by Alex Palmer | June 13, 2016
While a large majority of shoppers are open to digital e-codes and gift cards, a new study finds that all else being equal, more will opt for a traditional plastic gift card. 

These are some of the finding in "People Prefer Prepaid," a recent report from from engagement company Blackhawk Engagement Solutions. The report, which drew on the online responses of almost 1,700 American consumers, surveyed respondents about their preferences for consumer loyalty incentives and use of prepaid cards.

The report found that 84 percent of consumers surveyed would accept a $25 e-code reward if a plastic reward was not available (though 74 percent said the same of a $100 e-code reward). While 61 percent of respondents said they would pick a $25 plastic prepaid card as a reward for shopping at a store, only 39 percent said the same about receiving a $25 digital e-code. This preference is even more pronounced when the reward value increases: For a $100 reward, 68 percent of respondents preferred plastic and 32 percent selected digital.

"Prepaid cards transformed the incentives industry, providing for a simple and universally accepted reward vehicle, which has been steadfastly embraced by shoppers," said Rodney Mason, global vice president of marketing at Blackhawk Engagement Solutions. "And Americans not only enjoy prepaid for rewards, they have widely embraced the products as payments tools and gifts for general use, an international incentives and engagement company." 

Mason added that the report offers useful insight for businesses that currently use prepaid cards, or are considering using them. "People Prefer Prepaid" also examined preferences between open- and closed-loop prepaid cards as consumer incentives, finding that 64 percent of consumers opted for a $25 open-loop card that could be used at a wide range of retailers, compared to 36 percent who would select a closed-loop gift card for the store where they made the purchase.

The full results of the study, along with infographics, can be viewed here.