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Express Card Overview

Learn about UCSD's Express Card program.

UCSD's Express Card is a Visa procurement card for faculty and staff who have buying responsibilities. The card simplifies buying and paying for most routine, low-cost goods and services. Click the links below to learn more about the Express Card:

Express Card benefits

  • Accepted by all vendors that take Visa
  • Ensures payment to vendors within 48 hours
  • Eliminates purchase order and invoice processing
  • Combines ordering and paying into a single process
  • Includes a payment-tracking method though ECManager

Special features

  • Limits transaction amounts to $4,999 (including tax, freight, and handling charges)
  • Limits monthly cycle limit to $10,000 (the monthly cycle is the 16th of the month through the 15th of the following month)
  • Includes built-in controls that prohibit restricted purchases
  • Provides access to easy-to-use online queries and transaction summaries

Training and authorization

Authorization and training requirements differ, depending on whether you're a cardholder or Express Card Department Administrator (ECDA). See the table below for more information:

Role Authorization Training

See How to Become a Cardholder for complete instructions.
Express Card Agreement (required) Cardholder training (required)

Format: Web tutorial


See How to become an Express Card Administrator for complete instructions.
Department business officers designate Express Card Department Administrators.

Authorization form (required)

Express Card Administrator training (required)



The Express Card program is designed to simplify buying and paying for goods and services, but some types of purchases are restricted. Goods or services that exceed the $4,999 transaction limit, for example, must be paid with a high value purchase requisition. Other items are restricted regardless of cost. Please note that all suppliers performing services on the UC San Diego campus and/or Medical Center must comply with UC's Fair Wage/Fair Work requirements

For a complete list of restrictions and alternative payment methods, see Express Card: Restricted Purchases.

For foreign purchase restrictions, see Purchasing Goods from Foreign Vendors.

Cardholder and administrator responsibilities

The Express Card is a Visa purchasing card issued by U.S. Bank to UCSD employees who have authority to buy goods and services on behalf of their departments.

Each Express Card bears the cardholder's name but is actually issued to UCSD. Therefore, UCSD is responsible for making prompt payment to U.S. Bank. However, cardholders are responsible for ensuring proper use of the card.

Employees who have been designated as Express Card Department Administrators (ECDAs) help ensure the proper use of Express Cards by overseeing department implementation and use of the card.

For detailed information on cardholder or administrator responsibilities, see:

Index and account code assignments

Each Express Card is assigned a default index and account. However, ECDAs and Transaction Reviewers can distribute or split transaction amounts between other indexes and accounts using the redistribution feature in ECManager. Therefore, ECDAs can either:

  • Issue one card per cardholder and redistribute transactions when necessary
  • Issue multiple cards with different indexes to cardholders who buy items for different indexes

Operating ledger postings

Express Card transactions are posted to the operating ledger 10 days after they are received from the bank. You can view a list of transaction by accessing the operating ledger in FinancialLink.

You can also view the Express Card Process for an illustration of the transaction and posting process.


UCSD is responsible for all charges against valid cards. However, cardholders are obligated to use the Express Card responsibly in accordance with the cardholder agreement and Express Card Cardholder responsibilities.


You should file a dispute when you:

  • Are billed for merchandise that you never received
  • Have duplicate or incorrect charges that the vendor will not credit
  • Are not credited for a return

In case of a dispute, the merchant should be contacted directly by either the cardholder or department bookkeeper.

If you are unable to resolve a dispute by contacting the merchant, file a formal dispute with U.S. Bank within 60 days of the disputed item's transaction date.

The bank will take these actions on your behalf:

  • Work with the vendor to determine if the charge is valid
  • Contact you if further information is required
  • Credit your account while researching the dispute

Note: If the dispute is valid, your account will be adjusted accordingly.

Note: This page has a friendly link that's easy to remember: http://blink.ucsd.edu/go/expresscard