Gift Cards

A prepaid stored-value money card or certificate usually issued by a retailer to be used only to incentivize participants for a valid university approved activity.




All of the following requirements must be met:

  1. Gift cards must only be used to incentivize participants for a valid University approved activity such as a research project, completing a survey, completing a questionnaire, attending training, or attending a meeting.
  2. Gift cards may be issued to employees; however, the employee will be taxed.
  3. The quantity of gift cards purchased at one time should be conservative. Gift cards should be disbursed as soon as possible after purchase, not to exceed 3 months.
  4. The face value of each card purchased is not to exceed $25.00. A higher face value amount may be purchased if specified in a grant award. Other exceptions must be approved by a Level 3 DOA.
  5. Each recipient may not be given more than $25.00, unless otherwise specified by grant award.
  6. Must complete Gift Card Disbursement Log (XLSX) or equivalent. Submit the completed log to
  7. All gift card documentation must identify whether a gift card recipient is a CSULB employee, a CSULB student, or Other.  The names and ID numbers of CSULB employees and CSULB students who receive a gift card are required.  All gift cards given by the University or its Auxiliaries to CSULB students or employees are subject to Federal and State reporting requirements.

Note: Situations and amounts that do not conform to the campus guideline will be disallowed.

By accepting a contract with the CSU, Contractors must certify they are neither nor its principals or its subcontractors are presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible or voluntarily excluded from participation in transactions by any federal department or agency (2 Code Federal Regulations[CFR] 180.220, in accordance with the Office of Management and Budget guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR Part 1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 CFR Part 1989 Comp., p. 235).

For contracts using both, CSU and federally awarded funds, a debarment check must be completed prior to issuing any procurement contracts of goods or services that are $25,000.00 or greater.

Risk Management Review Required?


  1. Permitted Payment Options: Subject to the above requirements.
    • PO – Allowed
    • ProCard – Allowed and preferred
    • One Card – Allowed
    • Direct Pay – Allowed
    • Employee Reimbursement – Allowed
    • Petty Cash - Not Allowed
  2. Documents required:
    • Supplier Invoice
    • Additional required documents are listed under the Additional Forms or Requirements section above.
    • Delegated approval (DOA) using one of the following options
      • Purchase Order (PO)
        1. Dispatched PO & receipt of goods through Shipping & Receiving (no action required by requesting department)
        2. Authorized stamp on invoice referencing PO# and Acknowledgement of Service
        3. Electronic approval (via email) sent directly to  
    • Contingent Documents
  3. Invoices received by Accounts Payable, prior to payment, are, prior to payment, routed to the requester or approver to verify receipt of service or items. Reference the Invoice Approval Process for more information.​

Common GL Account(s) to Use

  • 107803 – Gift Card Advances – Used when gift cards have not been completely distributed.
  • 660840 – Gift card expense – Used when all gift cards have been distributed.
  • 622801 – SP-Research Subject Incentive Expense – Used when all gift cards have been distributed. Used for GXXXX and RSXXX funds only..

Refer to your Division/College/Department for additional policies and procedures.