Cash Funds and Cash/Payment Card Handling
All cash/payment card transactions involving the University, its schools, or any department are subject to applicable state laws and regulations and University of Houston System (UHS) policies and procedures. All University employees have a fiduciary responsibility to the University to handle cash/payment card transactions accordingly.
The purpose of this policy, and UHV Policy B-7, Change Funds is to provide principles and guidelines for the handling of all cash and/or payment card activities at the University of Houston-Victoria and all sites under UHV’s administrative management, including cash/payment card acceptance, cash fund maintenance, the distribution of gift cards, and the deposit of cash. This policy and its companion procedures apply to all university funds unless otherwise noted.
All University departments handling cash/payment card receipts shall have detailed written procedures for handling and securing cash/payment card receipts in place. These procedures shall be approved by either the Vice President for Administration and Finance or designee before handling cash/payment card receipts and any time departmental procedures are revised.
Cash/payment card receipts are not to be accepted by any University employee for any purpose unless that employee has been authorized by the Department Head to handle cash/payment card receipts for the purpose specified in the department’s approved written procedures. All employees authorized to handle cash/payment card receipts or distribute gift cards shall sign a Cash Handler Form - Authorization to Handle Cash/Check/Payment Card Receipts Form (form is processed through DocuSign only) and complete required online training on an annual basis.
When a university employee or department receives cash, it is to be deposited promptly into the appropriate, authorized university cost center in accordance with this document. Retention of cash received from outside sources for use as petty cash or for change-making purposes is prohibited. Use of university change funds or cash receipts for cashing checks or making change other than for transactions is prohibited.
The limits and restrictions defined in this document are the maximum allowable at the department level; individual schools or departments may choose to set more restrictive internal controls or limits for their areas.
All employees are obligated to report any suspected irregularity in the handling of cash (including the receipt or suspected receipt of counterfeit currency) or payment cards in accordance with UH System Administrative Memorandum 01.C.04, Reporting/Investigating Fraudulent Acts. Reports can be made in several ways as noted on the UHV Institutional Compliance Website - Reporting Fraud, Waste and Abuse (Available on UHV Intranet).
See UHV Policy B-7, Change Funds, for policies and procedures concerning change funds.
Cash: For the purpose of this policy cash is defined as U.S. currency; personal, business, bank, and cashier’s checks; gift cards; money orders; travelers’ checks; or foreign drafts (cash does not include foreign currency).
Cash Custodian: A person having a fiduciary responsibility to receive, monitor, and safeguard cash/payment card receipts received or maintained within the area for any purpose. Cash custodians must adhere to the same standards of accountability as fund custodians.
Cash Handling Areas: Those areas or departments where cash is handled, through a change fund, and/or cash receipts.
Cash Receipts: Any cash received in checks and/or currency, for any purposes (i.e., revenues for goods, services, or events as fees, or as gifts).
Cashier-Finance Office: The university unit responsible for receiving and securing cash deposits for the University until bank deposits are made.
Change Fund: A fund established for the purpose of supporting a sales or service operation. The change fund is used to make change for direct purchases of goods or services or to support indirect services.
Currency: For the purposes of this document, the coins, and dollars of the United States. It does not include bank checks or other negotiable instruments.
Endowed vs. Non-Endowed Gifts: An endowment is established through a conditional gift with provisions that prohibit the spending of principal. Only investment income generated from the principal may be used. In a non-endowed gift, all the funds can be spent although the donor may have restrictions on how the funds may be spent.
Fund Custodian: A person having a fiduciary responsibility to monitor and safeguard a change fund.
Payment Card: A credit card or debit card accepted as payment for merchandise or services by entering the pertinent payment card information into the payment card processing equipment or portal and obtaining an approval or declination from the payment card processor.
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS): A single approach to safeguarding sensitive data for all types of credit cards. The Standard is a result of collaboration between Visa and MasterCard and is designed to create common industry security requirements.
Petty Cash Fund: A fund established with a designated amount from which payments and reimbursements for small dollar expenses may be made. Petty cash funds are prohibited at UHV.
Responsibilities of Department Heads
- Department heads are responsible for ensuring that change funds and cash/payment card receipts in their areas are managed in accordance with policy and that detailed written department procedures for handling and securing cash/payment card receipts have been reviewed, approved, and implemented to ensure adequate internal controls are in place. Department procedures are to be approved by the Vice President for Administration and Finance or designee before handling cash/payment card receipts and any time that departmental procedures are revised.
Written procedures for handling and securing cash/payment card receipts shall include
- Authorization of persons to accept cash/payment cards.
- Documentation of receipt
- Offsite collection procedures, if any
- Security of cash
- Reconciliation of cash/payment cards
- Preparation and transmittal of cash to the Cashier-Finance Office.
Units with minimal exposure to cash/payment cards may use the UHV Generic Cash Handling Procedures as their written procedures for cash handling; see General Office Procedures 5.9, Cash Funds and Cash Handling.
- Department heads have been delegated the authority by the Vice President for Administration and Finance to assign and authorize fund custodians and cash custodians. To ensure a system of checks and balances, a fund or cash custodian may not also have approval or reconciliation responsibilities for the department’s cost centers. If the separation of duties cannot be performed within a department due to insufficient staffing, an additional supervisory review should be performed to validate and approve the cash receipt and monthly reconciliation processes.
- Department heads are responsible for ensuring that fund custodians and cash custodians complete the required annual online training and complete a Cash Handler Form - Authorization to Handle Cash/Check/Payment Card Receipts Form (form is processed through DocuSign only) before handling cash and payment card receipts.
- Cash must be physically safeguarded in a cash register, safe, locked drawer, locked file cabinet or similar device with a unique lock and key until transferred to the Cashier-Finance Office for deposit. Access to these secured areas shall be restricted to authorized employees. Cash must be transferred to the Cashier-Finance Office in a secure manner.
- All University department cash operations are subject to unannounced reviews by the Finance department and by UHS Internal Auditing staff.
- Checks, money orders, or payment cards are acceptable payment methods and should be encouraged. In cases where currency is the only means of payment, the currency must be secured and appropriately deposited in accordance with this policy and procedures. Any monies received by a department must be sent to the Cashier-Finance Office as soon as possible. All checks must be payable to the University and restrictively endorsed by the department upon receipt:
For Deposit Only - University of Houston-Victoria
- Departments are encouraged to accept payments only in U.S. funds. If foreign drafts (checks) are to be accepted for payment, the Finance Department should be contacted for further instruction prior to acceptance. Foreign drafts are to be deposited as separate transactions from domestic checks and cash, using separate deposit tickets, cash receipts, and bank bags. Service and banking charges incurred for the processing of foreign drafts will be charged back to the department accepting the foreign draft.
- Department heads may authorize cash custodians to accept payment card receipts using the processing application available from the UHS contracted banking services vendor only. This can be initiated by contacting the Finance department; information is available at the UHV Credit Card Processing webpage. The UHS Treasurer’s Office is authorized to negotiate payment card processing and related services on behalf of the system and has contracted for consolidated payment card processing with one vendor. Use of any other vendors or services to accept payment card payments, including establishing a website where payment card payments can be accepted, may not be in compliance with the existing banking contract and must be approved by the Vice President for Administration and Finance and the UHS Treasurer's Office. The acceptance of payment card payments must be in compliance with PCI DSS according to the UHS Treasurer’s Office Guidelines for storing, processing and transmitting payment card data.
Department Deposits to the Cashier-Finance Office
- When cash is received in the department, the receipt must be documented by a cash custodian either using a dated, pre-numbered receipt, currency log, cash register tape, ticket, or comparable documentation. A copy of receipt documentation (including voids) must be retained by the department. A Deposit Form-Cash, Deposit Form-Checks, Deposit Form-Money Orders and/or Deposit Form-Cashier’s Checks (Available on UHV Intranet) must be prepared and submitted with each deposit. Checks must be copied, the originals remitted, and copies retained by the department for a period of three years after the close of the current fiscal year in accordance with records retention. The only department excepted from this requirement is the Finance Office.
- Cash custodians shall deliver deposits to the Cashier-Finance Office no later than 4:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and no later than 10:00 a.m. on Friday’s. Deposits should be physically handed to the Cashier and not left unattended. Deposits of currency are to be counted immediately by the Cashier in the presence of the employee delivering the deposit and verified for agreement with the deposit form. Deposits of checks are to be counted and verified by the Cashier as soon as possible; the department will be notified immediately if any discrepancies are noted.
- Departments must follow these deposit requirements:
- Any cash/checks received totaling $100.00 or more must be remitted to the Cashier-Finance Office within one working day of receipt.
- Any cash/checks received totaling less than $100.00 must be remitted within five working days after receipt.
Revenues from fees or services must be deposited into and managed in a cost center authorized for that purpose by the Budget office. Cost center requests are submitted to the Budget office via a Cost Center Action Form with a stated reason/purpose for the cost center. Fees require the prior authorization and approval of the department head, the Vice President for Administration and Finance and the Board of Regents. Requests for fees should be submitted annually through the Budget office for the approval of the Vice President of Administration and Finance and the Board of Regents. See General Office Procedures Guide 5.10, Recording Revenues and Reimbursements (Available on UHV Intranet).
Unidentified payments to the University will be deposited into a suspense cost center until the proper recipient department can be identified. The recipient department will then prepare a journal to reclassify the deposit as revenue in the proper cost center.
Endowments and Gifts
Endowment gifts to the University are placed in the UHS Endowment Fund for investment and oversight purposes. Endowments are managed through the UHS Treasurer’s Office. All endowment gifts received by departments should be delivered to the UHV Department of University Advancement by a cash custodian within one working day. University Advancement will prepare a Gift Transmittal Form (GTF) (Available from the Office of University Advancement) and send the funds directly to UHS Treasury with backup documentation. For gifts to endowments made through the UHV online store, within one day of receipt University Advancement will prepare a GTF and send to UHS Treasury with a request to wire the funds to the UHS Endowment Fund. See General Office Procedures Guide 5.8, Endowment Processing
For all non-endowed gifts and donations received by departments, a GTF will be completed by department personnel; this includes all gifts and donations regardless of form and includes cash, checks, professional services, property, or equipment. The GTF and a copy of the check and/or all related documents should be forwarded promptly to University Advancement. All non-endowed gifts and donations of cash should be delivered to the Cashier-Finance Office by a cash custodian from the department receiving the gift under the same guidelines as any other cash deposit. A copy of the GTF should also be attached to the Deposit Form submitted to the Cashier-Finance Office.
Cash shortages will be reported in the following manner:
- Individual shortages or overages of less than $10 may be charged against a department cost center using the cash over/short account.
- Individual shortages or overages of $10 or more, or cumulative annual shortages/overages of $40 or more, must be reported immediately to the Senior Director of Finance.
- Individual shortages or overages of $100 or more, or cumulative annual shortages/overages of $100 or more, must be reported immediately in writing to the Senior Director of Finance and the UHS Internal Auditing Department.
Returned checks other than payments on student accounts will be charged to the departmental cost center to which the check was deposited. The Finance Office will be responsible for notifying the department of unpaid checks in their area. Any department that accepts checks will be responsible for collecting against a returned check. If a department’s collection efforts fail, the department should contact the Finance Office for assistance in pursuing other measures to collect the funds.
A check for a payment posted to a student account that is returned unpaid by the bank will be posted to the student’s account as an NSF check by the Bursar’s Office. The Bursar’s office will attempt to collect on student account returned checks.
Found monies should be surrendered immediately to the Office of the Vice President for Administration and Finance for deposit into a suspense cost center where they will remain for 30 days. If not claimed within 30 days, found monies will be deposited into miscellaneous income.
Institutional Deposits to the Bank
The Finance Office will prepare cash deposits for transfer to the bank via courier within two working days after the total of the various departments’ cash remittances exceeds $5,000. If the total amount of cash remitted to the Cashier-Finance Office is less than or equal to $5,000 during any one calendar week, then the Finance Office will prepare cash deposits for transfer to the bank via courier no later than Friday of the same calendar week. All funds delivered to the bank must be verified and signed by two authorized employees before the deposit is physically transferred to the bank. The cash must be secured in a tamper-proof bag by both authorized employees as part of the reconciliation process. A scheduled courier service will pick up cash deposits on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Exemptions from this policy that fall within state guidelines may be allowed with the written approval of the System Chief Financial Officer or designee. Per state guidelines found in Texas Education Code Chapter 51.002 Depositories, The funds shall either be deposited in the depository bank or banks or invested as authorized Texas Government Code Chapter 2256, Public Funds Investment Act. Funds that are to be deposited in the depository bank or banks must be deposited within seven days from the date of receipt by the institution.
Written approval at the end of this policy approves the following policy exemption: On occasion and during peak student payment deadlines, deposits could exceed the $5,000 threshold and will be prepared for courier pickup within three working days.
For single currency transactions greater than $10,000 (or multiple transactions within the same business day from the same person totaling more than $10,000), refer to UH System Administrative Memorandum 03.F.04, Cash Handling.
The distribution of gift cards should be documented in a manner that allows the tracking and reconciliation of all gift cards received and distributed, including confirmation of the balance of remaining gift cards. See General Office Procedure 5.17, Gift Cards (Available on UHV Intranet).
- UH System Administrative Memorandum 03.A.06, Establishment, Maintenance, and Discontinuance of Credit Card Services
- UHV Policy A-10, Donation Reports
Robert K. Glenn, Ph.D.
Next Review Date: May 2028 (5 years)
Origination: Finance Department