Electronic purchasing cards (ePC): guide for public bodies

A guide to buying goods and services using an electronic Purchasing Card (ePC).

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

If not, you may be able to use an electronic Purchasing Card (ePC) for low-value goods and services. An ePC has:

  • a single item transaction limit of up to £5,000 (excluding VAT)
  • a monthly limit of up to £10,000 (excluding VAT)

You must ensure that any goods or services being bought offer value for money. Before reaching a decision to buy, cardholders must provide:

  • for purchases up to £1,000 – it is good practice for cardholders to obtain one quote for purchases made by telephone or in writing from the relevant supplier
  • for purchases £1,000 and above – it is mandatory that cardholders obtain a minimum of three quotes from different suppliers

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 using the forms below.

You don't need delegated purchasing authority to apply.

Lost, stolen or damaged cards

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


0370 6000 459 0370 154 1192 – minicom users

Calling from abroad

+44 1268 500 813 +44 370 154 1192 – minicom users

Help and support

If you need advice or help, email EPC_mailbox@gov.scot

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.

Apply for a new card

ePC card - application form
ePC - application form - guidance notes
ePC - application - financial information

Card cancellation

ePC - cancellation arrangements


Email: EPC_mailbox@gov.scot

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