Business Credit Card Policy

Policy Owner
Finance Office
Document Type
Document Approval Date

The vast majority of purchasing requirements for the University and its subsidiary companies are organised from approved suppliers on credit terms through the purchase ordering system.

In certain very limited cases, for example with certain technology platforms, suppliers have terms and conditions that require significant ongoing payments online at point of purchase, the requirement for a business credit card may arise.

The Business Credit Card Policy (hereinafter: “The policy”) relates to the University and its subsidiary companies.

The policy covers two types of business credit cards:

  • Classic Visa Business Card
  • Visa Purchasing Card

The Classic Visa card is more commonly used by certain roles within the organisation, where there is a demonstrable requirement for a credit card and the requirements for the issuing of a credit card are met.

The Visa Purchasing Card is mostly commonly used in University Departments and Schools. This type of card is suited to organisational areas with low value, high volumes transactions, that cannot be processed through the purchase order system. There is no annual fee and an employee transaction limit may be set.

In this document the term ‘DCU’ should be taken to include any of the following organisational areas:

  • School
  • Department
  • Research Centre
  • Research Project
  • Institute
  • Subsidiary company

DCU issues business credit cards in the name of an authorised employee (“cardholder”) to facilitate the settlement of relevant expenditure incurred during the discharge of their function within DCU. This policy sets out the principles, terms and conditions and procedures governing the issue, use, administration and retention of DCU business credit cards.

The objective of the policy is to ensure that the terms under which approved business credit cards are issued, operated and withdrawn are clear and to ensure appropriate control procedures are in place and compliance obtained with procurement and financial policies and procedures.

DCU business credit cards are issued in line with this policy. The applicant must have:

  • Clearly identified in writing to the Controller Group Financial Operations why the expenditure requirement cannot be met through existing financial systems and procurement processes, providing appropriate supporting evidence where applicable.
  • Completed a credit card application form available from the Finance Office Website making the declarations required and obtaining the necessary approvals as set out on the application form.
  • ​​​​​​​Signed the declaration of acceptance of the terms and conditions of this policy as set out in Appendix 1 and returned it to the Controller Group Financial Operations.

DCU business credit cards will not be issued and must not be used, except in accordance with this policy. The use of a DCU business credit card is governed by the following terms and conditions:

  • The cardholder is responsible at all times for the proper use of the business credit card in line with this policy, other DCU policies and any financial requirements of DCU, such as the requirements of research contracts.  
  • A cardholder is responsible for the safe custody of the card and the security of the card information. Reasonable precautions should be taken to prevent fraudulent use of the card.
  • The card must only be used for bona fide DCU business purposes.
  • The card must not be used for personal expenditure.
  • The card must not be used to withdraw cash.
  • Any expenditure must be in compliance with the DCU’s procurement policies and procedures and in compliance with other DCU policies for example the Travel Subsistence regulations and the Gifts and Entertainment policy and Sponsorship Regulations.
  • Expenditure must be within budgetary limitations and in accordance with any prior approval requirements.
  • The approved card limit must not be exceeded.
  • The cardholder must submit the vouched expenditure claim accurately on the Core Expenses system together with the related till receipts (visa slips are not acceptable) and any other required information. The credit card claim must be submitted and approved on Core Expenses by the 28th of the month following the month the expenditure took place.
  • The card must only be used by the individual to whom the card has been issued. Where a card is provided to a department as a purchasing card, the card may be used by other members of staff authorised by the cardholder to use the card. All users of the card must comply with this policy and it is the cardholder’s responsibility to ensure that the card is used only in compliance with this policy.
  • The card must be returned to DCU during periods of extended leave of the cardholder.
  • The vouched expenditure claim submitted on Core Expenses shall be in line with any Finance Circulars or communications issued by or on behalf of the Finance Office.
  • Any business expenditure incurred on the card related to an externally funded research or self-funded project, must be in line with the terms and conditions of the funding award.

DCU reserves the right to withdraw, suspend or cancel a business credit card at any time without notice. In addition, credit cards may be withdrawn, suspended or cancelled if:

  • The reasons for the credit card being issued in the first instance are no longer valid.
  • There has been a breach of the terms and conditions of use.
  • The level of expenditure is too low to justify the continued use of the card.
  • The expenditure requirements can be satisfactorily met through other DCU systems processes or procedures.
  • The holder fails to make timely, accurate and complete returns of expenditure as required under this policy.

In advance of retirement or resignation or immediately following suspension from DCU, the cardholder must submit all remaining credit card claims on the Core Expenses system.

On resignation, suspension or retirement of the cardholder from DCU, expenditure on the credit card must cease and the credit card returned to the Finance Office. The School/Department must notify the Controller Group Financial Operations in a timely manner, preferably one month in advance, with the effective date of cessation of the card and the reason for cessation. The Controller Group Financial Operations will liaise directly with the credit card provider to cancel the existing card and reissue a new card if required. The DCU credit card provider does not allow a name change to a current credit card but rather requires that the current credit card be cancelled and a new credit card issued in the new cardholder name.

The credit card spending limit should reflect the expected normal expenditure pattern.

Should a cardholder require an increase to their business credit card limit, this must be requested in writing to the Controller Group Financial Operations, clearly outlining the business requirement for the limit increase and why the expected expenditure cannot be met under normal procurement and purchasing processes, such as the purchase order system or expense advance facility. The cardholder should also outline the expected period of the limit increase and give an analysis of projected spend in this period.

The limit increase request is reviewed and approved/rejected subsequently by the Controller Group Financial Operations and the Director of Finance. All limit increases granted are reviewed by the Finance Office at intervening periods to ensure the requirement remains valid.

Cardholders who misplace or lose their card must inform AIB immediately by calling one of the phone number on the back of their card. In that regard the cardholder should save those telephone numbers to their contacts list on their mobile phone.  The card holder must also notify Controller Group Financial Operations as soon as possible.

The utilisation of business credit cards by users will be kept under review to ensure that users remain in compliance with the terms and conditions of usage.

Cardholders who breach this policy or submit false or exaggerated credit card claims may be subject to disciplinary proceedings which may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

Under the Criminal Justice (Theft & Fraud Offences) Act, 2001, DCU is required to inform An Garda Síochána of any cases of fraud, irrespective of value, which come to their attention.

​​​​​​​Details of payments made using a business credit card may be released in response to requests received under Freedom of Information legislation or arising from an official request from Government or Funding Agencies.


Detailed user guides for both the claimant and the approver in relation to the Core Expense System are available on the Finance Office Website.

On the introduction of this updated policy, existing Business Credit card holders must sign the declaration of acceptance of the terms and conditions of this policy as set out in Appendix 1, in order to retain their card.

Document Name

DCU Business Credit Card Policy

Version Reference


Document Owner

Finance Office

Approved by

Director of Finance


6th April 2022