Procurement

Purchasing Methods

Different Methods of Purchasing

There are several ways that you can make a purchase:

» Purchasing card
» Request for Payment
» Purchase orders

When to Use the Different Methods of Purchasing

The following table shows when to use the different methods for acquiring goods and services. These are the upper limits approved by the Institution that a department or administrative unit can not exceed. A department may set actual transaction limits or administrative unit may be lower than the limit stated here. Consult your department to find out your specific limits. Explanations of each category follows the table.

Dollar Value Purchasing Card Request For Payment Purchase Order
Less than $100 recommended not recommended not recommended
$101 to $4,999 recommended recommended not recommended
$5,000 and Over not available not available required

Less than $100.00


  • Submit the original sales slip, with a Request For Payment, to Accounts Payable.  You will be reimbursed via paycheck.
  • Many individuals have been assigned purchasing cards. Payments made for items purchased on the card are made electronically. Procedures for acquiring and using this card are provided in the Procurement Guide.
Although a Purchase Order may create an inconvenience and additional work, if the supplier requires one, you may use a Purchase Order.

Note: You may find yourself using a particular supplier many times during the course of the year for small dollar purchases. In this case, a "Blanket Purchase Order" may be the best means of conducting business. If you are in this situation, contact the Procurement Department to discuss your options.

$101 to $500

Many suppliers allow you to charge your purchase to an individual or master account. In these situations, the suppliers will provide you with an invoice. A Purchase Order is not required. You may use a Request For Payment or Purchasing Card as above.

$501 to $4,999

A Purchase Order or Purchasing Card is needed for purchases greater than $500.00 but less than $5,000 that are not categorically exempt (see above).

$5,000 and Over

A Purchase Order is required for purchases that are not categorically exempt (see above).

Last updated: June 24, 2015