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Human Subject Procurement Card

Learn about using the Human Subject Procurement Card.

The Human Subject Procurement Card (HSPC) is designed specifically to purchase merchant gift cards to compensate Human Subject participants in clinical trials as part of your research. It is a unique tool within the Procurement Card program that differs from the standard Procurement Card in that it is solely designed to meet the specific procurement needs of compensating human subject study participants.

The HSPC is a Visa purchasing card issued by U.S. Bank to UCSD employees who have the authority to buy merchant gift cards on behalf of their Principal Investigator and have a current IRB Approval Letter and Consent to Act as a Research Subject document.

Note: If it is anticipated that total payments to any one subject during the course of a study will total $600 or more in a calendar year, the payee should submit a W-9. This information will be reported to the IRS, and Form 1099-MISC will be sent to the payee at the end of the calendar year in which the payment(s) were made.


In order to request Human Subject Compensation, the following attachments are required:

  • A current and approved IRB form, including the research project number

  • A current and approved consent form, specifically the portion which shows the amount and the type of compensation approved



  • Purchase merchant gift cards as needed with one HSPC without having to submit a cash advance
  • Offers department more control to access of gift cards
  • Same Human Subject policy and procedures apply


  • One card per study
  • One card for multiple studies


The Human Subject Procurement Card is restricted to the purchase of merchant gift cards that will be used to compensate human subject participants*.  This card cannot be used for any other type of purchases. Card limits include a transaction limit of $4999 and cycle limit of $10,000 (cumulative total of all transactions within the cycle).  The cycle period begins the 16th of every month.

  • Gift cards are tax reportable when applicable
  • Each transaction must be for a specific study i.e. cannot split one purchase between studies 

Is your Department ready for the Procurement Card program?

Check with your Department to make sure your department is ready to participate in the Procurement Card program. Questions to ask:

  • Has your central business office approved participation and indicated commitment to following program guidelines?
  • Has your department authorized one or more employees to become DAs?
  • Does your department have processes and controls in place for these situations?
    • Accepting transactions without identifying Purchase Order (PO) number reference
    • Reviewing individual purchases for procurement policy compliance
    • Prompt submission of receipts by cardholder
    • Verifying charges in a timely manner by reviewing transactions
    • Consideration of any special funding conditions
  • Is your department willing to complete the following?
    • Invest time in learning a new process
    • Accept a program that is evolving (through changes and refinement)
    • Participate in DA and Cardholder training classes
  • Does your department understand that the Procurement Card is a valuable tool for purchasing gift cards, but with necessary controls due to policy and best practices? Controls include:
    • A single transaction purchase is limited to $4,999 (including tax, freight, and handling charges).
    • Built-in controls prohibit restricted vendor
    • Personal purchases are not allowed.
    • Cards can be assigned only to a person, not to a department or unit. Cards may not be lent or shared.

Training and Authorization

See Training and Authorization

BUS 49 requires that staff handling cash and cash equivalents receive training on cash handling procedures.  Refer to the Handling Cash or Checks Blink page, featuring resources including the Cash Handling online tutorial (login required) available through the UC Learning Center.

How to Become a Human Subject Procurement Card Cardholder

  1. Obtain a current stamped IRB approval letter and the compensation portion of the consent form.
  2. Review the Human Subject Cardholder Responsibilities with Principal Investigator and department Fund Manager.
  3. Contact your Department Administrator (DA) to become a cardholder.
    • Note:If you do not know who your DA is, contact your business 
  4. Complete the cardholder training
  5. Complete the cardholder agreement and addendum.

The cardholder must submit the signed agreement and addendum in Concur.

  1. Request a new card in Concur
  2. Activate your new card in US Bank
    • Contact U.S. Bank by calling the number that appears on the sticker located on the front of your card.
    • Follow the prompts to activate your card.
    • When prompted for your Social Security number, provide your UCSD employee ID number.
    • Sign the back of your card on the space provided.
  3. Register your account in US Bank
    • First time users need to register their account.
      1. Go to U.S. Bank Access Online.
      2. From the Welcome page, click the Register Online link.
      3. From the Online Registration page:
        1. In the Organization Short Name field, enter ‘UCSD’.
        2. In the Account Number field, enter the 16-digit account (card) number (no dashes or spaces).
  • From the Account Expiration Date fields, select the month and year that the account (card) expires.
  1. Click the Register This Account button.
    1. If you have more than one Procurement Card to register, click the Additional Account button and enter the account information.
  2. From the Licensing Agreement page, click the I Accept button at the bottom of the page.
  3. From the Online Registration page:
    1. In the User ID field, enter a User ID using 7 – 20 alpha-numeric characters.
    2. In the Password field, enter a Password using 8 – 20 alpha-numeric characters.
  • Re-enter the password in the Re-enter New Password field.
  1. Select an Authentication Question from the dropdown menu.
  2. Enter a response in the Authentication Response field.
  3. Complete the Contact Information fields (fields with red asterisk are required).
  • Click the Continue button, this will bring you to the Access Online page, with a confirmation message that your User ID has been successfully added.

Note: If you entered invalid information or encountered an error message, you have 3 attempts to correct your information. If all 3 attempts fail, you will be locked out of self-registration and will need to contact U.S. Bank Customer Service at (800) 344-5696.

Human Subject Procurement Card Expense Process

  1. Cardholder purchases gift cards
  2. US Bank submits expenses to UCSD
  3. Expenses are then imported into Concur
  4. It is the responsibility of the cardholder to check his or her queue for posted expenses after a purchase has been made
  5. Cardholders must review expenses in a timely manner, it is proposed that the cardholder should review transactions within 7 calendar days
  6. Once submitted, the Expense Report will be routed to your Department Financial Unit Approver for final approval.

Record Keeping

Suggested Forms for Record Keeping

Human Subject Gift Cards

Cash Advances

Human Subject Designated Express Card

Cardholder & Administrator Responsibilities

The Human Subject Procurement Card is a Visa purchasing card issued by U.S. Bank to UCSD employees who have authority to the purchase of merchant gift cards that will only be used to compensate human subject participants. This card cannot be used for any other type of purchase.

Cardholder Responsibilities

  • Only the cardholder can make purchases using this card
  • Reviewing e-mail notifications.
  • Card limits include a transaction limit of $4999 and cycle limit of $10,000 (cumulative total of all transactions within the cycle).  The cycle period begins on the 16thof every month. 
  • Ownership and cancellation of the Human Subject Procurement Card follow the same guidelines outlined in the Procurement Card Cardholder Agreement (PDF).
  • Returning the Human Subject Procurement Card when reassigned or terminated, or upon department request.
  • Successfully completing online Procurement Card cardholder training.
  • Submitting the Procurement Card cardholder agreement and the HSPC cardholder addendum.
  • Ensuring proper use of the HSPC and its security.

Cardholders must be familiar with Human Subject policies and funding sources.

  • All policies and procedures of the Human Subject program must be adhered to, including quarterly certification and other documentation requirements.
  • New studies - a copy of IRB Approval Letter along with the UCSD IRB approved Consent to Act as a Research Subject form outlining Compensation for Participation must be submitted to the Procurement Card Human Subject Department Administrator prior to any purchase.
  • In addition to avoiding violations of the Human Subject Procurement Card policy, cardholders should understand the terms and conditions of the department funding sources.

If you are uncertain about your fund source restrictions, contact your Procurement Card department administrator.

Employees who have been designated as Department Administrators (DAs) are responsible for the proper use of Human Subject Procurement Cards by overseeing department implementation and use of the card.

For detailed information on cardholder or administrator responsibilities, see:

Chart of Accounts (COA)

The Financial Unit approver is anyone who oversees use of the Chart of Accounts string attached to a made transaction. Chart of Accounts or COA is what was formerly known as account indexes:

  • For additional information regarding COA's please refer to the following PDF, this is an in-depth guide to COA's
  • If you have any questions on what to enter for the Financial Unit Information, please reach out to your fund manager.

Liability and Disputes

UCSD is responsible for all charges against valid cards.  However, cardholders are obligated to use the Human Subject Procurement Card responsibly in accordance with the cardholder agreement (PDF) and the Human Subject Cardholder responsibilities

You should file a dispute when you:

  • Are billed for merchandise that you never received
  • Have duplicate or incorrect charges that the vendor will not credit
  • Are not credited for a return

In case of a dispute, the merchant should be contacted directly by the cardholder.

The bank will take these actions on your behalf:

  • Work with the vendor to determine if the charge is valid
  • Contact you if further information is required
  • Credit your account while researching the dispute

Note: If the dispute is valid, your account will be adjusted accordingly. 

Why your Card May be Declined

Your Human Subject Procurement Card purchase might be declined at the point of sale even if a merchant accepts the Human Subject Procurement Card (Visa card). The mechanisms that trigger a declined card protect the cardholder, the merchant, and UC San Diego.

A Human Subject Procurement Card can be declined because:

  • The purchase exceeds the allowed amount: A purchase cannot exceed the $4,999 maximum transaction amount. This maximum includes charges for tax, freight, and handling.
  • The supplier type is restricted.
  • The card has not been activated: A transaction will be declined if the cardholder has not activated a newly assigned or renewed card. See activation instructions.
  • The account number has been transposed: A transaction will be declined if either the cardholder or merchant transposes the card account number while completing the transaction. If a card is declined, verify the account number with the merchant in case this error has occurred.
  • The billing address does not match: A transaction can be declined if the billing address on file with the bank does not match the billing address provided by the cardholder at the point of purchase.

Billing address

If a merchant requests the billing address to validate the transaction, provide this address (fill in the blanks with your department Mail Code):

University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code ____
La Jolla, CA 92093-____

If you need assistance with a declined card

Contact U.S. Bank at (800) 344-5696, provide your employee number and ask the bank for the reason the card was declined.

Procurement Card Team Audits/ How do I Comply

Learn about the post-transaction review process for Human Subject Procurement Card audits.

The Procurement Card Program Team conducts ongoing reviews of transactions to ensure the Human Subject Procurement Card program controls are being followed. This review process identifies transactions that might be considered high risk, as well as trends and usage to manage associated risks for procurement card activity. Card misuse includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Cardholders and departments comply with Human Subject Procurement Card policies and UC Business and Finance Bulletin BUS43 (PDF)
  • Purchases are properly authorized as official University business
  • Taxes are correctly applied
  • Purchases are not shipped to addresses other than UCSD locations
  • Detailed business purpose
  • Split transactions
  • Restricted purchases
  • Personal purchases
  • Purchases that should have been processed using a different payment tool or application

If you are a Department Administrator or Cardholder, you may receive an e-mail asking you to provide additional documentation, receipts and/or a detailed business purpose for selected transactions. If you receive one:

  • Attach the requested documentation and/or provide an updated business purpose.
  • Provide any additional information requested by the auditor.

Commonly Requested Forms


U.S. Bank Contacts

  • S. Bank customer service: (800) 344-5696
  • S. Bank fraud department: (800) 523-9078

Procurement Card Program Administrators and hours:

  • Patrick Etienne: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • Kelli Sanchez Zamora: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • Chunyi Tang: Tuesday - Friday 9:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Reconciling Expense Reports

If you are using one card for multiple studies, follow the below instructions when completing your monthly expense reports:

·         Upload a receipt for each transaction and include the research project number on the upper top right corner

·         For the first transaction related to each project, upload the current IRB and compensation portion of the consent form

Need help? Contact our team via the UC San Diego Services & Support portal.