UBC VISA Card FAQ


The UBC VISA Card, a single payment method for purchasing low dollar value goods, services and travel under $3,500. The UBC VISA Card is an enablement tool which complements existing purchase processes. Goods and services above $3,500 will require a Purchase Order.
To determine if you should apply for the new UBC VISA Card, ask yourself 2 simple questions:
  • Do I purchase low dollar value goods and services?
  • Do I travel for UBC-related academic or business matters?
If you answered yes to either question, it would be beneficial for you to apply for the card to simplify purchasing and payment. Users must also have the written approval of their application and must also be willing to abide by the guidelines set out for their role as stated in UBC VISA Card Cardholder Handbook. Check with your manager or supervisor to determine if you should apply for the UBC VISA Card. Please note that only UBC faculty and staff can apply for a UBC VISA Card. Students are not eligible unless they are UBC employees.
After the processing of your application, the UBC VISA Card will be sent to Finance Operations at UBCO within 5-10 business days.
There are many benefits to using the UBC VISA card for you and the university including:
  • one widely accepted payment method for goods, services and travel expenses
  • no more out-of-pocket expenses or use of personal funds
  • simplified expenses reporting and reconciliation to get funds back faster
  • reduced paper work and bureaucracy
  • improved accounting and budget management
  • improved accuracy of transactions
  • simplified purchasing approval processes
  • improved forecasting and reporting visibility of vendor spending patterns
The UBC VISA card has several options tailored to accommodate individual or departmental purchasing patterns: Individual card:
  • goods and services per transaction, limit of $3,500 (card limit $15,000)
  • goods, services and travel per transaction, limit of $3,500 (card limit $35,000)
Departmental card: The department card can be used for goods, services and travel. While the card limit is $35,000, UBC purchasing policies and procedures apply. If you are purchasing goods and services greater than $3,500, a Purchase Order is required. Important: Purchase transaction amounts may not be split into smaller amounts, or across time periods, in an attempt to suit the financial delegated authority of a staff member and to bypass submitting requisitions to Finance Operations. Any attempt to split a purchase transaction amount will be considered a breach of the policy.
The Individual Card is for use by individual faculty and staff who purchase goods, services and/or who travel on UBC business. The Department Card is a centrally-held card for use by department administrators to purchase low dollar value goods and services less than $3,500 per transaction. The department card is also for booking group travel, on behalf of individuals who travel infrequently or for visiting guests. Applying for the Department Card is at the discretion of the Dean, Director or Department Head.
No. The UBC VISA Card agreement clearly states personal charges are not permitted. If you inadvertently make a personal purchase:
  • Return the item for a refund.
  • If returning the item is not possible, declare it as a personal expense when you reconcile your credit card charges or when submitting a travel expense claim. If you fail to indicate the personal expense, your report will be sent back to you by your approver for correction.
  • When you make a personal expense declaration, you authorize the University to deduct the amount of the personal expense from your payroll for the next pay period.
The UBC VISA Card does not accommodate individual cardholders to collect reward points for personal use. If you are personally a member of a frequent flyer loyalty program, you will be able to earn frequent flyer miles by providing your personal membership number when making your reservation.
Yes, your manager – known as an ‘initiator’ in the Online Payment Tool – can assign ‘delegates’ to enter data, upload digital receipts and specify accounting information. Once you have entered the claims on behalf of your manager, your manager will need to log-in to the Online Payment Tool to review and submit the expense report for approval. The claim will be automatically routed for approval to the one-over-one or signing authority.
At least monthly, log-in to the Online Payment Tool (OPT) – accessible via UBC’s Self-Service Centre using Campus Wide Login (CWL) – to prepare a detailed expense claim report and/or reconcile all transactions for accuracy. Each transaction should be assigned to the applicable speedchart, account code and PG, with the required level of detail for each transaction per UBC and Tri-Council policies and procedures. Attach digital receipts and provide business purpose for each transaction. For those expenses where a receipt is missing, a declaration will be requested stating that the expenses will not be submitted at a later date and/or by any other means. Retain support documents i.e. receipts for a minimum of seven (7) years (for unrestricted accounts) or a minimum of seven (7) years after final project payment and completion of final audit, or as otherwise advised by UBC. Please note that all transactions greater than 60 days in age that are not reconciled nor indicated as travel to be settled later, will be considered past due.
Per the UBC VISA Card application, cardholders are required to reconcile charges at least monthly. In the event charges are not reconciled the following actions will be taken:
Non-Compliance Type Action
Purchase of restricted items Email notification
Failure to reconcile UBC VISA card charges within 30 days Will be flagged for review by Card Compliance
Failure to reconcile UBC VISA card charges within 60 days Email notification to cardholder and one-over-one approver or PG owner
Failure to reconcile UBC VISA card charges within 90 days Potential card suspension and/or cancellation

Back to top