May 02, 2022

Prepaid cards for employees: everything you need to know

What are prepaid cards for employees?

Prepaid cards are a customisable payment solution that can be used for a variety of reasons such as customer loyalty and general disbursements. For this post, we’re going to look at using them as an employee incentive.

When businesses use prepaid cards as incentives for staff, they are typically looking to reward people for their efforts as a way of driving motivation and keeping employees engaged.

The popularity of prepaid cards being used by organisations using them as incentives, rewards and recognition for employees. has soared over the past decade. Research conducted in the US found that two out of three employees would prefer a prepaid card or retail gift card over any other type of incentive. And a Harvard study showed employees were on average 31% more productive and achieved 37% more sales when they received incentives and rewards for their ongoing efforts.

View our full range of prepaid cards here.

How do prepaid cards work for employees?

A prepaid card works in the exact same way as any other debit card that is used as a way of paying for things. It is much like a gift card; except you’re not restricted to using it with specific brands.

A prepaid card allows the owner to spend whatever amount of money has been loaded onto the card, and once the balance is spent, the card can be topped up and reused.

A good comparison to use is a Pay As You Go mobile phone – once the balance is used up, the owner can’t make any calls or send any messages until the SIM card is topped up again.

When should you give employees a prepaid card?

Using prepaid cards is a great way to deliver the ultimate reward for your employees, and it can be used for a number of events or occasions. These could include:

  • Long service
  • Performance milestones
  • Incentives to meet specific targets
  • Celebration – birthday, anniversary and / or another special occasion

At Blackhawk Network, we manage hundreds of prepaid card programmes for our clients who reward their teams. We work with businesses directly to create the most effective programme that has the right results for the brand, using a variety of configurable options.

5 benefits of prepaid cards for employees

When an employee goes above and beyond, they want to be rewarded with something that feels like a gift. Everyone loves a gift! Prepaid cards are the perfect solution for ad hoc, surprise and delight type recognitions.

Here are the main benefits for employees:

Instant access

Businesses can reward their employees with prepaid cards, and the recipient will be able to access the funds immediately after they have been loaded onto the card.

Digital and physical

Prepaid cards can be gifted as physical cards that can be used in the same way as a bank card used for personal purchasing or digitally and uploaded onto the recipient’s smartphone wallet. We found that when it comes to rewards, 65% of people said they want the ability to add a reward to a mobile wallet.


A prepaid card is fully protected with a PIN and must be activated by the intended recipient, so if it’s lost or stolen the user can cancel it.

Inclusive and available for all

Regardless of the recipient’s credit score, prepaid cards are available. There is no bank account required and no credit check is carried out.

Easy to use

Recipients can use our range of prepaid cards like any other credit or debit card, online and in store, with contactless, where available.

If you’d like support with distributing prepaid cards to your employees as a reward or incentive, get in touch via our contact form on the right or call 0203 758 4313.