by Alex Palmer | September 29, 2017
Reward solution provider Hawk Incentives, a Blackhawk Network business, has unveiled a new open-loop Mastercard prepaid cards that can be added to major mobile wallets. While many digital wallet offerings have been geared toward mass-consumer applications, such as banking cards, this is the first single-load incentive reward card to be available in the digital wallet. 

The new product leverages Blackhawk's Digital Pass technology, and can connect to consumers' existing loyalty membership or to an employer's points, recognition, or sales incentive platform, creating the potential for a one-time reward to create a longer-term connection. 

"It doesn't have to just be consumer loyalty points -- it can be any data feed from any traditional incentive or recognition solutions," Theresa McEndree, vice president of marketing for Hawk Incentives, told Incentive. "You're providing someone with an award that they can use how they want to use and creating a much more immediate delivery by leveraging the virtual Mastercard. You've got a faster reward, you can use it how you want it." 

She emphasized that this new offering expands the ways that a recipient can use the card, adding the convenience of mobile redemption without subtracting the option of a physical card.

"This is really taking rewards, which have traditionally been either physical or digital, and making it an omnichannel product," said McEndree. "Now you can email a reward to a participant in real time -- so you've completely taken mail out of the equation -- and you get the virtual Mastercard product and can add it to the wallet, which is option for people who have adopted the technology or who want to test using it, but you can also use the virtual card online or request a physical card."

The new product represents a further step in incentive gift card solution providers' embrace of mobile.

"The promise of mobile wallets and what that means for marketers is constantly evolving," said McEndree. "A person's mobile phone is the most coveted real estate for any marketer today. You spend more time of your waking hours with your phone in your hand, engaged."