Consequences and P-Card Training

P-Card training can communicate clear consequences for misuse to cardholders.

Procurement professionals know how important it is to train and educate employees on P-Card use first, before ever handing out P-Cards. But for some of those future P-Card users, one of the biggest lessons they’ll learn from your training won’t be how to use the card, but instead when and why they shouldn’t.

That lesson is one of consequences. There are consequences to all of our actions, of course — some are small and some are big. Commit P-Card fraud, and those consequences can be severe. Minor infractions and “bending of the rules” can result in reprimanding and remedial training. Some organizations employ a “three strike” system for minor infractions, with increasing penalties, including suspension of P-Card privileges. For more serious offenses, of course, loss of employment and felony charges are on the table.

Consequences should be taken seriously

Unfortunately, you don’t have to look very hard to find examples of misuse, fraud, and embezzlement that were committed through P-Cards. A few that we’ve seen:

  • 76 hams (yes… hams… as in holiday dinner) fraudulently purchased
  • Luxury items (designer handbags, perfume, etc.)
  • Tattoos
  • Alcohol
  • Cigarettes
  • Disney World vacations
  • And much more…

Of course, some violations are done with a little bit more guile. Not enough, as they are caught in the end, but a few hundred dollars here, a few hundred dollars there… and over a series of years you have an employee defrauding his or her employer out of tens of thousands of dollars… or more.

Most commonly, however, violations are done on accident or out of ignorance. That’s why it’s so important to communicate how this kind of activity can escalate to having serious consequences.

Effectively educating employees

Consider in your own training program outlining the following for your future P-Card users:

  • What actions your company takes with employees that misuse P-Cards (including probation, retribution, demotion, firing, and prosecution)
  • The laws regarding P-Card fraud and theft in your state
  • The penalties that have been issued when such laws have been broken
  • Presentation of real court cases as hard examples of what has already happened to those who commit theft via a P-Card

Being able to address consequences in a P-Card training program is going to take more than a cookie-cutter approach. You’ll need to be able to customize your training to include such subject matter. Thanks to the Card Integrity customizable system of cardholder training, you can do just that: Make your training exactly what you need it to be, in order to be truly successful in preventing P-Card fraud and theft. Card Integrity designs course materials with your individual card program and specifications in mind.

Discover 24 Commercial Card Training Best Practices

One common hurdle to strengthening a P-Card training program is that it often involves significant bandwidth investment with time, staff, IT integration, and more. Card Integrity has compiled a list of best practices to consider when implementing cardholder training. You can download the eGuide for free to learn more. Included in the guide are:

  • Additional tips to increase engagement
  • Insights into tracking training outcomes
  • Gamification and quiz examples
  • And much more!

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The front cover of Card Integrity's "Cardholder Training Best Practices" eguide.

Blog post originally published on April 27, 2016. Updated November 14, 2023.

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