Blackhawk Engagement Solutions Research Finds Shoppers Prefer Prepaid Rewards

New research from Blackhawk Network’s incentives division, Blackhawk Engagement Solutions, has uncovered that American shoppers prefer prepaid rewards for post-purchase incentives, even over other options with higher value.

According to Rodney Mason, GVP of Marketing at Blackhawk Engagement Solutions, “Prepaid cards transformed the incentives industry, providing for a simple and universally accepted reward vehicle, which has been steadfastly embraced by shoppers. And Americans not only enjoy prepaid for rewards, they have widely embraced the products as payments tools and gifts for general use.”

Key findings from the research include:

  • Open and closed loop prepaid cards are preferred rewards: When receiving a post-purchase incentive, 64 percent of consumers surveyed would pick a $25 open loop card that could be used everywhere and 36 percent would select a $30 gift card for the store where the purchase was made.
  • Both plastic rewards and digital rewards are in demand: Sixty-one percent of shoppers surveyed would pick a plastic prepaid card for a $25 post-purchase reward and 39 percent would choose a digital eCode. Growth in eCode adoption for incentives has been growing at a faster rate than plastic. However, preferences shift more toward plastic when the reward is higher in denomination; when considering a $100 reward, 68 percent of those surveyed would pick plastic and 32 percent would pick digital.
  • Comfort with digital rewards is significant: Eighty-four percent of consumers surveyed would accept a $25 eCode reward if a plastic reward was not available. Consumers are slightly less likely to accept an eCode the higher the reward amount; 74 percent would accept a $100 eCode reward on a $400 purchase.
  • General acceptance and trust of prepaid products is high: When speaking generally about prepaid products (not just incentives), consumers we surveyed have a very positive perception: 73 percent believe prepaid cards help limit identity fraud, 70 percent believe prepaid cards are safer for online transactions, 67 percent would use exclusive values that require the use of a prepaid card and 64 percent have purchased a prepaid card in the last year. Additionally, prepaid cards are being regularly purchased for self-use: 47 percent of respondents purchase plastic prepaid cards for themselves and 40 percent have purchased e-gifts for themselves.


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