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Total & available balance explained

On your account general page you will be able to see your account balance. Here there will be four figures available:

Total balance

This is the total amount in your account. This figure is made up of all top ups you've made and any Prolific credit you've received (e.g. a referral bonus), minus any funds spent on participant payments (such as approved submissions or bonus payments).

Project funds

This is the amount of your total balance that you have available for participant payments. For example, this could be spent on approvals or bonus payments.

Service fees

This is the amount of your total balance pre-paid to Prolific as service fees. For relevant researchers, this will also include VAT.

Available balance

This is the amount of your total balance that is available for you to spend on further studies. Funds required for active studies (including those that are awaiting review) are reserved from your total balance. Once submissions for these studies are approved, your total balance will reduce accordingly. The available balance is therefore your total balance minus the amount being reserved for active studies.

Please note that to increase places for a study, or to publish a new one, your available balance must be high enough to cover the costs of the additional participants. If you stop an active study before it reaches the number of maximum submissions, any unspent funds from the participants you did not recruit will be restored to your available balance for use elsewhere.


In the example above, this researcher has topped up their account with £90. This has been divided up into £60 being available for participant payments, and £30 for service fees.

This researcher has an active study. Some of their total balance is reserved until the active study is completed, which has left the researcher with £33.87 available to spend on another study.

Why is my balance showing a negative / incorrect amount?

If you've recently processed a large number of approvals or bonus payments, it's possible that our system will still be processing these when you check your balance. Therefore, our system may temporarily display an incorrect balance (e.g. a negative amount).

When this occurs, and you're sure that you have no outstanding payments on any active studies, we'd recommend waiting ~10 minutes, then logging out and back in. This should give our system sufficient time to process any remaining payments, and refresh your balance to the correct amount.

If you still see an incorrect balance after logging back in and are not sure why, feel free to contact Support via the button below. 

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