COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Response

We have taken proactive steps to ensure continued service during this unprecedented time. We understand that unexpected and urgent needs may arise.

Below, you will find guidance on how to request spending limit increases for commercial card purchases related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. You will also find details on how to upload receipts while working remotely, submit exception requests, apply for a card and schedule training. Our team is available to assist if you have questions or concerns. Please send messages to cardservices@niu.edu.

We appreciate your partnership and patience. Please continue to review our website, as well as the Protecting the Pack website for updates.

How can I upload receipts if I do not have access to a scanner?

Many vendors offer to send receipts electronically. We encourage cardholders to see if this is an option.

You may also use PaymentNet Mobile to upload the receipt from your smartphone. Instructions for using PaymentNet Mobile are located in the help section of PaymentNet. You can also review the "PaymentNet Mobile Quick Start Guide."

How do I request an exception when I am unable to print and/or scan a completed, signed Exception Request form?

Card Services accepts forms completed with electronic signatures. Please refer the university's Electronic Signature policy.

Can I get an increase in my Commercial Card spend limit for emergency purchases related to COVID-19?

Yes. Card Services will accept requests for limit increases. To request an increase, please send a completed Exception Request form to cardservices@niu.edu. Be sure to include "COVID-19" in the business purpose field in PaymentNet for items related to the pandemic.

Can I purchase a prohibited or restricted item needed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

In some cases, Card Services will accept requests to purchase prohibited items on the Commercial Card. To make the request, please send a completed Exception Request form to cardservices@niu.edu.

May I ship items to my home address while I am working remotely?

As of Monday, August 17, 2020, items purchased with a university commercial card must be delivered to Central Receiving or one of the university's satellite locations. Shipments directly to an employee's home will no longer be permitted. To request an exception, please complete the Exception Request form and submit it to Card Services.

What constitutes a COVID-19 emergency purchase?

A statutory emergency may be justified if the situation involves:

  • A threat to public health or public safety; inclusive of COVID-19
  • The need for immediate purchases necessary for repairs to university property to protect it against further loss or damage
  • The need to prevent or minimize serious disruption in critical university services that affect health, safety, or collection of substantial State revenues
  • The need to ensure the integrity of university records

If you believe you have a need that meets the criteria of an emergency purchase, and you need further guidance, you may contact the university's Office of Procurement Services and Contract Management at pscm@niu.edu for assistance.

Can I use my Commercial Card to purchase sanitary wipes and/or hand sanitizers?

Yes. These items may be purchased for use on-campus and at NIU satellite locations. The commercial card should be used for business purchases only and not for personal use in accordance with the commercial card policy.

Is Card Services processing applications for new cardholders during this time?

Yes. The link to the application and the user guide are available on the Treasury Operations website under "card services".

Is Card Services conducting training sessions for new cardholders during this time?

Yes. New cardholders, their transaction approvers, and proxies are required to participate in a Commercial Card Program Introductory Training. These training sessions will be conducted via Teams. The scheduled sessions are listed below:

  • Tuesday, August 18, 2020, 1:30-3 p.m.
  • Tuesday, September 22, 2020, 9-10:30 a.m.

If you have applied for a commercial card or are interested in doing so, please email cardservices@niu.edu with the training date and time you would prefer to attend. Then, Card Services will send you a Teams appointment.

Please refer to the Treasury Operations website under Card Services for additional training dates.

If I am not able to upload receipts, review and allocate transactions, and/or get my transactions approved in the PaymentNet system prior to the monthly sweep, will my card be suspended?

Maybe, we ask that you make every attempt to review and process transactions in a timely manner. In general, cards are suspended when transactions remain in the default account (800500) for six weeks or more.

Cardholders and transaction approvers who repeatedly fail to complete this task in a timely manner may have their cards suspended immediately and be asked to attend an introductory training session again.

Can I book university related travel on my commercial card during this time?

The university has prohibited all non-essential, university-sponsored domestic and international travel for faculty, staff and students until Aug. 1. The FAQ related to travel impacted by COVID-19 provides further guidance about university-related travel.