SOURCE: The Incentive Research Foundation

May 01, 2012 15:42 ET

IGCC and IRF Research Shows Recipients Prefer the Control and Personalization Gift Cards Provide vs. Cash

ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwire - May 1, 2012) - A new study by the Incentive Gift Card Council (IGCC) and the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) shows that prepaid gift cards are one of the most popular ways to motivate and reward employees. This is due, primarily, to the control and personalization they present. Researchers found that when offered a prepaid card or its equivalent in cash, survey respondents chose a prepaid card by a ratio of five to one.

"We found that reward recipients are more likely to mentally classify prepaid cards as guilt-free spending versus cash," explains IRF President Melissa Van Dyke, "and they're more likely to add the value of that prepaid card to their monthly budget, rather than simply replace it, as they do with cash."

The study is called It's In the Cards: An In-depth Look at Prepaid Cards in Incentives, Reward and Recognition Programs. The IRF reviewed the most recent business and academic literature on gift card usage and conducted two new primary research surveys on the state of gift card use for reward and recognition programs within the U.S. Other key findings include:

  • 44% of survey respondents -- the largest share by far -- say that prepaid cards are their favorite type of gift or reward.
  • Prepaid cards are now the most frequently used reward in corporate incentive programs, with more than two-thirds of corporations using them. Prepaid cards are being used across the spectrum, from spot rewards to holiday bonuses.
  • Nearly half of the reward & recognition program planners surveyed say that, dollar for dollar, prepaid cards are the most effective reward available, and more than 75% believe they're among the most effective of all rewards -- especially in driving loyalty and engagement.

"When you consider that over 65% of recipients say they remember what they purchased and that many attribute that positive memory to the person or company that gave them the card, it's easy to see how the organization receives a significant benefit as well," says Betty Weinkle, Vice President of Corporate Wellness at SpaFinder, Inc., and Past President of IGCC.

For more on this important study, go to

About the Incentive Gift Card Council:
The Incentive Gift Card Council ( is a strategic industry group within Incentive Marketing Association, created to provide an awareness of gift cards/certificates as a viable option for use in premium and incentive programs. The association has worked to educate the industry on the benefits of gift cards/certificates, including choice, value and service, and attributes recipients say that they want their awards to have.

About the IRF:
The Incentive Research Foundation ( funds and promotes research to advance the science and enhance the awareness and appropriate application of motivation and incentives in business and industry globally. The goal is to increase the understanding, effective use, and resultant benefits of incentives to businesses that currently use incentives and others interested in improved performance.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Jon Lieb/Lois Russo
    IRF Media Relations