Top Five Reasons Why Gift Card Incentives Are Better Than Cash Incentives

Cash is the most traditional and popular reward for recognition in the workplace. However, these days gift card rewards are quickly climbing to the top of the ranks. There is a surge in the popularity of gift card programs, and for a good reason. The reason why employers prefer to give gift cards as gifts instead of cash is that these gift cards provide an opportunity to cater to the interests and wants of the recipient. This article outlines the top five reasons gift card incentives are better than cash incentives.

  • A memorable experience is created by gift cards

Incentives are given to the employees so that their positive behavior can be reinforced and specific results can be driven. The main motive of incentives is to make participants remember why they were rewarded. Gift cards allow employers to create an experience that participants will remember and provide them with something tangible. This becomes a lasting reminder of their achievement, while recipients usually forget about cash incentives.

  • Gift cards are not viewed as part of the compensation

Cash rewards are oftentimes considered an additional compensation and thus, disappear into the family budget. This leads to fading away of the positive feeling being rewarded for exceptional performance. Whereas gift card rewards are not associated with additional compensation and thus, do not disappear easily.

  • Gift cards allow combining the benefits of merchandise and cash rewards

By offering gift cards to the participants, they might feel excited about shopping the rewards catalog and flexible enough to buy what they want online, in-store, or in-app. Also, gift cards are the most efficient way of promoting the brand. A business can get customized gift cards with its brand logo. This will help potential customers easily remember and recognize the brand logo.

  • Gift cards can be shared with loved ones

Gift cards can be further shared with the participant’s family leading to a shared redemption experience. When participants’ families are involved in selecting rewards, participants feel more connected to the particular company.

  • Gift cards are more personal

It is not a non-specific gesture like cash, but a gift that has more personal value. The recipients are offered the flexibility of spending the gift card on what they want, making the reward more personalized to them as compared to merchandise catalogs which restrict the choices of redemption options. With an internal gift card program, participants will have the choice of ways how they want to redeem their reward. These could include cinema tickets, contributing to family holidays, having a meal in restaurants, shopping from a reputable store, etc.


From the ease of administration to cost-effectiveness, gift card rewards offer many benefits over cash for HR departments. Almost all businesses offering non-cash rewards in their recognition program consider gift cards more effective compared to cash incentives. Gift card incentives are more personal and memorable compared to cash incentives.

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