Travel Cards

Section 1. Eligibility Requirements

USC staff and faculty are eligible for a Travel Card provided they meet the following criteria:

  • Have active employment status, in good standing
  • Have their applications approved by the Senior Business Officer prior to central approval
  • Successfully complete an initial training session, as well as refresher training at least every 3 years
  • Review and sign the cardholder agreement
  • Remain in good standing with home department

Section 2. Card Suspension and Cancellation

USC and the issuing bank reserve the right to suspend or cancel a Travel Card at any time, at their discretion. The most common reasons for card suspension or cancellation are:

  • The Travel Card has not had any transaction activity for 18 consecutive months
  • The Travel Card transaction reconciliation is currently overdue (transactions have not been reconciled within 90 days from trip end date or expense purchase date)
  • The cardholder is under investigation by the university for misuse
  • The cardholder is transferring to a different department or role within the university, or is leaving the university

Section 3. Proper Use

Use of the Travel Card is authorized for the purchase of local, domestic and international travel and event-related goods and services on behalf of the university. The following is a list of categories for which the Travel Card is recommended:

  • Air, rail, bus, taxi, and shuttle transportation
  • Car and van reservations and rentals
  • Gasoline (for university-owned and business-related rental vehicles)
  • Hotel deposits, reservations, guarantees, and accommodations, including those for employees, groups, or university guests
  • Incidentals while traveling, including phone calls, faxes, parking, and internet connectivity
  • University-business meals (including on-campus locations)
  • Conference and membership fees
  • Catered events
  • Venues for events, such as hotels, conference rooms, and meeting rooms

The Travel Card must not be used for personal expenses, except for necessary incidental retail purchases incurred during business travel. If the Travel Card is used for such personal expenses, it is the cardholder’s responsibility to remit payment directly to the issuing bank.

Cardholders must use their Travel Cards in accordance with all university policies, including but not limited to: procurement and expenditure policies, sponsored project policies, and Misappropriation of University Assets policy; and all applicable government laws and regulations. Misuse of the Travel Card may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

Section 4. Additional Cardholder Responsibilities

4.1 Authorized card users

The only person authorized to use the Travel Card is the person to whom the Travel Card is issued. Lending or sharing of Travel Cards is prohibited. Cardholders are required to keep their Travel Cards in a secure location at all times.

4.2 Corporate liability

The Travel Card is a Corporate Liability Card. Cardholders are personally responsible for monitoring their account activity, the timely submission of their expense reports (as outlined in Section 6), and paying the personal incidental retail purchases incurred during business travel.

4.3 Returning Travel Card refunds

A payment made by the university to a cardholder’s Travel Card that subsequently results in a refund is the property of the university; the cardholder must submit an expense report to process the  credit balance, which returns the funds back to the appropriate university account.

4.4 Duplicate claims

Cardholders must not submit duplicate claims for Travel Card expenses and must not seek a claim for Travel Card expenses from any other source. Submitting a duplicate claim may lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

4.5 Transaction disputes, fraudulent charges and lost or stolen cards

Cardholders are responsible for disputing any questionable charges appearing on their Travel Card statements with the merchant and with the issuing bank within 60 days of the transaction’s posting date. Cardholders must immediately contact the issuing bank if their Travel Card is lost or stolen, or if fraudulent activity is detected. Cardholders can be held financially liable for transactions if fraud is not reported within 60 days of the transactions’ posting dates.

4.6 Transferring departments or leaving the university

Cardholders must notify the Corporate Card Services when transferring between departments. The Travel Card will be canceled and cardholders requiring a Travel Card for their new position and/or department must apply for a new Travel Card. Cardholders who leave the university or transfer to a department where they are no longer required to have a Travel Card must cancel and shred their Travel Cards and report the cancellation to Corporate Card Services and to the manager of the department that issued the Travel Card. Cardholders are responsible for settling their Travel Card balances before leaving the department and/or university.

4.7 Audits

All Travel Card transactions are subject to review by the cardholder’s manager, Senior Business Officer, Corporate Card Services, and internal and external auditors for compliance with university policies and procedures, as well as applicable laws and regulations. Cardholders must fully cooperate with all audit requests.

Section 5. Manager and Senior Business Officer Responsibilities

The manager of the cardholder is responsible to review expenses for legitimacy, accuracy, completeness of information and sufficiency of documentation.

The manager and Senior Business Officer are responsible for:

  • Promptly reporting a cardholder’s departure from the university or department to Corporate Card Services
  • Obtaining the card from the departing employee
  • Cancelling and shredding the Travel Card if the cardholder has left the university without doing so and reporting cancelled cards to Corporate Card Services
  • Reconciling transactions within the stated timeframe through the Travel and Expense Portal and communicating with the employee before and after termination to ensure that any/all transactions are reconciled
  • Settling an outstanding Travel Card balance if the cardholder has failed to do so and the expense was incurred on behalf of the department
  • Fully cooperating during all audits and investigations
  • Reporting known or suspected misappropriations to Audit Services
  • Managers and Senior Business Officers who do not provide adequate oversight of purchases may be subjected to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Section 6. Processing Expense Reports

6.1 Statement requirements

Cardholders must review their monthly statement charges for accuracy and legitimacy. Each transaction must be supported by a legitimate business purpose and an itemized receipt, according to the university’s procurement and expenditure policies. Note that the Travel Card bank statement is not considered a receipt.

6.2 Expense report submission

A cardholder must submit completed expense reports to his/her manager. The manager must review the expense reports and approve or reject them. Note that a cardholder may delegate the initiation of an expense report but the cardholder is ultimately responsible for ensuring his/her expense reports are submitted to his/her manager for approval. Additional approvals may be required for missing receipts and certain expenses above a dollar threshold, as detailed in the university’s procurement and expenditure policies.

6.3 Document retention

Receipt copies or originals must be maintained within the university’s financial system as electronic images. It is the cardholder’s and supervisor’s responsibility to ensure that scanned receipts are accurate and legible before disposing of them. Receipts for sponsored accounts must comply with the document retention requirements of the sponsoring agency.

Section 7. More Information

Detailed information and procedures for obtaining card are available at the Corporate Card website.

Responsible Office

Corporate Card Services
(213) 740-9784

Issued by

James M. Staten, Senior Vice President, Finance, and Chief Financial Officer
University of Southern California