Purchase card review — update

January 22nd, 2018

Following a recent review into purchase card use and policy, amendments will shortly be made to card limits and merchant categories.

The amendments will see all UoN purchase card limits reset to £500 maximum for individual transactions and £2500 overall monthly spend. The number of merchant categories will also be reduced. In scenarios where cards are not regularly used, they may be removed.

The changes will be completed by the end of January 2018. Over the next few weeks, colleagues will have the opportunity to attend roadshows to discuss the review and outcomes in more detail.

Review findings

The review into the policy and use of purchase cards was conducted by Financial Control and Procurement at the end of 2017 following the launch of the new Purchasing Policy. Its aim was to help ensure that the use of purchase cards at the University of Nottingham is consistently appropriate and justifiable.

Findings of the review showed a clear and widespread requirement for purchase card use at the university to be aligned more closely with policy. In particular, we observed that there were widespread instances of purchase card use where other channels, such as Agresso, would be more appropriate. The UoN purchasing policy, itself recently reviewed, specifies that the use of purchase cards should be a last resort.

The review also highlighted some user dissatisfaction with the Agresso finance system. A review of procurement systems commenced in spring 2017 and is currently ongoing. Key stakeholders have been involved in this review and there is expected to be further communication with end users in the near future.

Next steps

All purchase card limits and merchant categories will be reset by the end of January 2018. (If, in future, a card needs to have closed merchant categories opened and/or credit limits increased then this will need to be supported by a justified business need and this will be assessed on a case by case basis).

For all future purchases, please consult the purchasing policy on the most appropriate way to make your purchase. Your finance colleagues will be able to support you in this should you require it.

You may find that purchases are declined if the specified merchant type is no longer on the system. In such cases, please contact BB-Cards@exmail.nottingham.ac.uk for further advice.

As a next step, a review of recent spend transactions will take place. This will involve contact with cardholders to discuss how the purchase card has been used.


A series of roadshows will take place during February to provide colleagues with the opportunity to discuss the purchase card review and details of the changes outlined above.

The roadshow dates are as follows:

  • Thursday 1 February (AM): Jubilee Campus
  • Thursday 8 February (PM): King’s Meadow Campus
  • Friday 9 February (AM): University Park Campus

For more details of times and locations, and to book a place at a roadshow event, please contact cards@nottingham.ac.uk.

You can also contact cards@nottingham.ac.uk if you would like to speak to anybody about the results of the purchase card review.

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January 22nd, 2018 at 11:50 am

Katherine Lawson

Can the roadshow not extend to Sutton Bonington? There are a good number of credit card users here.


January 22nd, 2018 at 12:02 pm

David Aldred

Where in the policy is it specified that Purchasing Cards should be used only as a last resort? Nothing in the section headed ‘Purchasing Cards’ makes that statement, and the term ‘last resort’ does not appear in the policy at all.

Where can a list of authorised suppliers to be paid by credit card on-line be found? Does this change mean that routine payments to on-line suppliers for business-critical web and digital services will have to be halted or curtailed pending a time-consuming and fruitless paperwork exercise?

January 22nd, 2018 at 12:40 pm

Seema Srinivasan


This notification has only gone out to users/ approvers with access to e-solutions. Please could it be sent out to all University staff/ students who may ask purchase card holders to order for them.


January 22nd, 2018 at 1:06 pm

Deborah Kendale

Agree with all comments above. I use my purchase card to pay for web based monthly subscriptions in the region of £20 -£30 per month. Paying this manually would be time consuming and would we be signing up Adobe, Apple and Mail Chimp (big corporate US based companies as University suppliers? I am also based at Sutton Bonington.

January 22nd, 2018 at 2:17 pm

Robert Crossley

Would seem that to make the changes prior to the roadshows, shows no intention of listening to the customers, many of the firms, that we use cannot afford to wait the stipulated end of month +30 days to be paid, if the payment goes through, which at the moment is a 50 50 chance with the payment centre. this would also leave a bigger burden on small areas, to do the paperwork required, seems as if everything has been conducted in the wrong order.

January 22nd, 2018 at 3:58 pm



I’m concerned this review is going to lead to yet more delays. Over the years I’ve understood the University is trying to reduce the number of suppliers set up on Agresso, I do feel this along with the NSP reform that was implemented last year is going to cause extra workload and further delays.


January 23rd, 2018 at 9:08 am


Might you reconsider the change date? You’ve only given us 8 full days notice to try to work out what all the implications might be for our areas and we could find operational business grinds to halt without a bit more time to put in our business case requests to have things reviewed on a one to one basis.

January 23rd, 2018 at 10:50 am

Di Moss

Seems a knee jerk reaction, reducing card limits is not going to stop maverick spending and missuse of credit card transactions. It’s only going to cause more work and disruption.

I agree with Robert, would have been nice to have been able to give feedback before changes made.

January 23rd, 2018 at 11:39 am


In addition to the problems with Payments Centre taking for ever to make a payment, or worse still losing the invoices, because so many categories for invoice payment have been restricted via the NSP reform, we now have to wait for weeks to get a new supplier onto the database via BPM, presumably because of the volume being received by Procurement as a result of the changes. Why should those of us who religiously reconcile our purchasecard payments and have them approved, be punished because of those who don’t. Fairer to review those who do not adhere to the process, and remove their cards, instead of a blanket restrictive reform.

January 24th, 2018 at 10:25 am


Lets hope that non financial staff are also included in this update as this is where the bulk of the problems seem to be

January 26th, 2018 at 4:00 pm


Thankyou to everybody who has commented on this article. The feedback around this review is being collated and will form the basis of an FAQ. All of the comments and suggestions on this article have been passed to the team implementing the review.
If you would like to speak to anybody about the results of the purchase card review – or discuss any queries – please email cards@nottingham.ac.uk. (Please be advised that responses from this email address may not be immediate.)

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