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by Alex Palmer | September 20, 2016
Planners looking to make the case for using prepaid gift cards in their programs now have a handy new white paper they can point to. Titled "11 Things You Need to Know About Prepaid Gift Card Programs," the report, from prepaid card solutions provider Berkeley Payment Solutions, offers guidance and best practices for planners looking to integrate prepaid gift cards into their reward, recognition, or promotional programs. 

The Toronto-based firm draws on a number of data points, citing Gallup's findings earlier this year that the percentage of engaged employees is just 32 percent in the U.S., and 13 percent worldwide. It also draws on the company's own "2015 Canadian Incentive and Rewards Trends Study," which found that lack of recognition was the largest factor in why people were unhappy at work -- but that of all the types of rewards, prepaid Visa or MasterCard gift cards were most highly sought after by respondents.

As the title states, the report lays out 11 points for planners to consider when integrating prepaid cards into their programs. The first is that while prepaid cards are cost effective, through customization, they can convey a much higher value. 

"Consider a prepaid card for employee rewards," it says. "It becomes a talking point when paying for coffees, business lunches, or gifts -- plus, whatever is purchased becomes immediately and positively associated with the corporate brand."

Emphasizing the variety of prepaid cards available, the report outlines the main types of cards as well, including reloadable cards, promotional cards, virtual prepaid cards, and Merchant Category Codes restricted cards. One point urges planners to "Understand Your Shipping Needs" (adjusting if they are sending large or small quantities, to a single address or to numerous individual addresses), while another emphasizes the importance of reviewing all program fees and terms. 

It also suggests planners keep in mind the "tip tolerance" feature, where at places like restaurants and hotels, a card user might add a tip to his or her final bill, giving it a total above the card's value. 

The final point made by the report states that, "It's important to know who is in control of the funds that are loaded on the cards. The program manager should be partnered with a substantial issuing bank that holds the funds and has the resources to secure not just your program, but all the prepaid programs in operation."