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Procurement Card Policy and Restrictions

UC San Diego faculty and staff can use a Procurement Card (VISA) to purchase a wide range of goods and services for their department. The Procurement Card provides departments a way to purchase and pay for routine, low-cost products and services from suppliers. 

Common Purchases

  • Abstracts
  • Advertisements
  • Audiovisual supplies materials
  • Books, CDs, DVDs
  • Bottled water delivery
  • Break room appliance & supplies
  • Cell phone purchase with the service plan billed through ITS
    • The Express Card can also be used to purchase a UC San Diego business cell phone through an outside vendor; however, the service plan for the phone must be billed to UC San Diego.
  • Certification fees
  • Classroom supplies
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Cloud services
  • Copy services
  • Employee clothing/uniform
  • Computers - desktop, laptop, peripheral
  • Delivery fees
  • Equipment < $4,999 without a signed agreement
  • Film processing
  • Food for student only programmatic activities
  • Gasoline for UC-owned vehicles when it is not possible to refuel on campus
  • Instructional supplies
  • International purchases that do not have to be routed through U. S. Customs
  • International purchases without duty papers
  • Journals - print and online
  • Laboratory supplies
  • Magazines/Newspapers
  • Marketing materials
  • Memberships fees
  • Newspaper delivery (including online)
  • Office supplies
  • Online training
  • Periodicals
  • Photographic prints, processing and supplies
  • Printing services
  • Promotional materials
  • Professional or technical organization dues
  • Publications
  • Registration - conference or seminar without travel
  • Reprints
  • Research supplies
  • Shipping
  • Software - off the shelf & digital, no signed license agreement
  • Subscriptions for periodicals
  • Teaching supplies
  • Utilities

Common Restrictions

Some goods and services, regardless of their value, cannot be purchased using the Procurement Card due to funding or policy restrictions. Restricted items include but are not limited to the items listed in the table below.

Restricted from Express Card
Goods or services in excess of $4,999
Catering including alcohol and\or bar service for a meeting or hosted event
Conference Registration
Consultant, independent contracting, professional and personal services
Controlled substances, regardless of cost
Equipment repairs on equipment not owned by the University


  • Inventorial
  • Rental
  • Straight lease
  • Fabrication with a purchase value in excess of $4,999 total
Export Restricted Items and Foreign purchases that require duty papers or are shipped FOB Origin

Facilities Management Services:

  • Building alterations, maintenance & repairs
  • Lock & key services
  • Landscaping
Gasoline or diesel fuel

Gifts and awards

Gift Cards
Goods or services from any officer or employee of the university or from a near relative of any officer or employee
Meeting or Entertainment expenses
Personal purchases
Radioactive materials (regardless of cost)

Recharge-available goods and services:

  • Animal Care
  • Bookstore
  • Catering Services
  • Facilities Management
  • Imprints
  • Mail Services
  • Self-store

Restricted Goods/Services:

  • Alcohol for ships operations or specialized inventory
  • Chartering of boats, buses, planes, shuttles, etc.
  • Firearms, explosives, ammunition
  • Precious metals
  • Outside vehicle rentals or purchases
Subcontracts, sub-awards, or agreements involving sponsored projects
Supplier Contract (PROCUREMENT CARD HOLDERS ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO SIGN A SUPPLIER CONTRACT), including maintenance or service agreements.
Vehicle rentals, leases, or purchases

Allowable Exceptions

The Procurement Card team can provide certain exceptions with prior approval. 

  • Flower Arrangement: Décor for a University function
  • Gasoline - UC vehicle
  • Postage - Off-campus usage
  • Rentals - No contract required (Conference booths that do not include sponsorship, equipment, location space)
  • Software - Requiring signed license agreement
  • Student Programmatic event or expense 
  • Visa – International employee travel


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