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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.

Requisition Required?

No. Either Purchase Order or  Procurement Card is allowed. However, if the purchase will be from a foreign supplier, there are Foreign Purchase requirements to address. Please complete those requirements before continuing with the purchase.

Administrative Guidelines Related to this Purchase?

Key Purchasing Requirements and Quote/Bid Thresholds?


Additional Forms or Requirements?

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.

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?


Payments and Approvals

  1. Permitted Payment Options: Subject to the above requirements.
    • PO – Allowed
    • ProCard – Allowed
    • One Card – Allowed
    • Direct Pay – Allowed
    • Employee Reimbursement – Not Allowed
  2. Documents required:
    • Supplier Invoice
    • Additional required documents listed under the Additional Forms or Requirements section above.
    • Delegated approval (DOA) using one of the following options
      1. 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
      1. If the supplier is not currently in PeopleSoft, then include the Vendor 204 (DocuSign) form or, for international vendors, complete the W8Ben
      2. If foreign supplier purchase requires pre-approval, then submit approved Foreign Supplier Pre-Approval (DocuSign) form with payment method.
  3. Payment Notes:
    • All checks will be mailed by the Accounts Payable department
  4. Invoices received by Accounts Payable, prior to payment, are routed to the requester or approver to verify receipt of service or items. Reference the Invoice Approval Process for more information.​

Additional Notes

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 – AP-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.