Whether you’re picking out rewards for your latest wellness program, incentives for your sales team, or end-of-the-year business gifts for your clients, you want to make sure you’re offering the best, most rewarding experience you can. Prepaid cards are a natural choice because the recipient can spend the funds on something they’re sure to enjoy. But how do you determine what type of card to purchase?
Single-merchant prepaid cards may be too limiting if you have a fairly diverse audience. One employee may not have any use for a hardware store, and another employee might take public transportation and have no use for a gas card. A card for a specific restaurant might not appeal to clients who have specific dietary concerns you aren’t aware of. You need something with more options so your recipients have the freedom of choice.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from single-merchant cards are universally accepted cards. These cards can be used virtually everywhere. However, these cards come with some drawbacks. The complete freedom of this reward comes with additional fees for you to pay as the reward-giver. As counterintuitive as it sounds, recipients are less likely to purchase something they’ll really enjoy, too. Even though the card is a gift, they may decide to spend the money on something they need, or feel “guilty” about using it for an indulgence.
Fortunately, there’s a middle ground between single merchant and universally accepted cards. Selective acceptance cards, like the DirectSpend®*cards offered by InteliSpend, give you and your recipients the best of both worlds. These cards can be used at carefully selected merchants, sometimes around a specific theme like entertainment or dining. They offer much more freedom of choice than a single-merchant card, but often have lower fees than universally accepted cards. Selective acceptance encourages recipients to spend the funds on special, indulgent items. They don’t feel they should be using the prepaid card to pay bills or go grocery shopping.
There has to be a catch, right? We wanted to be sure, so we ran some numbers on the spending patterns for universally accepted cards and selective acceptance cards. What we discovered was a bit surprising – the spending patterns were nearly identical:
Cardholders are making the same choices with selective acceptance cards that they are with universally accepted cards, but with a more guilt-free experience. So why spend the extra money to provide universally accepted cards when a selective acceptance prepaid card can give your program the same success?
*DirectSpend is a merchant acceptance process that allows you to decide where the card can be spent and is protected by U.S. Patent Numbers 5,689,100 and 5,956,695 Canadian Patent Number 2,215,969.