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California State University, Long BeachCalifornia State University, Long Beach

Procurement & Contractual Services

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 requisition is required. Use Procurement Card or employee reimbursement.

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 6 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 2 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 or equivalent.

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

Risk Management Review Required?


Payments and Approvals

  1. Pcard or One Card
    Documents required with month-end approved ProCard statement:
    • Supplier Invoice/Receipt
    • Gift Card Disbursement Log or equivalent*
  2. Employee Reimbursement via Payment Request Form
    Documents required for this type of payment:
    • Supplier Invoice/Receipt
    • Gift Card Disbursement Log or equivalent*
    • Delegated approval (DOA) option


*Equivalent should include the gift card purchase information (description, date of purchase) as well as recipient name, date of distribution, the serial number and amounts of all purchased cards. Logs or equivalent showing disbursements are to be emailed to

The best form of acknowledgement is the recipient’s signature. When a signature, and possibly a name, is not obtainable due to privacy or other issues, other evidence of distribution will be accepted.

Non-disbursed Gift Cards

As gift cards are disbursed, complete the log with Date Disbursed, Recipient Name/ID, and Recipient Acknowledgement and submit the updated Disbursement Log form to

General Accounting will use the log information to prepare a journal entry to transfer the charge from the Gift Card Advance account to the Gift Card Expense account.

If gift cards are not fully disbursed by fiscal year-end, General Accounting will request an inventory of the remaining cards at the beginning of June from the Gift Card Custodian for reconciliation purposes.

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 – SP-Research Subject Incentive expense - Used when all gift cards have been distributed - used exclusively for grant funding.

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