Share This

CUNYfirst Business Practices - CUNY Credit Cards

Finance and Administration

CUNYfirst Business Practices - CUNY Credit Cards

CUNY participates in the New York State procurement card program and issues: 1) Purchasing cards (P-cards), designed to be an efficient and cost effective way to expedite small dollar purchases; 2) Travel cards (T-cards), for employee travel related expenses; and 3) Non–Employee Travel cards, (NET cards), for non-employee travel expenses.

CUNY issued credit cards entrust cardholders with a valuable tool, enabling them to make a financial commitment on behalf of the State of New York.

There are, however, certain inherent risks associated with a procurement card program.  Specifically, purchases are completed before supervision and oversight activities can occur.  Therefore, all individuals who receive a CUNY issued credit card are responsible for adhering to the CUNY, NYS and NYC policies and guidelines that govern their use.  For example: 

Travel Card
  • A tax levy employee who wishes to have a travel card may only use the travel card for their OWN expenses related to travel. These include local transportation, conference fees, airfares, lodging (up to the GSA maximum per diem). See guidelines regarding per diem lodging and meal allowances for more information.
  • The travel card may NOT be used for any travel expenses for any other person - tax levy or non-tax levy.   
  • The travel card may NOT be used for non-tax levy expenses. 
  • A separate Travel Authorization is required in advance of the travel AND an Expense Report (with business purpose and receipts ) is also required.  Travel card transactions are reconciled through the My Wallet feature of the CUNYfirst Travel & Expense Center.

Non-Employee Travel Card (NET Card)

  • A Net card may be held by a tax levy employee to procure travel arrangements for non-tax levy employees.
  • The same rules for reconciliation of the monthly card charges apply and individual travel and expense reports are also required with the same supporting documents as noted above.
  • To ensure billing of lodging accommodations for non-employees to the NET card, cardholders should contact the hotel ahead of time, (generally, at least 72 hours prior to planned arrival), to obtain a credit card authorization form; authorizing the hotel to charge all approved third party expenses to the NET card.  In most cases, hotels do not accept credit card authorizations for same day arrivals and may require presentation of a credit card at check-in to cover any damages and other incidentals.  Contact the lodging provider for specific policies, procedures and information. 

Purchasing Card (P-Card)

  • The purchasing card may only be issued to a tax levy employee.
  • Only tax levy expenses may be placed on purchasing cards.  Non-tax levy purchases are NOT allowed; even if there is an intent to return the funds to the State or pay for the purchases through non-tax levy funds.
  • Split ordering is strictly prohibited on CUNY issued credit cards.
  • Purchasing cards may NEVER be used to purchase items that are considered CUNY assets, or will be tagged by CUNY.  Any items that Property Managers currently tag, including laptops, IPads, and printers, CANNOT be purchased using a CUNY Purchasing Card.
  • Items that require category approval and system inspection through CUNYfirst CANNOT be purchased with the P-Card: Information Technology (hardware/software), Facilities/Furniture, Hazardous Materials, Legal Services, etc. 

Additional Note: Departments are required to submit requisitions on behalf of all P-card and NET card holders; to support the University's monthly reclassification process, which charges credit card expenses to the individual department budgets.  For example, if a P-card or NET card holder requests a $500 credit card limit and the department budget allows for an allocation to cover four months, then, the department must create a requisition totaling $2,000.00; with (4) separate requisition lines of $500.00 each, (e.g. $500 for July, $500 for August, $500 for September and $500 for October).  Departments will have to edit the requisition throughout the fiscal year to create requisition lines for additional months, commensurate with future budget allocations. Cards will not be activated until the department requisition is in place, (i.e. fully approved and passes budget check).   

Every employee who holds a CUNY issued credit card is responsible for reconciling card statement transactions on a monthly basis, within prescribed deadlines; including documentation which supports the clearly stated business purposes for the transactions.




Travel Card Applicants, please refer to CUNYfirst Travel & Expense for information regarding Travel Card request forms and procedures. 

To apply for a P-Card and/or NET Card, please follow the procedures below:

  1. Read, complete and printout the NYS Citibank Credit Card Acknowledgement Application NET card applicants must also familiarize themselves with the NYS Travel Card Program changes.
  2. Complete the CUNYfirst P-Card/NET Card User Access Request form to setup and/or modify the different functional roles associated with the card reconciliation and verification process.  Card Holders, Card Supervisors and Card Proxies must submit their own SEPARATE request forms to gain security access to the CUNYfirst Procurement Card module.  

Functional Roles - the functional roles described below MUST be established with CUNYfirst, PRIOR to cardholder use of a CUNY issued credit card: 

Card Holder (Mandatory Role) – The employee to whom the card is issued; responsible for using the card consistent with CUNY policy and procedures. Cardholders reconcile their transactions within CUNYfirst.  All Card Holders must specify their Card Supervisors and Card Supervisors must submit their own SEPARATE user access request forms. 

Card Supervisor (Mandatory Role) – Supervisors review and verify cardholder transactions within CUNYfirst to ensure that purchases meet a business need; ensure that corresponding receipts are attached; and supervisors confirm department chartfields.  Card holders CANNOT verify their own transactions. 

Card Proxy (Optional Role) – Proxies are authorized to reconcile transactions on behalf of cardholders.  Cardholders must inform proxies when card data is available for reconciliation.  Proxies must have access to cardholder receipts and should have CUNYfirst expertise and department fiscal knowledge to administer cardholder transactions. Card Proxies must submit their own SEPARATE user access request forms.

Card Approver (Accounts Payable ONLY) – The Accounts Payable department provides final review and approval of cardholder transactions and confirms appropriate General Ledger account codes for transactions, to ensure that expenses are reflected accurately in the CUNYfirst General Ledger.


Forward the completed application package, (including forms for Card Supervisors and Card Proxies), to Accounts Payable, located in Wingate Hall, Room 112:

Application Package Checklist

Please use the following checklist to ensure submission of a complete credit card application package.  Incomplete application packages will result in processing delays:
  1. NYS Citibank Procurement Card Acknowledgement/Application
  2. CUNYfirst P-Card/NET Card User Access Request forms:
    • Separate form for Card Holder(Mandatory Role)
    • Separate form for Card Supervisor (Mandatory Role)
    • Separate form for Card Proxy (Optional Role)

Procurement card application processing takes approximately two weeks for card delivery.

The Office of Information Technology grants user security access to the CUNYfirst Procurement Card module; and Card Administrator Liaisons at the college work with the CUNY Vendor Management Unit (VMU) to setup and maintain the functional roles associated with each card.  They ensure the maintenance of employee data in the correct and appropriate roles and the uploading of card data received from Citibank, into the CUNYfirst system.
Upon application approval and issuance of a CUNY issued credit card; and establishment of the above-mentioned functional roles, cardholders are responsible for using the card, consistent with CUNY, NYS and NYC guidelines, including, monthly reconciliation of ALL transactions.


The Procurement Card module in CUNYfirst introduced a new business procedure for reconciling P-cards and NET cards - (i.e. Travel cards are reconciled on expense reports with the My Wallet feature.  See CUNYfirst Travel & Expense for more information regarding reconciliation of Travel cards.)  

This online reconciliation process replaces the paper based processes currently in place across the University, and is designed to provide a more granular record of the expenses incurred on the credit cards, in the CUNYfirst General Ledger.


On a monthly basis, CUNY will receive a file from Citibank.  This file will be loaded into CUNYfirst to facilitate the online reconciliation process.  Cardholders will be notified by email that their transactions are available for reconciliation.

Card reconciliation of All charges on the current credit card statement AND supervisor verification of these transactions, must be completed within 5 business days of notification that the transaction file is available for reconciliation.

Cardholder (or Cardholder Proxy) Responsiblities

Cards held by individuals, including P-cards and NET cards, will follow the SAME reconciliation steps:

  • Once the cardholder is notified that the file has been loaded and is ready for reconciliation, the cardholder, (or cardholder proxy), is required to review EVERY transaction associated with each of the cards assigned to him/her to validate that the charges are accurate and are not fraudulent.
  • In the event that fraudulent or incorrect charges are identified, the cardholder will follow the standard process for notifying Citibank and their Card Program Administrator.
  • For ALL accurate charges, the cardholder, (or cardholder proxy) MUST:
    1. Document the business reason for the transaction in the "Comments" area.  Attach additional memos, as needed.
    2. Attach a scanned copy of the receipt directly to the reconciliation workbench in CUNYfirst.  Please make sure that ALL attachments are legible.  Illegible attachments may result in processing delays and/or rejection by the Accounts Payable department.
    3. Review default chartfields and, if necessary, change them to reflect appropriate CUNYfirst department and expense codes.  Mainly, cardholders will have to modify the Account chartfield to appropriately categorize expenditures, (see  for more information).
    4. Notify your Card Supervisor that transactions are ready for verification.
  • Repeated misuse of a CUNY credit card OR failure to reconcile and verify card transactions within 5 business days of notification, are grounds to have the employee’s card privileges revoked.


The second step in the reconciliation process is performed by the supervisor of the cardholder:

  • The supervisor of the cardholder is required to review each card transaction for every card held by one of their employees and verify that the charges are legitimate business purchases or business use.
  • In the event that the charge is NOT a legitimate business expenditure, the supervisor is responsible for obtaining repayment of the amount to CUNY; by following the normal Refund of Appropriations guidelines and processing repayment via a check payable to the City University of New York. 
  • If the charge is a legitimate business expenditure, the supervisor must verify that appropriate receipts are attached to ALL transactions.  Please make sure that ALL attachments are legible.  Illegible attachments may result in processing delays and/or rejection by the Accounts Payable department.  If no receipt is attached, the supervisor is responsible for notifying the cardholder that the receipt must be attached.
  • Additionally, the supervisor of the cardholder is required to review and correct chartfields to reflect appropriate CUNYfirst department and expense codes.  Mainly, supervisors will have to correct theAccount chartfield to appropriately categorize expenditures, (see P-Card/Travel & NET Card GL Account Codes for more information).
  • The supervisor will mark each transaction as "Verified" when ALL transactions meet the following conditions:
    1. The correct receipt is attached;
    2. The "Comments" area documents the transaction as a valid business expenditure, and
    3. The CUNYfirst chartfields are correct.
  • Card reconciliation AND supervisor verification of ALL transactions must be completed within 5 business days of notification that card data is available. 



The final step in the reconciliation process is performed by the Accounts Payable department, referred to as the Card Approver:

  • The Card Approver is responsible for reviewing the business purpose and attached receipts for the transactions and confirming appropriate General Ledger account codes for transactions to ensure that expenses are reflected accurately in the CUNYfirst General Ledger.
  •  Once account codes have been assigned, the Accounts Payable department, as Card Approver, will mark transactions as “Approved” in CUNYfirst.