Gift cards come in many flavors, but the most common for an incentive program is the reloadable card, which can be used over and over. A company can continue to add value to the card as goals are achieved.
Some reloadable cards carry a major credit card brand, such as VISA or MasterCard, while others are merchant-specific. The benefit of credit cards is that they can be used anywhere the employee chooses. The merchant-specific option is a little less expensive, but not as flexible. Companies can also decide whether to include an automated teller machine feature with the cards, which allows winners to withdraw cash rather than make a purchase.
Many companies add personal touches to cards, such as the cardholder's name and the company logo or incentive program slogan. This creates a constant reminder for the employee of his or her participation and success. Generic cards, which carry just the logo of the issuing bank, can reduce the cost, but are less personal.
It's important to ask yourself what you want to accomplish with a debit card program, say incentive experts. Do you want to recognize the employee one time, or are you looking for an incentive you can use to regularly reward employees? How much freedom do you want to allow people in spending the money? Are you trying to create a marketing statement as well with the cards?
For a chart comparing various debit-card options, visit the Incentive Solutions Web site at www.incentivesolutions.com/glance/index.html.