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The Office of Personnel Management has concluded that cash surrogates are an appropriate option for delivering cash awards, subject to all the limitations and requirements that apply to cash awards. A current example of a cash surrogate is "gift cheque" purchased through a vendor and easily and widely redeemable for cash, not merchandise. Recipients of cash surrogates must have the same freedom and control over how that award may be used as they would have over currency or a U.S. Treasury check, including the option of saving the money or turning it over to any third party (e.g., a charity or other individual). Consequently, cash surrogates must meet the following criteria:
They are subject to all the limitations and requirements that apply to cash awards.
They must be easily and immediately convertible to cash.
They must not be limited to be redeemed only where purchased, at a few selected sites outside the agency, or through specific vendors.
If purchased from a vendor or financial institution, they are subject to all relevant procurement regulations.
Cash surrogates should not be confused with merchant gift certificates.
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