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Making Purchases

The University of Pennsylvania has established purchasing policies and protocols to help University faculty and staff purchase effectively and compliantly.  Systems and processes have been put in place to help facilitate smart purchasing practices. Utilizing these tools while following University policies and best practices helps ensure the University is properly:

  • Mitigating risk
  • Purchasing compliantly
  • Containing cost
  • Maximizing overall value to the University

Approved Purchasing Methods

Penn's Approved Purchasing Methods

Goods & Services Procurement

For the procurement of goods and services at Penn, there are two approved methods of purchase:

1. Purchase Order – The first, and most preferred, method of purchasing at the University is to establish a Purchase Order (PO).

2. Purchasing Card (P-Card) – Where permitted, smaller purchases (generally less than $1,000), which may not be feasible for PO issuance, may be ordered using a University issued Purchasing Card (P-Card).

3. Other Cards - Additional, function-specific purchasing cards are available for event and meeting planners, managers of fleet vehicles, bookstore card for individuals and departments, and students authorized to make purchases on behalf of Penn.

For more information on Penn's procurement cards CLICK HERE.

4. Non-PO Payment Request - For payments that are not able to be transacted by PO or approved procurement card, a Non-PO Payment Request serves as a payment request for direct payment.


Travel & Entertainment

Penn has implemented preferred tools and methods for the booking and payment of travel and entertainment:

1. Concur/World Travel Business Travel Account (BTA) – Travelers may book air, lodging and rental cars through the Concur online booking application, or by phone through Penn’s preferred travel management company, World Travel.  In doing so, travelers have the option to charge business-related airfare through the centrally billed (BTA). Hotel and rental car reservations require the Penn Travel Card or a personal credit card to hold the reservations.

2. Penn Travel Card – For hotel, rental car and all other reimbursable travel and entertainment expenses, Penn offers the Penn Travel Card, a Visa card issued by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.  The Penn Travel Card integrates with Concur, linking travel charges directly into the Concur expense system for ease in the travel expense management process.

More information about University Travel & Expense Management can be found at