Procedures for Gift Cards

Gift Cards for Human Subjects and Participation Awards

The process for the purchase of VISA Gift Cards takes time. Therefore, banks require two weeks notice as some orders take 7–10 days to process. In order to provide the bank with the proper notification period for their preparation of the cards, please plan ahead for your VISA Gift Card needs.

Please note: Gift cards cannot be returned to the bank. Therefore, departments should order no more cards than they require.

Preparing to Issue Gift Cards

Participation in the VISA Gift Card Program must be approved by the University Controller’s Office and the University Treasury. To discuss the departmental needs to begin the approval process, please contact University Treasury by calling 848-445-2875 or using our online Contact Form.

For new programs/grants, departments must contact university Tax Services at (848) 445-2054 to verify these payments from the University follow the rules established by the IRS.

When applicable, all research processes / procedures / protocols must be approved by the Department of Grant and Contract Accounting (“DGCA”) and the Human Subject Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects in Research

Requesting Gift Cards

Department will prepare the request on a paper Billhead (or a Multiple Check Request form).  The Billhead must be made out to the Principal Investigator or the individual with oversight of the project.  Indicate in the body of the form, at a minimum, the # and denomination of the gift cards, the purpose of the gift cards, and, when appropriate, the current IRB protocol # and a statement that a Human Subject Reimbursement Questionnaire has been submitted to and is on file with DGCA.  

Department should use natural account #87200 when purchasing VISA Gift Cards.  Once this “advance” is reconciled by DGCA (grant programs) or Restricted/Unrestricted Funds (non-grant programs), DGCA or Restricted/Unrestricted Funds will prepare an entry to move the charge from #87200 and book the expense to appropriate natural account (#31400 for grant accounts). 

Department will complete the Wire Transfer form (available in the RIAS Forms Repository).  In the section entitled “Transaction Purpose”, indicate, at a minimum, the # and denomination of the gift cards, the person (along with contact information) that will be picking up the cards from the bank, and the preferred date of pick up.

Please send the Original Billhead and Wire Transfer form (with appropriate signatures) to Accounts Payable, Attn:  Nydia Laureano.  Accounts Payable will review and upon receiving necessary approval forward to the office of Treasury Operations to begin the order process.  If you have any questions on completing the Billhead, please contact Accounts Payable at 848-445-6316 or use our online Contact Form.  Questions on the Wire Transfer form should be addressed to the University Treasury by calling 848-445-2788 or using our online Contact Form

Before the delivering the documentation to University Treasury, Accounts Payable will confirm with the Division of Grants and Contract Accounting (DGCA) or Restricted/Unrestricted Funds that all prior gift card advances have been cleared and accounted for in accordance with established university policy or DGCA guidelines (the latter may be found on DGCA’s website). Consequently, please ensure the Letter of Certification of the Principal Investigator (PI), required by DGCA, accounting for all prior gift card advances, has been submitted to your DGCA accountant prior to submitting your check request for the next batch of VISA Gift Cards.  Please Note:  New orders for gift cards will not be processed if previous orders are not reconciled with DGCA or Restricted/Unrestricted Funds, as appropriate. 

The cards will not be ordered from the bank until all the original documentation is delivered to University Treasury by Accounts Payable (see steps above).  Please remember, that the bank's two week notification period officially begins when this original documentation is received.

Gift Card Handling

Gift cards, including VISA branded or individual store branded, are cash, and must be handled with the same security and concern as if they were hard currency. For greater details, please see the University Policy:  40.2.8 Cash Handling – Policies and Procedures for Receipt, Deposit and Security of Cash.

The following procedures must be followed:

When gift cards are picked up at the bank or store, the cards should be compared to the inventory registry supplied by the bank or store. Any discrepancies should be noted before leaving the bank or store. 

Gift Cards should be stored in secure locations – following the same instructions as for Cash.  If the value of the gift cards held is an amount greater than $1,000 but less than $7,500 they must be stored in a locked, fully fire resistant safe which is rated to resist specialized burglar tools.  [The value of gift cards held is calculated as the individual card value times the number of cards held.]

If the value of gift cards held is $7,500 or greater, they must be stored in a locked, fully fire resistant safe which is rated to resist specialized burglar tools AND the office must have an actively working secure alarm system connected to the University Police Department with motion detectors and a secure key system.  If the office is not so equipped, gift cards held cannot have a value greater than $7,499.99. 

A minimum of two individuals should be involved whenever gift cards are removed from storage and distributed.  Each should compare the cards being removed from storage to the inventory registry and should sign & date next to the number on the registry, noting that the cards were being removed from inventory. 

When gift cards are distributed to the ultimate recipient, a receipt should be signed by the recipient confirming his/her receipt of the specific card number. For confidential studies, this may not be possible. However, the Principal Investigator should have record of the recipient of each card number.