These are answers to common questions about payment to research volunteers at the NIH Clinical Center:
- The NIH Secure Payee Registration System (SPRS)
- Payment Methods
- Direct Deposit or Automated Clearing House (ACH)
- U.S. Visa ®Debit Card
- Issues, Questions, Lost or Stolen
The NIH Secure Payee Registration System (SPRS)
How can I access SPRS without finding the original "welcome" email and using that very long link?
We recommend that you save your original email with the link. However, if you lose it, please call the Clinical Research Volunteer Program at 301-496-4763 or 800-892-3276, so we can send you another invitation with a new link.
Why do I get a "Logged Out" message when I attempt to log in to SPRS?
If you are receiving a "Logged Out" message, the email listed in SPRS does not match the email used to log in to your profile. You must use the same email that you use to create your Login.gov profile when accessing SPRS. For assistance with updating your email, please call the Clinical Research Volunteer Program at 301-496-4763 or 800-892-3276 between 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
Why does only the Login.gov option display when accessing SPRS?
Login.gov ensures strong authentication and identity verification when accessing SPRS. Login.gov uses a two-factor authentication requiring you to provide two different types of information to verify and prove your identity when logging in to your SPRS account. Once you have successfully met the two verifications, then you will be granted access to SPRS.
Why do I have to provide my Social Security Number (SSN)?
We are required to report all payments for individuals who are subject to United States (U.S.) taxation laws to the IRS. Therefore, if you have a U.S.-issued SSN, you are required to supply it for tax reporting purposes. If you have never been issued an SSN, you will still be paid for your research participation.
Is my information secure?
Yes. SPRS uses certificates to secure the transmission of data between your computer and the webserver. Once the webserver receives the data, all bank account numbers, routing numbers, and Social Security numbers are encrypted and stored in our database. As a result, only the staff who processes payments have access to your information.
Is there an option for NIH employees to log into SPRS without using a PIV card or NIH Credentials?
You can receive the link via a private/personal email address. Give your study team your preferred email address when you participate in a study.
Whom can I contact with questions regarding the payment process or if I have issues logging in to SPRS?
For help in completing the form online, please call the Clinical Research Volunteer Program at 301-496-4763 or 800-892-3276 between 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
How can I remove my information from the SPRS database?
Contact the Clinical Research Volunteer Program at 301-496-4763 or 800-892-3276 to request that your information be removed from the registration system. Please note that if a payment was made using your information, that data must remain on file with the application that performed the payment for auditing purposes.
What are my options for receiving my research payment?
The NIH provides two options for receiving payment for your participation in our studies:
- Direct deposit into a checking or savings account at any U.S. financial institution (of your choosing), or
- An issued U.S. Visa® Debit Card.
How do I choose the best option?
If you have a personal checking or savings account, the direct deposit option may be a good choice. It is simple, safe, convenient, and avoids late payments or lost checks. However, if you do not have a bank account or prefer not to use it, the U.S. Visa® Debit Card is an additional option.
How do I change my current payment option?
To change the payment option on your account, please call the Clinical Research Volunteer Program at 301-496-4763 or 800-892-3276 between 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
I already have direct deposit set up; if I wanted to switch to the debit card option or update other data, how do I do that?
You can notify your study team if you want to change your form of payment or call the Clinical Research Volunteer Program at 301-496-4763 or 800-892-3276 to change your payment method.
Are there any costs associated with Direct Deposit or U.S. Debit Card options?
Direct deposit is a free service to the volunteer.
Debit Card is a free service with associated fees for some activities. Please refer to the fee schedule in the Welcome Packet you receive with your U.S. Visa® Debit Card.
Will I pay taxes on my research payments?
Compensation payments less than $600 are not taxed. NIH reports compensation of $600 or more to the IRS and sends out a "Form 1099-Other Income" to the participant at the end of the year. This process has not changed and applies to all forms of payments.
Can my payments be garnished for any reason?
Under the U.S. Debt Collection Act, some or all of the volunteer's payment may be garnished by the U.S. Treasury if the participant has outstanding debts to the federal government. Unfortunately, the NIH does not have any way of knowing if a volunteer has an outstanding debt to the government and is not informed when the U.S. Treasury garnishes compensation. However, the U.S. Treasury will notify the volunteer directly if this is the case.
As an international study volunteer, how will I receive my research payments?
International volunteers may receive payments via paper check. Debit cards will not be mailed to non-U.S. addresses.
Direct Deposit or Automated Clearing House (ACH)
How do I provide my bank account information for payment?
If you want to receive payment via direct deposit or physical debit card, NIH uses the Secure Payee Registration System (SPRS). SPRS generates an email with instructions to participants containing a secure link to enter banking information or confirm card receipt.
Why do I need to verify my address if I am receiving payment via direct deposit?
In order to comply with tax reporting requirements, your correct mailing address is required so that NIH may send you tax forms and information regarding your payment. Information will never be used without express written consent from the registrant for anything other than the stated purpose of issuing payments owed and providing government and taxation authorities any reports that are required by law.
Once I submit my information with banking, how long will it take to receive my payment?
Payments are typically received within two to three days (subject to your financial institution's process) of being processed.
How do I know when my money is in my bank account?
If you have provided an email address to the Clinical Center, you will receive an email notification when a payment is processed for you. You may want to check with your financial institution to verify that the funds were deposited into your account.
How do I know if my banking information on file is correct?
To ensure your banking information on file is correct, log in to SPRS, review, and update your information. If you are not sure which banking numbers to enter, contact your financial institution for assistance. If you cannot log in to SPRS, you may contact the Clinical Research Volunteer Program at 301-496-4763 or 800-892-3276 for assistance.
What if I want to change the bank account receiving the direct deposit?
You may update your account information in SPRS by using the unique link you received in your email or by calling the Clinical Research Volunteer Program at 301-496-4763 or 800-892-3276 so that your payment will be routed to the proper account.
U.S. Visa ®Debit Card
How do I set up my U.S. Visa® Debit Card once I receive the card by mail?
You will receive a link from ResearchPayments@nih.gov (a no-reply email box) to the NIH service portal. Select option "Debit Card Received" to validate your address and receipt of the card. Then, to activate the card, call the bank's customer service at 800-341-6700/TTY: 800-341-8300 and follow the prompts to activate your service and create your new PIN.
What are the benefits of receiving my payments by U.S. Debit Card?
Some of the benefits of receiving payment on a debit card are that you no longer have to wait for a paper check to be mailed to receive payment or have the risk of a paper check being lost or stolen. Funds on the debit can be accessed directly from the card or transferred to another bank account. Once your debit card is activated, all future payments will automatically be uploaded to the debit card with no action required by you.
How long does it take to receive a U.S Debit card?
A newly issued U.S. Visa® Debit card takes seven to 10 days to receive. However, it will take two to three days for it to be re-loaded with future payments.
How do I confirm receiving my card if I cannot log in to SPRS?
Call the Clinical Research Volunteer Program at 301-496-4763 or 800-892-3276 between 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
What happens if I accidentally confirm receiving my card in SPRS before the debit card arrives?
Please call the Clinical Research Volunteer Program at 301-496-4763 or 800-892-3276 between 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
Why do I have to log in to SPRS and then call the bank to activate my U.S. Visa® Debit Card?
Logging in to SPRS is to make sure the money is going to the right person. For security and privacy reasons, the bank requires that you call them to activate your card.
What will happen if I don't validate my new U.S. Visa® Debit Card in SPRS?
If a new debit card is not validated in SPRS within 14 days of its issue date, your payment will be processed by paper check or direct deposit if banking information is on file.
Will I get a new U.S. Visa® Debit Card each time I receive funds?
No. Future payments can be added to your existing Debit Card via the Money Network® Account tied to your initial card.
How will I know my balance or when funds have been added to my U.S. Visa® Debit Card Account?
There are three easy ways to access your account balance information and transaction history:
- Via balance alerts: The best way to keep track of your balance is to sign up for automatic balance alerts —log in to your account and select the BALANCE NOTIFICATIONS option.
- Online: You can log in and view your balance and transaction history online at any time.
- By phone (automated system): call Money Network Customer Service to hear your balance and transaction history.
Is there an expiration on the debit card?
Cards are Visa® branded and have an expiration of three years. However, you will receive a replacement card before the expiration date of your card.
Issues, Questions, Lost or Stolen
What if my U.S. Debit Card is lost or stolen?
Call Money Network Customer Service at 800-341-6700 (TTY for the deaf and hard of hearing: 800-341-8300 / International: 531-210-3520) to report your lost or stolen card immediately. Your card will be deactivated to prevent anyone from using it, and a new replacement card will be ordered.
Why do I have to call Money Network Customer Service for questions related to my debit card and not the NIH?
Money Network is a service of MetaBank which handles all debit card transactions for the NIH. Because of privacy and security reasons, the bank deals directly with the person receiving the payment. The NIH does not have the authorization to call on your behalf.
What if my compensation is processed electronically, but I still did not get it?
Review your banking information in SPRS to verify it is correct. If you need further assistance, please call the Clinical Research Volunteer Program at 301-496-4763 or 800-892-3276 between 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
How can I sign up my child to get paid (age 17 and under) for EFT?
If the minor has an account with a financial institution, the funds can be sent directly to that account. If the minor does not have an account with a financial institution, funds can be deposited into a parent/legal guardian's account. In addition, debit cards to minors may be activated by a parent using the parent's email address.