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Payment Solutions - FAQs

1. What is Payment Solutions?

Payment Solutions is responsible for the Purchasing Card program, the document entry and payment of travel statements, business/entertainment forms, invoices, check requests and mileage vouchers.

2. How do I know who to call with questions regarding payment process?

There are several people within Payment Solutions that can assist with questions and concerns. The quickest way to contact the correct person is to refer to our Payment Solutions Staff page.

3. Where do I pickup forms (Check Requests, Travel Statements, etc.)?

Check Requests (CQ's), Travel Envelopes, Travel Statements, Mileage Reimbursement Vouchers, Business Entertainment Forms, and Signature Authorization Forms are available from  Payment Solutions. These forms can be requested via email at payment@rice.edu , by phone at 713-348-6700, or picked up in person from Payment Solutions (Memorial Hermann Medical Plaza, Suite 2630). For forms not listed here, please click on the following link: Routing Payment Solutions Documents and Forms .

On-line travel/entertainment/business meeting and check requests are available to any user that attends the training class.

4. I sent a document to Payment Solutions for payment, and I received a phone call advising me that I was not an authorized signer. What does that mean?

Approval signatures are specified on a completed and approved "Signature Authorization Form." A completed signature authorization form defines which funds and orgs, which types of transactions and the monetary range that an individual can approve. The forms must be reviewed and approved by the department chair/head. For the department chair/head's signature form, the approval must come from either their Dean or manager. No one can approve their own signature form .

If you believe you need signature authorization, please contact your department chair or department head. If a department needs blank forms, contact Payment Solutions via email at payment@rice.edu or by phone at 713-348-6700.

5. When is a purchase order required?

A purchase order is required for all purchases equal to or greater than $5000 and should be completed before a purchasing commitment is made. Payment Solutions cannot process an invoice totaling $5000 or more without a purchase order. A purchase order should be completed when paying for professional services equal to or greater than $5000 and should be prepared for the total cost of services (as per policy). When a signed contract or agreement exists, it is not necessary to have the PO signed. The purchase order provides the funding information and enables us to encumber the funds. For purchases less than $5000, the Rice Purchasing Card is the preferred method of payment.

6. How can I tell if an invoice has been paid?

The quickest and easiest way is to access WebApps and follow these steps:

  1. Access Edgar/WebApps
  2. Select the "Finance" tab
  3. Payment Queries - select "Vendor/Invoice History"
  4. Search for vendor
  5. View payments

WebApps is a secure site which requires a password and ID and is maintained by Administrative Systems. If you are a new user, please refer to the Security Agreement available at the Administrative Systems website. If you need to change or expand your WebApps access, contact adminsys@rice.edu . Administrative Systems also provides training in order to use the system.

You can also call  Payment Solutions (refer to the  Payment Solutions Staff page for name and phone numbers) with your invoice inquiries. Please have the vendor name and invoice number available. If the payment amount is over $5000, please have the PO number available as well.

7. What is the mileage reimbursement rate?

The current rates are available under the Online Resources and References section of the Payment Solutions website.

8. I need to order something quickly and it is under $5000.  It's not subject to any restrictions. What is the quickest way to make the purchase?

The Purchasing Card can be used for most expenses under $5000.

9. What is a Purchasing Card?

The Purchasing Card (PCard) is a MasterCard product administered by JPMorgan Chase. Purchases are charged directly to a departmental fund/org/account number and are reported via email after the purchase is processed by the vendor and on the cardholder's monthly financial statement. Rice pays the bank once a week for all PCard purchases.

The PCard is a tool that facilitates timely acquisition of materials and supplies, automates data flow for accounting purposes, offers flexible controls to help ensure proper usage, and reduces transactions costs. The PCard program is designed as an alternative to a variety of processes including petty cash, check requests, and purchase orders for goods, supplies, and services under $5000. The PCard can also be used for travel and entertainment costs. The PCard complements the existing payment processes by reducing the payment time to outside vendors who accept Mastercard.

10. What are my responsibilities as a cardholder?

The card is issued to an individual. Approval from your supervisor or department chair/head (aka "approving official" or "one over") is necessary before you may receive a PCard. Only employees of Rice University are eligible to receive a PCard and each user is required to attend training and sign a Cardholder Agreement.

Although the PCard has NO impact on an employee's personal credit history, please remember that when using the card University funds are being committed. This is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. The cardholder is responsible for all charges made to the card(s) in their possession. Intentional misuse or abuse will result in disciplinary action, up to and including discharge from the university.

The PCard will work in the same way as any other credit card with the exception that the Rice Card should NEVER be used for personal charges or restricted items.

Restricted Items are as follows:

  • General Purchases equal to or greater than $5000 (does not apply to travel and entertainment charges)  
  • Rice University Internal Vendors (Rice Catering, the Thresher, Rice Parking, etc.)  
  • Cash Advances (e.g. ATM's)
  • Traveler's Checks
  • Hazardous Materials or Controlled Substances
  • Relocation Expenses (due to tax reporting requirements)
  • Non-Incorporated vendors and consultants (due to tax reporting requirements)
  • Any others as dictated by the University. See the Rice University Policies and Procedures on the  Payment Solutions Guidelines and Procedures  page.

11. How do I obtain a Purchasing Card or get further information on the Purchasing Card program?

You must complete an application that must be approved by the department chair/head and attend a short training session. It takes approximately two weeks from the time the completed form is approved within the department until you receive your card.

To request a Purchasing Card please contact:

Barbi Huggins
Phone: ext. 6708
bhuggins@rice.edu

or

Samia Davila
Phone: ext. 6713
sdavila@rice.edu  

12. What do I do if my Purchasing Card is lost or stolen?

Immediately notify:  

JPMorgan Chase at 1-800-848-2813 (open 24 hours/day; 365 days/year),
Rice University Police (ext. 6000), AND
Purchasing Card Administrator (ext. 6708).

NOTE: If the Cardholder has a card stolen or notices that the card is missing outside of normal business hours, he/she should contact the Rice Police (ext. 6000) immediately. The Police Department is open 24 hours a day and can supply the Cardholder with the JPMorgan Chase phone number. Notify the Purchasing Card Administrator on the following business day.

Rice is responsible for all charges on the card until JPMorgan Chase is notified of the loss or theft of the card by the Cardholder. Once JPMorgan Chase is notified, the card will automatically be suspended and a new card will be sent to the Purchasing Card Administrator for distribution to the Cardholder.

13. Is there a way to reallocate Purchasing Card charges from the fund/org/account to which they were automatically charged?

Yes. Purchasing Card charges are charged to the fund/org/account indicated at the Purchasing Card application. Charges must be reallocated by using the On-Line Purchasing Card Reallocation site, located within the Rice WebApp pages. In order to utilize this form, you must have security access within your Banner security profile (current WebApps users may click on the link to be taken directly to the site. First time users should refer to the Administrative Systems website and complete the Security Agreement or contact admsys@rice.edu to request access. You will need to attend the PCard training class conducted by Payment Solutions. The form is easy to use and has the capability of splitting a single charge to as many fund/org/acct combinations as needed (provided all fund/orgs are within your Banner/Rice Web Application security profile).

On-Line Purchasing Card Reallocation Procedures can be found on the Payment Solutions website. To schedule the training class, please contact payment@rice.edu .

14. The vendor needs to verify my billing address for the Purchasing Card. Where do I find that information?

Your Purchasing Card billing address is the same as the address noted on your monthly Purchasing Card statement. Generally, it follows this pattern:

Card Holder Name
William Marsh Rice University {or whatever is printed on the second line of your PCard}
Department Name; MS #
6100 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005

15. My Purchasing Card was declined. What should I do?

First, call JPMorgan Chase at 800-316-6056 x 0. (This number is on the back of your card.) The bank can tell you why the charge was declined.

Your card may have been declined because the wrong expiration date was used, the wrong billing address was used or the card limit(s) were reached. Every card is customized by the department to allow for:

  • General Purchasing only
  • Travel and Entertainment only
  • Both General Purchasing and Travel and Entertainment
  • A limit on how much can be spent per purchase (single purchase limit)
  • A limit on how much can be spent per monthly cycle (cycle purchase limit)
  • A limit on how many daily transactions can be made (daily transaction limit)
  • A limit on how many transactions per monthly cycle can be made (cycle transaction limit)

If your card is declined because you have exceeded your limit and you believe the limits should be changed, talk to your department's Purchasing Card Approving Official. The Approving Official may email payment@rice.edu to request a temporary or permanent increase to any of the purchase or transaction limits. The Purchasing Card Change Form ( PDF ) may also be completed and sent to MS77 or fax to 6701. Contact the PCard Staff with any questions.

Barbi Huggins
Phone: ext. 6708
bhuggins@rice.edu

or

Samia Davila
Phone: ext. 6713
sdavila@rice.edu  

16. What are the requirements regarding reconciliation of my monthly Purchasing Card statement?

Each cardholder will receive a monthly statement via email summarizing the purchasing card transactions for the prior month. The cardholder is responsible for matching the original detailed receipts to the monthly statement. The general purchase receipts should be attached to the statement and the travel charges should be noted with the corresponding TV envelope number. All travel and entertainment receipts will be housed inside a specified TV envelope. Each charge should be supported by either the original general purpose receipt or documented with a TV envelope number (indicating where that receipt can be located). The statement must be signed by the cardholder indicating the information is reconciled and accurate. The statement must also be approved by your One-Over (Approving Official).

Original receipts must be maintained for five (5) years, or the duration of the grant plus three years, whichever is longer.

17. What do I do if tax was charged on my Purchasing Card transaction?

Rice University is tax-exempt and should not be charged sales tax for University purchases made in the State of Texas. Rice's Federal Tax Identification number is printed on the PCard for easy reference. The vendor will need the Texas Sales and Use Tax Exemption Certification ( PDF ) provided by Disbursements. Other Rice purchases (in addition to PCard purchases) are also tax exempt following these same guidelines.

If a vendor charges tax on your Purchasing Card order, you should contact the vendor directly and have the vendor issue a "credit" to your card for the amount of the tax charged. For other forms of purchasing, the vendor should issue a corrected invoice with the tax removed from the total amount of the invoice.

18. What should I do if my Purchasing Card is charged more than once for the same order?

Your first point of contact should be directly with the vendor. If the charge is not legitimate, the vendor should credit your account. If they cannot provide documentation which supports the charge and are unwilling to credit your account, you should file a dispute with JPMorgan Chase (1-800-316-6056, ext. 0) and contact the Purchasing Card Staff. Disputes must be filed within 60 days of the charge or Rice may not be able to dispute the charge .

19. Can I use the Purchasing Card to make purchases on the Web?

Yes, the Purchasing Card can be used to make purchases on the Web. However, for Web transactions, we suggest you do whatever you can to minimize the security risks. See Ordering By Phone/Internet for more information about making purchases online.

Do not use the PCard if you are unsure whether it is a secure web site. Purchases such as web purchases, where the card is not physically presented to a merchant, are 100% covered in cases resulting in fraud or unauthorized use.

It is sometimes difficult to inform the vendor of Rice's tax-exempt status when purchasing via the Web. It may require a phone call to the vendor inquiring about the correct procedure to avoid paying sales tax. The vendor may request the tax-exemption form. The form can be faxed to them.

20. Where can I get more TV envelopes?

To obtain more TV envelopes, contact Payment Solutions via email at payment@rice.edu or by phone at ext. 6700.

21. How do I set someone up as a Rice Traveler/Host or add an address to the Person to be Reimbursed section?

Most Rice employees are already in the Rice Traveler/Meeting Chair/Host and Person to be Reimbursed databases. If you have checked and their name or address does not appear, email all pertinent information to Disbursements at disbmt@rice.edu . The same procedures should be followed when adding an address for a Non-Rice traveler or host.

Remember: It is only necessary to complete the Person to be Reimbursed box when the traveler or host is actually receiving money back from Rice for out of pocket expenses incurred.

22. The purchasing card charges I need to account for are not appearing in the bottom queue of the line form. What should I do?

First, make certain that you have received the email notifying you that the charges you are looking for have come through the Banner/Rice Web Applications System (or look in the PCard History Section of Rice Web Applications). If the charges have hit the system, it is possible that they were filtered through Banner as a General Purchase charge instead of a Travel charge. Please refer to the Online TEBM Form Instructions to learn how to move General Purchase transactions that are travel related to the travel side for clearing on a TV envelope.

23. What should I do if a traveler is accidentally reimbursed for a purchasing card charge?

There are two possible scenarios, but either way, a new TEBM document will need to be completed in order to correct the mistake.

If the traveler has already cashed the reimbursement check from Rice (and this will be the case if legitimate out-of-pocket expenses were also reimbursed to the traveler), fill out a new TEBM form making sure to document the error and the old TV envelope number in the "Business Purpose" section. Move the formerly overlooked purchasing card charge onto the form and in the "Personal Item Accounting" section, list the total that was mistakenly reimbursed to the traveler (this should be exactly the same amount as the purchasing card charge). The traveler will then need to write a check made payable to Rice University for that amount.

If the traveler has not cashed the check and is not owed any money (the check from Rice and the PCard charge are the same amount), return the original check to Disbursements with a written request to void the check. Fill out a new TEBM form making sure to document the error and the old TV envelope number in the "Business Purpose" section. Move the formerly overlooked purchasing card charge onto the new TEBM form and account for the charge in the "Accounting" section.

24. What if I want to receive my travel reimbursement electronically via direct deposit?

Print the Authorization for Automatic Deposits Reimbursements Form ( PDF ) found under Payables/Disbursements Forms. Complete the form and submit it to Disbursements, MS-75 or Memorial Hermann Medical Plaza, 6400 Fannin, Suite 2630 for processing.

25. I used my purchasing card to buy airline tickets for a trip that will take place in the future. The charge will not be reconciled until after the trip has been completed, so how do I avoid receiving "past due" notices for this charge?

If you have a travel expense on your purchasing card that will not be used until a later date, please notify Disbursements via email at pcardtrv@rice.edu or by phone at ext. 3432. This will ensure that you will not receive past-due notices until after the trip has been completed.

26. Two different purchasing cards were used to pay for a single trip. Can I put the charges from both cards on one TEBM document?

No. It is not possible to move charges from one card to another, nor is it possible to enter two purchasing card numbers on one TEBM form. A separate TEBM document must be completed for each card.