Visa Participant Incentive Debit Card Program Guidelines
Defining Visa Participant Incentive Debit Card Program
The Visa Participant Incentive Debit Card Program was designed to provide non-cash incentives for research subjects. Even though these incentives are non-cash they are still considered a form of compensation. As such, each department should consider if the research subject would feasibly receive more than $600 in compensation annually during a study or combination of studies. If this is the case, then the department would need to process payment by check through a payment request enabling the University to provide this information in the form of a 1099 or 1042-S to the individual.
Requesting Visa Participant Incentive Debit Cards
The requesting department should complete the Visa Participant Incentive Debit Card User Application form and the Visa Participant Incentive Debit Card Approval form to initiate the process. Each department or school is responsible for defining and enforcing its own procedures for ensuring that the proper approval is obtained for each application. Card denominations must be $10 or greater. The appropriate accounting department will review and approve the request. Once approved the appropriate accounting department will complete a payment request in Oracle for the total value of the cards. After processing, the General Accounting department will contact the department representative for pickup. Cards will be distributed to the designated individual presenting an UAB ID. The receiving individual and disbursing representative will sign the original approval form. At this point the appropriate accounting department will submit a journal entry to reclass the charge from the Participant Incentive Debit Card clearing account to the appropriate account. To minimize the risk of potential loss to UAB, the amount of the fund should be limited to the absolute minimum necessary to carry on the work and keeping in mind that incentive cards should be replenished at least once every two weeks.
Maintaining Visa Participant Incentive Debit Cards
The department must maintain records or a participant incentive debit card log that substantiates the amount or value, date, place, and business purpose of each distribution. The business purpose will generally be the specific grant/study in which the individual is participating. Such records should include the name, address, and other identifying information sufficient to support future follow-up (as required) of the research subject receiving the card. All records must be maintained for a period of five years from the date of submission of the final expenditure report, or for awards that are renewed quarterly or annually, from the date of the submissions of the quarterly or annual financial reports as authorized by the awarding agency. The department must designate an accountable person that is responsible for the incentives. The incentives must be maintained and safeguarded by the department and the accountable person in a manner that protects against inappropriate and unauthorized use or distribution. Any loss of cards should be reported immediately. The department must establish and maintain reconciliation procedures so that at any given time, the department's distribution records reconcile exactly to the cards on hand. The issued cards may not be used on any grant/account number other than the one stated on the initial request.
Replenishing Visa Participant Incentive Debit Cards
A signed copy of the Visa Participant Incentive Debit Card Application form and Visa Participant Incentive Debit Card Approval form must be presented each time a request is made for new cards. The current participant incentive debit card log should also be presented for replenishment. At this point the process for the original request is repeated and the new cards are distributed to the designated individual presenting an UAB ID.
Returning and Closing Out Visa Participant Incentive Debit Cards
The department must return any undistributed cards at the end of the project to the appropriate accounting department. The cards should be returned along with an updated Visa Participant Incentive Debit Card User Application form marked ‘Terminate' and the final participant incentive debit card log. After processing, the appropriate accounting department will submit a journal entry reducing the expense for the returned cards. The cards will have an expiration date twelve months from the date the value is loaded and any undistributed cards should be returned thirty days prior to the expiration date to ensure a credit to the account. If you are returning 25% or more of the cards requested, the department will be charged the loading fee in effect at the time of issuance of the cards. Any unloading fee incurred by UAB will be directly charged to the department.