Purchase credit card

Who is subject to the directive?

All EPFL employees are subject to the Directive concerning the use of credit cards at EPFL (LEX 5.6.4).


General principles

  • Purchase Credit Cards are made available to all EPFL Units and are to be used to cover the travel expenses and related expenses of non-holders of individual credit cards (CCC).
  • This method of payment is intended exclusively for purchases worth less than CHF 5,000.-per transaction and may not replace the EPFL recommended purchasing channels.
  • Find the purchase credit card order form in the “useful documents” section.


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Roles and responsibilities

• Appoint a person responsible for the purchase credit card and a substitute.

• Define instructions and responsibilities ensuring the respect of the Directive’s regulations. In principle, the Unit administrator occupies the role of purchase credit card administrator.

You must possess the required signatory rights in accordance with the EPFL Financial Regulations to handle the following tasks and responsibilities:
1 – To perform all authorized purchases.

2 – To ensure that the purchase credit card is stored securely and is accessible to authorized persons only (administrator and substitute).

3 – To settle disputed transactions directly. In the event of an amount or transaction being disputed, to send the credit card issuer a duplicate of the monthly statement by post within the set deadline, indicating the dispute, and to inform the Accounting Department of the ongoing procedure when submitting the monthly statement.

4 – To check and approve all transactions under SDG2 with due diligence and within the set deadline.

5 – To comprehensively document purchase transactions. Should a supporting document be missing, to clearly mention this;

6 – To coordinate with his/her substitute to ensure easy and smooth replacements.

7 – The credit card administrator is responsible for any violation of the present directive.

• To make any purchases, you must have the necessary signatory rights in your Unit.

• If you do not have such rights, you can still perform the following tasks:
a. To ensure that the purchase credit card is kept in a secure place and accessible only to authorized persons.
b. In the event of a dispute over an amount or a transaction, send by mail the duplicate of the monthly statement with mention of the dispute to the credit card issuer within the prescribed time limits. When sending the monthly statement, do not forget to inform the Accounting Department of the current procedure.
c. To monitor and approve all transactions in SDG2 with due diligence and on time.
d. Document purchasing transactions in a comprehensive manner. If a supporting document is missing, clearly indicate it.


Monthly verification of purchase credit card statements

• For each purchase credit card, each month, the administrator compares the transactions recorded in SDG2 with those on the monthly credit card statement. Eventual discrepancies are recorded.
• For each purchase credit card, the administrator sends the Accounting Department at the end of each month:
a. A copy of the monthly statement by the credit card issuer;
b. Receipts for all purchases in the previous month;
c. The “cost allocation detail report” available on SDG2, dated and signed according to the rules set out, and with any contested transactions highlighted (notably for reasons of fraud).


Validation of the monthly statement for purchase credit cards

The monthly statement for purchase credit cards must be signed by:

  • The Head of Unit or appointed person with signatory rights of CHF 50,000.-
  • The Unit administrator.

By their signature approving transactions, the signatories of the monthly statement confirm that operations fully comply with the present directive as well as the Directive concerning professional travel and the reimbursement of expenses (LEX 5.6.1).


Change of administrator for purchase credit cards

  • When there is a change of administrator or their substitute, the Head of Unit sends the number of the purchase credit card and the names of the modified administrators to the Accounting Department, using this form.
  • The Accounting Department manages the signatory rights accordingly and changes the password providing access to SDG2.


What are the spending limits?

  • The monthly limit for purchases per purchase credit card is CHF 10,000.-
  • If this limit is insufficient, a request for a temporary increase may be submitted to the Accounting Department.


Transactions authorized or prohibited

  • Credit cards may be used only for those transactions listed in Annex 1.
  • Credit cards may not be used for the purchase of equipment to be inventoried.


Safety rules and regulations

• The document showing the purchase credit card number must be kept securely under lock and key.

• The number, the expiry date and the CVV number of all credit cards shall not be divulged to third parties and may not under any circumstances be reproduces on another medium.

• Credit card data may only be transmitted on a secure site.

• With the exception of communicating with the EPFL Travel Agency, no credit card data may be transmitted by telephone, e-mail or any other form of electronic message, or on paper.

• No order must be placed using credit card from computers or computing centres accessible to the public.

• If no other solution is possible, the browser cache must be deleted after logging out.

Measures ranging from a warning to withdrawal of the credit card may be taken in case of non-compliant operations. These notably include:

Individual purchase exceeding the limits (CHF 5,000 per transaction).
• Failure to notify the Accounting Department of a change of administrator.

• Administrator fails to send the monthly statement to the Accounting Department (or the statement is incomplete or sent late).

• Misuse of credit card by unauthorized persons.

• Failure to comply with the operational rules / unauthorized purchases.

1 – It is responsible for ordering all new purchase credit cards and for destroying expired purchase credit cards.
2 – It publishes the validation deadlines of the accounting periods for purchase credit cards.
3 – It verifies the conformity of transactions via spot checks and documents all controls carried out.
4 – It manages:
a. The list of administrators and substitutes, and maintains this list up to date.
b. Access rights to SDG2.

The Unit assumes full financial damages resulting from the non-delivery of purchased goods or services, fraud or improper use of the credit card.



Useful document

2022 Monthly closures and expiry dates for acquisition credit cards


Useful Links:

LEX 5.4.1 – Directive on the use of credit cards at EPFL

LEX 5.6.1 – Directive on professional travel and the reimbursement of expenses

Viseca Card Protest form

Form to change the administrator of a purchase credit card

Contact information

For expense reports: contact finance support: [email protected]