Vincent Exception Requests

Payments to individuals for research participation for compensation or certain expense reimbursements must be executed via Vincent Payment Solutions™. Any requests for exceptions must have prior approval for research use by Human Research Protecctions (HRP).  Please see Vincent Payment Solutions & Paying Research Participant/Individuals for additional information.

Alternative (non-Vincent Payment Solutions™) Payment Methods For Research Participants/Individuals

Alternate (non-Vincent Payment Solutions™) compensation methods for research participants and other applicable individuals include the following:

Store/Gift cards

  • If store/gift cards will be used to compensate research participants and other applicable individuals, select amounts that are equivalent to the area’s economic conditions.
  • Exceptions to the Vincent Payment Solutions™ policy require specific HRP approval, signature by the research department’s dean, and details of which must be written into the grant at the outset of the study.
  • If your study requires an exception to the Vincent Payment Solutions™ policy, see Requesting an Exception below and also contact Customer Service (before the study begins) for guidance on what you will need to provide to the Payment Processing and Compliance department.

Cash

  • If cash will be used to compensate research participants and other applicable individuals, use amounts that are equivalent to the area’s economic conditions.  
  • If cash is not an appropriate participant incentive given the nature of the research, and if approved by HRP, the University Global Concierge can discuss other options listed below.
  • The minimum Cash Card load amount permitted by MasterCard and the Vincent system is $10.00. Participant payments which are nominal in nature (defined as less than $10.00 in a single payment), such as “man on the street” interviews, will not be required to include individual payment information by subject. Prior to implementing this type of payment, review and approval of the process must be granted by the Human Research Protection Office and the Office of Finance to ensure proper Vincent guidelines are followed.
    • For these studies, the PI or his designate will obtain funds in a lump sum via a single load to the Cash Card. The PI or his designate will take the Cash Card to one of the two Citizens Bank branches in Oakland and withdraw funds to pay subjects in the appropriate denominations. A separate record must be maintained in sufficient detail to account for all payments (e.g., a subject receipt log initialed by recipient can be maintained.) A Cash Card should not be reloaded until the accounting for and reconciliation of all cash from the preceding load has taken place.
    • These records will be prepared and protected in accordance with HIPAA regulations and maintained by the PI as necessary for audit purposes. Cash remaining after disbursement of each Cash Card load during the study will be deposited to the appropriate study account.
    • Studies in which research aims or study methods of the project require anonymous data collection are exempt from the collection of personal data. For these exceptions, the PI will produce the protocol which evidences the anonymous requirements and formal written approval will be obtained from Human Research Protections for any exceptions, prior to any cash payments being made

Miscellaneous

  • Small gifts: If approved by HRP, a small gift could include sporting venue and/or cultural admission tickets, payment of a utility bill, etc. Select items that are in line with the area’s economic conditions.
  • Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT): If approved by HRP, some researchers have used AMT to manage surveys and compensate research participants inside and outside the US.

Note: any HRP approved alternate (non-Vincent Payment Solutions™) research compensation method will require the researcher to maintain appropriate manual logs supporting research participant payments.

Social Security Number Exception

Some projects using the Vincent Payment Solution™ may warrant an exception from the requirement to collect social security numbers.  This may be due to confidentiality issues or the nature/sensitivity of the research precluding the collection of the numbers.  SSN exceptions should be requested using the process outlined below.

Requesting an Exception

Any requests for exceptions must be approved by Human Research Protections (HRP - formerly known as the IRB).  Requests should be emailed to askirb@pitt.edu.
Exceptions to the Vincent policy can only be requested for research payments if the amount is less than $100 in a 12 month period.
Each email request for an exception must include the following documents: