Prepaid Cards


Prepaid cards, regardless of the value, are considered cash equivalents by the Internal Revenue Service and are subject to tax reporting. Departments purchasing and distributing prepaid cards are responsible for compliance with IRS regulations and university policies.

When prepaid cards may be purchased

  • Event prizes such as door prizes, raffles or prizes for participation.
  • Tokens of gratitude/thank-yous for volunteering.
  • IRB approved research study participants.
  • Cards to students for need-based or emergency situations.
  • Meals during virtual events that would have otherwise been provided in person.

When prepaid cards cannot be purchased

  • Gifts for milestone achievements (e.g., retirements, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, birth of a child, etc)
  • Gifts for holidays.
  • Compensation for goods and/or services received.

Card Types Available

  • Amazon - physical gift cards and e-gift cards
  • Target - physical gift cards and e-gift cards
  • US Bank Visa prepaid cards - physical gift cards ($1.50 charge per card)
  • DoorDash - minimum order requirement - 25 cards @ $15 each.

Procedures by category

Procedure for cards intended for gifts or prizes

All card recipients, including Rice University Students must have a vendor record and social security number on file by submitting all required documentation through the Rice University Supplier Application Portal.

Procedure for ordering cards

  1. Submit the Prepaid Card Request Form along with a completed Prepaid Card Disbursement Log to the Cashier's Office through the Secure File Upload Folder. Note that incomplete Prepaid Card Disbursement Logs will be rejected.
  2. The Cashier's Office will initiate purchase and submit payment through a Rice Marketplace Check Request, which may require an additional funding approval in Rice Marketplace from a signature authority having authority over the Fund and Org Code provided on the Prepaid Card Request Form.
  3. Once the purchase is completed, electronic cards and direct mail disbursements will be disbursed by the Cashier's Office. In-person card disbursements will be arranged with the Prepaid Card Custodian.

Procedure for cards intended for IRB Approved Survey Participants

Prepaid cards intended as incentive for research study survey participants may be obtained through the Cashier's Office.

Procedure for ordering cards

  1. Submit the Prepaid Card Request Form along with proof of IRB Approval to the Cashier's Office through the Secure File Upload Folder.
  2. The Cashier's Office will initiate purchase and submit payment through a Rice Marketplace Check Request, which may require an additional funding approval in Rice Marketplace from a signature authority having authority over the Fund and Org Code provided on the Prepaid Card Request Form.
  3. Once the purchase is completed, the prepaid cards and/or electronic codes will be delivered to the Prepaid Card Custodian for disbursement.

Procedure for cards intended for meals

For virtual events, that would have otherwise been held in person with food provided, prepaid cards limited to meal purchases may be used as a substitute.

Bulk orders through DoorDash is the current approved method for providing meals. Minimum order requirement is 25 cards at $15 each.

Procedure

  1. Submit the Prepaid Card Request Form along with a completed Business Meeting/Entertainment Expense Form to the Cashier's Office through the Secure File Upload Folder.
  2. The Cashier's Office will initiate purchase and submit payment through a Rice Marketplace Check Request, which will require an additional funding approval from a signature authority having authority over the Fund and Org Code provided on the Prepaid Card Request Form.
  3. Once the purchase is completed, prepaid cards will be disbursed to the prepaid card custodian provided on the Prepaid Card Request Form.

Please note that purchase turnaround time can take as long as two weeks, so please consider that when planning.

In the event of audit, it is the responsibility of the department to maintain proof of disbursement for all cards. Records should be maintained in accordance with Rice University's record retention guidelines.