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Buying International Gift Cards For Your Employees

Buying International Gift Cards For Your Employees

Want to show appreciation for a job well done? Are you setting up your first employee appreciation program - or building a more complex one?  An international prepaid card can help you deliver a perfect gift for your recipients wherever they live and has some flexibility to potentially be offered in the main currency they would use. A prepaid debit card or a personal gift card is safer than sending cash or money orders. 

Today we’ll look at some of the ways organizations use gift cards to offer a personal gift card to their employees, and how this type of award can provide a more personal touch than a direct deposit bonus or a cash payment. We’ll also go over how gift cards make more sense than a physical gift card, and how to make sending gift cards easier. 

Visa gift card, Mastercard, or Amex for international recipients 

Visa, with its tagline "it’s everywhere you want to be" makes an excellent choice for international gift card recipients. The Visa card is widely recognized and accepted by thousands in the global retailer market.

Likewise, the card issuer Mastercard has an assortment of prepaid gift card options makes them a favorite for gift card programs. The MasterCard gift card is useful both as a domestic payment method and international recipients being accepted by thousands of international merchants. 

A third popular payment method for offering international employee reward options is American Express. These cards are more useful than a physical gift certificate. 

Because of their international reach, many organizations offer gift cards as part of their employee incentive programs. They rely on the Visa gift card for providing monetary incentives and provide a transaction they can actually use to reward employees with something they’ll love.

Organizations that use gift cards for appreciation, marketing, and sales purposes also use this visa gift card as a reward for different programs. Some of the most popular programs for using an international prepaid card include:

  • Customer welcome gift
  • New client sign-on bonuses
  • Customer referral gifts
  • Upgrade bonuses
  • Years of service rewards
  • Win-back campaigns
  • Customer refund programs
  • Marketing incentive programs

Buying a gift card for your team overseas

For many organizations, meeting the needs of distributed teams and remote workers can make incentive programs a bit more challenging. For these organizations, gift cards offer a great way to offer an employee gift while delivering a valuable prepaid card they will be able to use locally and with less customer care required than other options.

Buying a Visa card, American Express card, or another prepaid egift card for your employees overseas ensures that they will be able to take advantage of the generous incentives you provide.

Generic Visa gift cards, Americans Express cards, Mastercard prepaid card options, and debit cards can be used at international merchants for a variety of purposes:

  • Food and beverage rewards
  • Hobby and measure
  • Travel rewards
  • Items for Home and Family
  • Experiences such as sports events and theater
  • Employee recognition gifts

Giving a reward gift card still requires a level of personalization in your delivery method, but can offer employees in remote locations a chance to enjoy a gift courtesy of their employer.

What to know about using gift cards for an employee recognition program

Gift cards are a wonderful way to provide encouragement for your contributors, without the need to send cash. When using gift cards in place of tangible personal property (like swag) or other non cash awards, you should be aware of a few specifics: 

  • Gift cards are treated as a cash equivalent for tax purposes. While swag or another specific item (like a holiday turkey) is covered under de minimis fringe benefit rules, gift cards are not. 
  • Unlike employee non-cash awards, gift cards are taxed as additional compensation (just like cash gifts) to the recipient. 
  • To avoid gifts becoming taxable income for your recipients, it's a good idea to reflect the extra taxed amount in the gift and withhold it to satisfy tax requirements for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 
  • International recipients may have the same tax implications as domestic recipients. Report any taxable compensation or cash contribution you make to an employee, and “gross up” the amount of the gift to withhold taxes and avoid implications for the recipient. 
  • While gifts are taxable, they are also still deductible as business expenses. 

Please note: The above tips are not tax or legal advice. Be sure to check with your accountant or tax advisor when giving cash equivalent gifts or preparing tax or withholding for employees. 

Where to buy international gift cards

There are several ways to source gift cards in bulk for delivery to your remote employees and recipients. Some options have advantages over others. Three common ways of sourcing employee gift cards are:

Domestic bulk gift card purchase - Many retailers allow you to buy an egift card in bulk either through an online portal or at the point of sale. You should note that these bulk purchases may require activation fees.

Online gift card portal - The secondary gift card markets are plentiful and may offer some level of discount for purchases. Despite this, the reliability of these sources varies and may not be suitable for corporate gift card programs.

Corporate gift card platform - Large organizations and small business entities often utilize a gift card platform for delivering and tracking gift cards for their employees. A corporate egift card platform offers the potential for discounts and the ease of a dynamic sending platform while providing a high level of security and reliability.

Benefits of using Runa to send gift cards internationally

For administering the delivery of hundreds or thousands of gift cards to employees, it’s important to use a platform that makes delivery and tracking easy. Using Runa as your recognition platform offers a robust suite of features and tools to make implementing your gift cards easy. 

We offer easy ways to roll out employee recognition and cash reward programs:

Easy UI: Using the Runa platform gives you excellent feature control with no barriers to entry. Our platform is easy to use, requires little to no training, and does not rely on an in-house developer to build programs. Users can get started with their next gifting program with just a credit card and a list of email addresses.

Best customer service: For times when users have a question or need individual support, our customer service team is knowledgeable and friendly. We offer a first-in-class customer service experience to make your employee incentive programs easy to implement.

Instant digital delivery: Gifting programs using a gift card platform can provide an easy implementation for your administrator and instant gratification for your recipient. Unlike other gift programs that require manual processing of packages, shipping, and tracking, digital delivery of gift cards is fast and easy. Tracking and reporting are automatic.

International options: Our top-performing selection of domestic and international gift card options, visa debit cards, and other employee gift card options makes it easy to reward every member of your team with gifts that they can use locally.

Reporting features: The Runa platform offers a robust sweet of reporting and analysis tools. These tools allow users to analyze and understand how they are gift card programs are performing, and reveal areas for improvement. From the dashboard, you can see utilization rates, preferences from your users, and other useful information for making data-driven decisions.

Balance recapture: The ability to recover unused portions of a gift card balance makes a gift card platform like Runa a great tool for optimizing spending and realizing cost savings. Balance recapture allows you to use more of your budget to impact your recipients and improve your business outcomes.

Get started with Runa for your next employee benefits program

Ready to move beyond swag and send an employee gift they’ll actually love? It all starts with the right tool. 

Our simple platform makes it easy to offer egift cards in place of costly and inefficient employee non cash awards (no one needs more T-shirts and tumblers). A digital gift card is a welcome treat that can increase employee engagement and make human resources programs easier to implement. 

Check out a demo of the Runa platform today to learn more, and you’ll be ready to send your next holiday gift or performance bonus with the ease of a digital platform.

Ready to start buying gift cards internationally? Let us show you how, with a free demo.