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Credit Card Policies

This page provides examples of credit card policies adopted by local governments in Washington State.


Prior to 1995, there was no express authorization for local government, including counties, cities, towns, special purpose districts, municipal and quasi-municipal corporations, to use credit cards as a customary business practice. Use of city credit cards for travel purposes was fairly common, but use of such cards for ordinary purchases was not.

The 1995 legislature passed and the governor signed legislation making the following finding:

Findings---1995 c 30: "The legislature finds that (1) the use of credit cards is a customary and economical business practice to improve cash management, reduce costs, and increase efficiency; and (2) local governments should consider and use credit cards when appropriate." [1995 c 30 §1.]

Legal References

  • RCW 43.09.2855 - Local governments - Use of credit cards
  • Informal Opinion Letter from Assistant Attorney General Callie A. Castillo to the Honorable Pam Roach, June 2, 2011 - A local government official may not use a publicly issued credit card for personal purchases even if that person reimburses the local government before the bill comes.
  • Purchase Cards, Section 3.8.4, Budgeting, Accounting and Reporting System (BARS) Manual, Washington State Auditor's Office. For GAAP and Cash Basis

Sample Policies

Code Provisions

  • North Bend Ch. 2.86, Credit Card Policy
  • Prosser Ch. 2.95, Credit Card Policy
  • Sammamish Ch. 3.05, City Credit Card Use
  • San Juan County Sec. 2.10.180, Credit Card Policy
  • Snohomish County Ch. 4.03, County Credit Cards
  • Spokane Ch. 7.13, Credit Card, Alternative Payment Methods
  • Spokane Valley Ch. 2.65, Credit Card Use
  • Woodinville Ch. 2.48, Credit Card Regulations for City Officials and Employees

Policy and Procedure Documents

Last Modified: September 22, 2016