued a memo stating that only "seal-style" stationery is approved for use in the reproduction of letterhead, envelopes and businesses cards. This style is represented on letterhead with a double rule enclosing the names of all campuses, along with the unofficial seal. Envelopes and business cards also contain the unofficial seal.

Seal-style stationery may be ordered with the PALCard directly from the Purchasing Department's website for Corporate Graphics.

Internet Purchases

When purchasing over the Internet, make sure you are at a secure site. Web sites must, at a minimum, provide a Security Socket Layer (SSL). When a secure site asks for your ordering information, your browser will display a lock icon in the locked position and the address window will display "http s ://" (look for the letter " s"). Never provide your credit card number to an Internet merchant who does not run a secure site.

Recurring Purchases

When the purchase of goods or services recur on a monthly basis, i.e. bottled water, pager service, cellular service, internet service, etc., the cardholder may provide his/her card number to the service provider so that the expense may be charged automatically each month.  

When service is no longer required, it is the cardholder's responsibility to contact the merchant and cancel the service. If the cardholder leaves the department and the service is still required, it is the department's responsibility to either cancel the service or make new payment arrangements. If a PALCard is canceled, but the service provider is not notified, the department may be liable for all charges incurred.

Merchants Who Do Not Accept VISA

Most merchants accept VISA.  However, if you do encounter a merchant who does not accept VISA, you may:


After the decision is made to purchase equipment, determine whether it satisfies the criteria for capitalization. Capital equipment is defined as having a total price of $5,000, including sales tax, accessories and initial complement of supplies needed to put the equipment into operation. Capital equipment must have a useful life of at least one year.


Provide your complete address including your name, department name, address, city, state, zip + zot code, and phone number. It is recommended, that when possible, to instruct vendors to deliver goods delivered directly to your campus address instead of Central Receiving.

F.O.B. and Freight Charges

F.O.B. (free on board) determines who is responsible for freight damage claim processing. Responsibility depends upon the point at which the title of the goods passes to the University. The preferred method is: "F.O.B UCI (Destination) - Freight Prepaid." This method identifies the merchant as being responsible for the handling of any claims that arise from damage during shipment. It also states that title passes to the University when goods arrive at their campus delivery point. "Freight Prepaid" identifies the merchant as paying for related freight/shipping charges.

Billing Address

Merchants usually request your billing address at the time you place an order. The address you should provide them with is the address that was included on your PALCard application office address.  If you are unsure of your address contact the PALCard staff.

Canceling Purchase Transactions

PALCard transactions cannot be cancelled. Once the transaction has been processed the cardholder needs to contact the vendor to arrange for a credit.

Returns and Credits

If the materials are sent back:

If the materials are returned in person:


If you have a dispute with the vendor regarding an incorrect charge you should:

For disputes that cannot be resolved with the vendor, contact U.S. Bank within 60 days from the transaction date, 800-344-5696.  (The cycle closes on the 21 st of each month. Contact PALCard staff for additional information.

Energy Star Program

Products with the Energy star logo reduce energy costs by 25-50% without compromising quality or performance. By purchasing Energy Star products you help the University save energy costs and help improve air quality because fewer fossil fuels are burned and released into the atmosphere. For more information on Energy Star visit:


Sales and Use Tax


Sales Tax is the term used to describe the tax collected by a vendor and paid to the State of California.

Use Tax is calculated by KFS and is based on the total amount debited. UCI collects and pays Use Tax to the State of California.

Although the University is a non-profit organization, it is not tax-exempt. The State of California requires payment of state "sales tax" on all purchases, except those which are tax-exempt.

"Sales tax" is the term used to describe the tax collected on goods purchased within the State of California.

For additional information see UCI Campus Policy and Procedures, Sec. 701-12: Guidelines on Sales and Use Tax.

Tax Rate

The following link provide the sales and use tax rate for Orange County: For purchases PICKED UP in counties other than Orange, that county's tax rate will apply.

Tax-Exempt Purchases

Following are examples of purchases that are generally not taxable:

Account Number

Each PALCard is linked to a single Account number. When transactions are made, the vendors are paid by their banks within 48 hours, and then reimbursed by U.S. Bank.

U.S. Bank  transmits credit card transaction data to UCI each day. This data is used to generate electronic payments to U.S. Bank and to distribute the expenses/credits to departments for their purchases/returns. The purchase transaction data is sent to the cardholder's Reconciler via e-mail.

Note: Currently, federal contract and grant funds and federal flow thru funds may not be automatically linked to the PALCard. However, the Reconciler can change the Account to a contract and grant Account number before authorizing the transaction in KFS.


Cardholder - University employee who is approved by his/her supervisor to use a PALCard to purchase goods and services on behalf of the University.

Competitive Quotation - price quotations from a minimum of three qualified suppliers.

Construction - the act, art, or business of moving, demolishing, installing, or building a structure, facility, or system according to a plan or by a definite process.  Exterior and interior painting of new structures are forms of construction.

Supervisor - Individual who authorizes an employee's request for a PALCard. 

Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) - a business that is at least fifty-one percent (51%) owned by one or more disabled veterans.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) - a business concern which is at least fifty-one percent (51%) owned by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals

Independent Contractor - an independent contractor relationship exists when the University has the right to control only the result of the service, not the manner of performance.

Independent Consultant - an independent consultant relationship exists when the University does not control either the manner of performance or the result of the service.

PALCard Coordinator - employee located in Central Purchasing who coordinates the PALCard program for the University and acts as the University's liaison in correspondence with U.S. Bank.

Purchase Order - a purchase contract written on a University purchase order form which becomes a contract either through execution by both parties or, when so provided, upon execution by the University and performance by the supplier.

Reasonable Price - a price that offers the highest total value to the University.

Small Business Enterprise (SBE) - an independently owned and operated business certified, or certifiable, as a small business by the Federal Small Business Administration (SBA).

Sole Source - the only supplier capable of meeting University requirements within the time available, including emergency and other situations which preclude conventional planning and processing.

Vendor - the merchant from whom a cardholder is making a purchase.

Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) - a business that is at least fifty-one percent (51%) owned by a woman/women who exercises the power to make policy decisions affecting the business.


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