by Jennifer Worley | October 25, 2016
As simple reward vehicles, gift and prepaid cards have transformed the incentives industry by becoming a preferred choice for rewards. According to a recent study by our company, Blackhawk Engagement Solutions, 64 percent of the people surveyed would choose prepaid cards as a reward over other options when given a choice. Incentive buyers are looking to vendors to help map out a corporate incentive plan and identify the best gift card and prepaid reward solutions. But what exactly should you expect your vendor to be able to deliver? We have narrowed the list to five things that every incentive buyer should be able to rely on their vendor to do. 

Deep Understanding of Prepaid Reward Card Options 
When you're searching for the best gift card and prepaid rewards, start by partnering with a full-service provider that has a comprehensive reward portfolio. More than that, your vendor should have a deep understanding of the available prepaid reward options -- and recommendations about what your participants want. There are many available rewards that sometimes are overlooked. If a vendor does not have a broad understanding and offering, you may not get the best rewards for your business or brand's unique incentives challenges.  

Compliance Management
Incentive programs for large companies are often complicated. Add the constantly changing regulations on prepaid, and it can take a lot of your time and resources to ensure that your rewards are in compliance. When searching for a vendor, it's important to look for a partner with a compliance-centric culture that will work to protect your business and your stakeholders by continuously monitoring applicable regulations. Valuable vendor partners are familiar with the laws and regulations surrounding reward compliance. Their assistance in helping you use rewards in a secure manner in terms of data and distribution, ensures your reward recipients are well-protected. 

Program Management from End to End
Your vendor should be able to offer you the capability to manage your program from end to end -- from what the program and rewards look like and where they can be used, to the approval process and how they are delivered. Your vendor should be able to receive your program goals, challenges and instructions and take it from there. It's convenient for your business to be able to benefit from a vendor's licenses with partners like Visa and MasterCard along with their knowledge of the program approval processes, but it's also valuable to be advised on when to build your own card, what your card branding should look like, etc. 

Card Filtering 
One of the benefits of partnering with a gift card and prepaid vendor is the variety and access to a broad range of merchant relationships that your brand or business wouldn't be able to reach through your own marketing efforts. Card filtering platforms allow you to filter redemption to selected merchants to provide a unique reward experience. 

Flexibility of Product Capabilities
To provide the most effective solution for your business, a vendor should be able to offer flexibility in its product capabilities and options. It should offer fully customizable cards in a wide range of denominations, including single-load cards and reloadable cards with various fulfillment options. Simply put, a vendor's breadth of products and options needs to be able to match the size of your business and the scope of your program in order to maximize the program's potential. Depending on the size and global reach of your business, it is also worth examining the international capabilities of any potential vendor. Dedicated multilingual support for your team and your program participants might be necessary if your program will span several currencies and languages. 

With the convenience, variety and customization that prepaid cards offer, it's easy to see why so many companies are choosing prepaid rewards for their corporate incentive programs. Identifying a full-service prepaid rewards vendor with deep knowledge, end-to-end program management capabilities and vast product offerings will ensure your organization has the best possible experience using prepaid rewards.   

Jennifer Worley is vice president of product rewards at Blackhawk Engagement Solutions, the leader in customized incentive and engagement solutions for consumer promotions, employee rewards, and indirect sales channel marketing programs.