Opening a Biochem Stores Account

Accepted methods of payment at Biochem Stores include: University of Iowa Funding,VA Medical Center Funding, University student/staff ID or other methods such as a personal check, a money order, or a credit card (Visa or Mastercard).

University of Iowa Funding - If you have funding through the University, you will be issued a Master File Key account number by Accounting Services. This number will consist of 42 digits and will be similar to the example below:


We do not require this MFK on any type of University requisition, but we do require that you to supply all of the MFK account fields before we can set up your new Biochem Stores account. When we have verified that the MFK is valid, we will issue you a Biochem Stores Express Service Card, or more than one if you so request, for each different MFK account you open at Biochem Stores. Your Express Card will have our address and phone number on one side and a bar coded label of your Biochem Stores account number on the other side.

Bring your card, why! - Your Biochem Stores Express Service Card is required to purchase from Biochem Stores. If you do not bring your Express Card, we may know your account number, or be able to find out what your number is however, there is no "easy" way to do this and while we do this for you, you will be causing other customers to be delayed unnecessarily. Have consideration for those who brought their Express Card and may be in the middle of a timed experiment. For lost cards, see Lost Card Procedures.

VA Medical Center Funding- If you have VA funds that you would like to use for purchasing supplies through Biochem Stores, you will need to be referred to us by the VAMC Research Office. You, and we, are subject to governmental policies regarding the use of your funds for purchasing outside normal governmental purchasing channels. Please note that this procedure can be involved and problematic, but this is because of governmental regulations and is not the fault of Biochem Stores. If you are authorized by the VAMC to purchase through Biochem Stores, the VAMC will either issue you a VAMC Visa card or make other arraignments with us for payment of your charges. 

University Faculty, Staff or Student- You will be allowed to purchase admissible items, as determined by Biochem Stores management, with your personal check, a money order, Staff/Student ID, or credit card (Visa or Mastercard).

We do not accept cash as a method of payment.

Making a Bad MFK Work

What is a "Bad" MFK? A MFK can be a valid and active account and still not work at Biochem Stores. There are many reasons for how this can happen and most of them pertain to various other University and Departmental accounting requirements and procedures. Unfortunately, these we have no control over and corrections must be made with the appropriate office. For our purposes, a MFK is "bad" if our system does not allow us to make a charge against it. If we can not charge against it, it can not be used to make a purchase at Biochem Stores.

What to do if a MFK should work at Biochem Stores but doesn't? Contact your department accounts person and they should be able to give you a different MFK that will work or make any needed changes to the MFK on their end.

Procedures for Making a Purchase

Making Your Purchase - Walk in and inform our front counter staff of the items needed and we will pick the items you have requested while you wait. It is not required, but very helpful if you can provide as much relevant information as possible about the items needed. Such information should include: the Biochem Stores catalog number, the company of manufacture, a description of the products, dimensions, pack or bottle sizes, or the required purity or grading specification of chemicals, etc.

Our white 3" x 1" Biochem Stores barcode labels will be on most items you purchase. This label will contain a barcode of the items catalog number and description as well as the full Biochem Stores catalog number.

Verify Your Order - We request that, while you wait for your order, you verify that the products, and quantities, picked and charged out are correct. While we endeavor to accurately pick and charge out your requested items, we can make mistakes. Some item descriptions given can be vague or inaccurate, and thus, are subject to our interpretation of what you want or need. Similarly, we stock thousands of items in our inventory and many classes of items can be very similar in description. (i.e.-pipets, eppendorf tubes, pipet tips, etc.) With both parties verifying the accuracy of the purchasing process, we can minimize the possibility of errors.

The Invoice - At the time of your purchase, you will be issued an itemized invoice of the items purchased. Your signature will be required at the time of purchase, so we can verify, upon request by your department, whom has made the purchase for that particular invoice. A copy of the invoice can be obtained from us at the time of purchase if you so require. Additionally, we are able to make available an electronic version of the invoice via email. Please contact if interested.

Packing & Transporting a Purchase

Packing your Order:

The items you purchase will need to be packed for transport to your lab. The distance and difficulty of the trip should be a consideration on the container used and the method utilized for packing your order. We may have a supply of bags, empty boxes, and packing materials on hand for your use in safely packing your purchase. To lessen the risk of breakage, Biochem Stores will assist you in packing your order however, we are not responsible for any breakage that may occur during packing or transport.

Transporting your Order:

Biochem Stores does not deliver.

In most instances you should be able to carry your purchased supplies to your lab, but should you purchase a large enough quantity of items that they can't be easily carried, a cart may be required. We have carts available if you do not have one available for your use. However, as these carts are also used to process our incoming freight, if used, they must be returned immediately after use and will be subject to availability. Please ask stores staff about the availability of our carts.

Transporting Chemicals: Extra caution needs to be observed when transporting chemicals. All bottles of chemicals should have secondary containment or barring that, packed in a box and placed on the lowest level of your cart. Be especially cautious while entering and exiting ramps and elevators. Small lab carts tip very easily. Similarly, they can tip when their small tires become wedged sideways in the slot between the elevator shaft and the building floor.

Chemical Transport Recommendations: If you are transporting your purchase out of the building, we recommend that you bring adequate containers for transport of hazardous chemicals, and a cart as necessary, to safely transport your items to your lab.

We highly recommend the use of safety bottle carriers for large, 2.5 liter or 4 liter, bottles of acids, flammables, and other hazardous solvents.

Billing Procedures

Before you can make a purchase and be billed, you will need to have a method of payment and/or open an account.

When Your Account is Billed - Invoices for items purchased during the course of a day will be summed and applied to your account on a nightly basis.

Tracking Your Purchases - You may ask to receive a copy of your invoice at the time of purchase, or you can check for charges on your MFK’s SA3 report. Each day you made charges at the Biochemistry Stores will show up with a description of “BCH INVENTORY TRANSACTIONS”

Charges Applied to Multiple Accounts - Our billing system does not allow us to "split" the billing of an item among multiple MFK accounts. Should you purchase more than one item, we can manually "split" your order between accounts by charging separate items, to separate accounts. However, our ability to divide your order equitably among multiple accounts is dependent on the quantities and prices of the items purchased. Please inform us of your need to charge to multiple account before we process your order.

Charges Billed to an Incorrect Account - All charges made through our inventory management system are applied to the General Ledger nightly. Due to this, any incorrect billing must be corrected through use of CVs. If you do not understand this procedure, please contact your department administrator or accountant.

Other Problems With Your Billing - If you have any other questions or problems concerning billing matters, please contact us. Please have all of the applicable invoice numbers and dates of purchase available for all items and invoices in question.

Return Policy                                                                                

Biochemistry Stores will accept returns for credit with the following limitations:

*Items must be stocked by the Biochemistry Stores. (Special orders and discontinued items are not eligible for return.)

*Items must have been purchased within the last 60 calendar days.

*All returned products must be in their original packaging and unopened.

*Original receipt or knowledge of the MFK and date of the original charge is required.

*All sales via Credit Card, Check, and Student ID are final and not eligible for return.

*Items can only be credited to the MFK that was used to purchase them; if the MFK used to purchase the item has been closed we are not able to credit the purchase to another MFK.

*All credits are for the original purchase price and may take up to 1 business day to complete as pricing must be confirmed and may require adjustment.   

Any items that do not meet the above criteria are only eligible for return at the discretion of the Biochemistry Stores staff.    

 Examples of extenuating circumstances include but are not limited to:

Expiration: Items that were expired at the time of purchase may be returned for credit or exchange. This does not apply to items that have expired after the date of purchase.

Defective items: Items that can be shown to be defective are eligible for replacement.

Internal damage: Items that have been opened may be returned if the damage was undetectable prior to opening. This does not apply to items that have been damaged after purchase.

Lost Card Procedures

Replacing a Lost Card - Should you lose your Biochem Stores Express Service Card, you can receive another by bringing in: another Express Service Card of the same MFK account, your Biochem Stores account number for that MFK account, or your University issued MFK account number for that Biochem Stores account. We will make you a new card while you wait. We will require you to obtain a new Express card before making any purchases. If you leave your card here, or lose it and we have it turned in to us, we will keep it a couple days and then destroy it.

Canceling a Lost Card - We can cancel the MFK account of a lost card, however the process to open you a new Biochem Stores account and reissue new cards can be problematic. To date, we have never had an instance of a lost card being used by an unauthorized person.

Questions or Problems

Back Orders - Due to ongoing supply chain and transportation issues our backorders will remain problematic for the near future.  Great efforts are being made to source similar items from multiple suppliers to reduce the number of backorders.   Should you require more precise information on item availability please contact the store directly or email us at

Billing - If you have questions concerning billing, see Billing Procedures.

Request New Products - If you would like us to stock an item not currently in our inventory, please inform us of the item, its manufacturer, its uses, and your probable usage level. We will consider your request. If the item is from a vendor that we currently purchase from, please contact the individual who orders from that vendor. See Vendors Links for more information.

Special Orders - We can special order items from any vendors with whom we have a standing relationship. We may also be able to special order items from other vendors we purchase from. The best way to request a special order is to fill out a special order sheet. See Vendors Links for more information. Special Order Returns are subject to special restrictions.

Service Concerns - Should you have any concerns with either the service you have received from Biochem Stores or with any of the Biochem Stores personnel, please contact