The purchase card system used by the Department enables a more efficient and cost effective alternative for making low value purchases. It is primarily aimed at paying non-contracted or once-off suppliers with a value of less than €500. However, the card can also be used for amounts over €500 in conjunction with public procurement procedures.
Purchase cards increase the Department’s labour productivity by automating the transaction process for low value purchases. The traditional purchase order system that can also be used for these transactions is labour intensive and the same amount of labour is required for matching and paying a low value invoice as a high value one.
The purchase card system has no direct costs and the Exchequer receives an annual rebate from the supplier. The card system also reduces late payments and penalty interest as suppliers receive funds within two working days of the transaction. It has also enabled the Department to close its petty cash accounts.
Categories of expenditure for which the Department uses the card include online IT licences and subscriptions, professional regulatory subscriptions of staff, training courses, publications and official meeting costs.
Quarterly breakdown of costs since the purchase card system was introduced by the Department are in the reports below;
Breakdown of purchase card costs between January and March 2020