Subject Payments

There are 5 types of subject payments.

  • Cash Advance*
  • Survey Services (MTurk/Prolific)*
  • ClinCards (Prepaid Debit Cards)*
  • Gift Cards (Digital)*
  • Check Request

* - Preferred Methods

For breakdown options and instructions on using each.

Labs are responsible for keeping track of original subject payment files. The files should be kept in the department available for audit. When subject information needs to be given to accounting, make sure a copy is kept in the lab for records.

Before looking into payment types, ensure that you understand what is required to pay research subjects:


Cash Adv.

Why use this Method?

  • Cash is deposited into the requester's bank account to be withdrawn and used to pay subjects.
  • Cash must be locked up.
  • Unused cash must be reimbursed via check
  • Immediate reward for subjects
  • Easy to vary the amount of pay (if paid hourly or per task completed)
  • Cannot pay remote subjects

General Information

  • All cash advances must be in compliance with applicable rules, regulations, and University policies. Please review these policies before requesting an advance:
  • A cash advance constitutes a promissory note and payroll deduction authorization. Unspent cash must be returned immediately after the scheduled cash advance end date to avoid a payroll deduction.
  • Cash advances are directly deposited into the requestor’s designated bank account or personal checking account associated with the requestor’s employee id.

Requesting a Cash Advance:

  • Cash Advances can be requested through Chrome River
  • The minimum amount required to open a Cash Advance is $100
  • Create a new expense report in Chrome River
    • Under "Trip Type" select "Cash Advance Request"
    • For the expense start and end dates, use the timeframe in which you plan to pay out the cash advance
  • For more information on requesting a cash advance, see the Job Aid Here 

Reconciling a Cash Advance

  • Cash Advances will be reconciled through Chrome River
  • Cash distribution logs, transaction justifications, and other support documentation accounting for the cash are required when submitting an reconciliation
  • Identifying participant information must be redacted and justification must include the phrase "Documentation is on file in the department, available for audit" to indicate that the participant records are kept on file securely.
  • If the distribution logs are less than the Cash Advance, the employee will be offered the opportunity to repay the left over balance either via payroll reduction or a bill.
  • If the distribution logs are greater than the Cash Advance, the employee will be reimbursed for the overage.
  • For more information on reconciling a cash advance, see the Job Aid Here

Who is my accountant?

Survey Svcs

Why use this Method?

  • A service offered by in which people can pay to survey subjects and subjects get paid to respond to surveys.
  • This is the best way to get a survey out to a massive audience and get quick results
  • This cannot be used for in-person subjects
  • Subjects get an immediate reward
  • This is processed as an Expense Reimbursement or PCard transaction (PCard preferred)

General Information

  • Amazon's Mechanical Turk (MTurk) and Prolific is a great resource for mass survey results. 
  • Survey Services should be paid for via PCard. Out-of-pocket reimbursements are allowed if absolutely necessary but all PCard options should first be exhausted.
  • MTurk and Prolific hold a balance that is used up when surveys are run and subjects respond. One of two things must happen when you pay into the balance 
    • *Do the math to calculate how many responses you want, how much you'll pay per response, and how much will be paid for fees.
    • Pay in more than will be used and credit the remaining balance to the account that initially made the payment.

* Preferred method

Reconciling Survey Service Payments

  • In the case of both Reimbursements and PCard reconciliations, you will need the same documentation
    • The receipt from the initial payment
    • The transaction record shows the initial payment, all of the subject payments, and all of the fees. 
    • If the balance is overspent or underspent, explain how the difference will be handled
      • Note that if there's a leftover balance, no matter how small, it should be refunded to the source (PCard)
  • The transaction record should be submitted electronically
Gift Cards

Why use this Method?

  • Digital gift cards can be purchased from vendors (commonly and Target) and emailed to subjects
  • Can be used to pay remote and in-person subjects
  • Physical gift cards highly discouraged
  • Processed as a PCard transaction

General Information

  • Gift cards from various vendors can be used as subject payments.
  • Gift cards can come from any vendor but the most universal and commonly used ones are from Target or
  • Physical gift cards can be purchased but they are highly discouraged

Purchasing Gift Cards

The steps are similar between most vendors, below are the two most commonly used gift card vendors.

    • Go to and search "Gift Card"
    • Select the preferred eGift Card and enter the relevant information.
    • Click <Add to Cart>
    • Repeat steps 1-3 until all gift cards are accounted for
    • Go to your cart and complete checkout
  • Target
    • Go to
    • Search "Gift Card"
    • Follow the prompts until you get to the card selection screen
    • Under "filter results"  and "Delivery Type", click <e-mail>
    • Choose your desired amount and click <Add to cart>
    • Repeat steps until the desired amount of cards are in the cart 
      • Note: If they're all the same amount, you can go straight to cart and just change the quantity
    • Go to your cart and complete checkout

Reconciling Gift Card Purchases

  • Make sure to provide itemized receipts showing all of the gift cards
  • Ensure that the PCard holder's signature is on the receipt or their approval is attained via email
  • Submit a PCard reconciliation form with the relevant documentation, chart string, and justification to the designated accountant of the PCard holder.

For more information on how to process a PCard purchase see PCards


Why use this Method?

  • ClinCards (prepaid debit cards) are physical gift cards that can be used to pay subjects and reimburse them for travel.
  • The cards can be loaded with varied amounts through the ClinCard portal and reloaded if there are repeat participants.
  • They can be given to subjects in person or mailed to participants. If cards are mailed, they should not be activated and loaded until the participant confirms they have received the card.

General Information

When a subject comes into the lab and participates in a study, their information should be collected in order to register them on the ClinCard Portal. Once they are registered, they can be assigned a card. Once a subject is assigned a card, they will call a number on the card to activate it, just like a debit card, and the researcher will deposit the designated amount on the card from the ClinCard Portal.

The whole process:

  1. The researcher decides that ClinCard is the method they want to choose
  2. Researcher fills out the Prepaid Debit Card (PPDC) Study Form (UM 1833)
    1. Include the total amount you intend to payout
    2. Request as many cards as you will need for a 3 month period
  3. The researcher provides the PPDC Study form, a justification, and chart string to be charged (along with the proper approvals) to the designated accountant.
  4. The ClinCard office will reach out to the researcher and designate a time to get the cards to the researcher
  5. Once the cards are received and the researcher confirms that they have access to the ClinCard Portal, testing can begin.
  6. Use the ClinCard Portal to enter subject information, assign them a ClinCard, and load amounts onto their card
    • When entering subject information into the portal, we recommend you enter their name, address, and date of birth in the case that they need to call the bank and verify their identity - we discourage the gathering and entry of social security numbers
  7. Once testing is concluded, contact Alicia Theisen ( to return any unused cards and close the study's ClinCard account

When the cards are received, they are not activated and have no balance on them. While that means they cannot be taken and used, they should be locked up and kept track of. 

Resources for More Information:

Check Request

Why use this Method?

  • Least preferred method
  • The slowest method
  • Easy to vary the amount of pay (if paid hourly or per task completed)
  • Takes the longest and has the most potential for problems
  • Can pay remote subjects

General Information

Check requests, when everything goes right, is a simple process. The reason check request is the least preferred method of subject payment is that there's a lot that can go wrong with a mailed check. If a subject has a supplier ID and it's unknown to the lab, this can cause confusion for Accounting. If their address changed recently, this can delay payment greatly. The last reason check requests can be so troublesome is the aspect of being mailed. If a check is lost in the mail, the original check must be canceled, and a new one sent. 

For all their potential problems, they can be useful when the lab looks into everything prior to the request.

How to process a Check Request

  • At the time of the session, fill out a Research Subject Payment Form and use it as the basis for the Check Request form
  • Fill out the Check Request Form (UM 1659)
    • If no vendor number (supplier number) is available, use "SPV024"
    • For the justification only enter "Documentation on file in the department, available for audit."
    • Ensure the address is correct and needs no apartment or unit number.
    • If they have a vendor number, confirm that the listed address is the same as the address on file.
  • For research assistants, the supervisor of the accounting approver should sign the left line.
  • The right signature line should be left blank.
  • Submit the Check Request Form and the Research Subject Payment Form to the designated accountant of the faculty member associated with the study.
    • Make sure a copy of the subject payment form is kept on file in the lab.
  • If there are any issues, the accountant will contact the lab to request more information

If a subject asks about their check, the lab can ask the accountant about the status of the check but it should be remembered that this is the slowest form of subject payment.


Revision create time
08/08/2022 - 15:22