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Content notice

This content is no longer being updated. For up-to-date information on using electronic Purchasing Cards go to: https://beta.gov.scot/publications/electronic-purchasing-cards-guide-for-public-bodies

electronic Purchasing Cards

If you need to buy goods or services, you must check whether you can buy using existing contracts or frameworks.

If the goods or services you need is not on an existing contract, you may be able to use an electronic Purchasing Card (ePC). An ePC is used to pay for low-value goods and services and has:

  • a single item transaction limit of up to £5,000 (excluding VAT)

  • a monthly limit of up to £25,000 (excluding VAT)

Where a contract does not exist or cannot be used, business areas must ensure that any goods or services being bought offer value for money.

Before reaching a decision to buy, cardholders must provide:

  • one quote for purchases under £1,000, made by telephone and confirmed in writing by the supplier

  • a minimum of three written quotes from different suppliers for purchases of £1,000 and above

Any decision to buy should be based on quality and price.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

Some VAT is recoverable, so it is important to keep a clear record of any VAT which has been paid on purchases made with the ePC. If you don’t identify recoverable VAT, you may incur additional expenditure against your budget.

Full VAT arrangements, including the zero-rated and exempt supplies, can be found in the Scottish Public Finance Manual.

Applying or cancelling a card

You can apply for a new card or cancel an existing one by accessing the relevant link in the right-hand column above.

You don't need delegated purchasing authority to apply.

Using the card

Our user guide explains how you can get set up and start using your ePC.

You should also read the ePC policy, which explains:

  • card usage

  • responsibilities of cardholders, card approvers and card controllers

  • timelines for transaction activity.

Lost, stolen or damaged cards

Phone the Royal Bank of Scotland immediately. Phone lines are open 24 hours a day.


Calling from abroad

0370 6000 459

+44 1268 500 813

0370 154 1192 – minicom users

+44 370 154 1192 – minicom users

Help and support

If you need advice or help, email ePC administration.

Service response times

Telephone calls and mailbox enquiries:      

Within 12 working hours

Completed ePC user form:

Within two working days

Incomplete ePC user form:

Within 12 working hours

ePC charges:

By the fifth working day of the following month.
Payments made through cards will be recharged to SEAS by journal entry.