Advantages & Limitations of Using Mastercard Gift Cards for Employees

Employee rewards and recognition programs are one of the many small ways a company can thank the hard workers that make what it does a reality. Any incentive program has a few key factors to ensure it fairly represents the company’s employees and provides the same compensation rules to all whom it encompasses. In this article, we will discuss the benefits and limitations of using a Mastercard gift card for employee incentives as well as a brief overview of the most important aspects of an incentive program. 

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Gift Card Granny is an online service that supplies gift cards from many retailers. Gift Card Granny makes it easy to buy and send customized gift cards online and earn cash back while you do. Gift Card Granny carries thousands of local and national brands, including Visa gift cards, Mastercard gift cards, and gift cards for many amazing retailers.

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Another popular gift-giving site is GiftYa, which also offers customizable eGift cards! GiftYa lets you add custom photos or videos to all your gifts in the form of a virtual gift wrapper. A GiftYa can be sent by text or email, so the gift is always delivered within minutes. You can also schedule the gift to be sent on a specific date, such as a birthday or holiday. With over 16,000 local merchants and 280 national merchants usable at over 230k locations across the US, you can find the perfect gift for anyone!

Without further ado, let’s start the discussion on the advantages and limitations of using Mastercard Gift Cards for Employees. 

A small rewards program goes a long way. Using Mastercard gift cards for employee incentives is an excellent way to go above and beyond. 

Mastercard Gift Cards for Employees: Advantages and Limitations

Gift cards make a great gift. They are easy to spend, have a lot of flexibility, and give employees a sense of accomplishment. Gift card rewards to specific stores are great, but it means you and your company must decide which gift cards are available, and it is almost inevitable that someone at your company will feel left out when they don’t really need any of the gift cards offered through the rewards program. A Mastercard gift card solves that problem. Unfortunately, there are limitations to this card’s use in employee rewards programs as well. Let’s jump into the advantages and limitations of Mastercard gift cards for employees. 

Advantages of Using Mastercard Gift Cards for Employees

Mastercard gift cards are an excellent way to reward employees for great work within your company. This section will cover the advantages of using Mastercard gift cards for employees, focusing on both the company and employees. 


Perhaps the best boon of using Mastercard gift card for employee incentives is how easy they are to use. There is no risk of certain employees lacking any desire for the rewards in the program because these gift cards are spendable anywhere. A prepaid gift card as a gift is equivalent to handing over cash or a check. Prepaid gift cards are excellent gifts for pragmatic recipients as well as those to whom money is the best gift. The card aspect also makes the gift a bit more personal than, for instance, handing over a five dollar bill for the rewards. 


Retailers like Gift Card Granny allow bulk customization of Mastercard gift cards for employee rewards. You can design your card with a logo, photo, and gift message. Adding your company logo is an added bonus, as it serves as a bit of advertising for your business. 

Virtual or Plastic

Many gift card retailers, like Gift Card Granny, allow you to purchase virtual or plastic gift cards in bulk for your company. The virtual gift cards are sent immediately to your email address, and the plastic cards are shipped. Plastic gift cards are a bit more fun to receive, and it is easy to add the card to their wallet and use it at the appropriate time. 

The case for virtual gift cards has gone up with the use of Apple and Google Pay. It is super easy to add a prepaid gift card to your phone’s wallet and scan it at a register. The danger of losing the physical card — and the money it had — is gone when it is added to your phone’s wallet! 

Order in Bulk

Making bulk orders (50 cards or more) easy using Gift Card Granny. When you begin your rewards program, one of our tips is a quick turnaround between an employee earning a gift and receiving it. Bulk orders of Mastercard gift cards for employee rewards are an excellent way to ensure that you have enough to start the program. 

Limitations of Using Mastercard Gift Cards for Employees

Prepaid Mastercard gift cards are great rewards, but they alone will not a well-rounded rewards program make. This section will cover the limitations of using Mastercard gift cards for employee rewards.


Prepaid Mastercard gift cards often have purchase and activation fees. These fees are only a few dollars per card, but they add up when you purchase them in bulk. The fees make Mastercard gift cards less efficient than other monetary rewards. A dormancy fee also kicks in after one year of inactivity. This rarely comes into play, as most people who have had a prepaid gift card for over a year have misplaced it or aren’t going to use it. 

Splitting Purchases

Splitting purchases is the unfortunate fate of any prepaid gift card. In order to fully use the balance of the card, you must ring up a purchase that’s greater than the amount and split the bill with another form of payment. Many retailers have procedures in place to make this easy, but the extra steps are enough to keep people from using any change on their Mastercard gift card. 


Alas! Prepaid gift cards are taxable income. This becomes more important as gifted amounts increase. Gift cards for employees are a cash equivalent. This is not a big deal at the end of the day, but pairing this with the additional fees of using a prepaid gift card makes these gifts much less cash-effective, especially in small amounts, than a check. 

Mastercard gift card benefits and limitations make it a good choice for an employee rewards program, but it works best when it is paired with other options for rewards. 

What are Employee Rewards? 

We’ve covered the pros and cons of Mastercard gift cards for employees, but in order to implement them in employee rewards, you must also have a program that’s up and running! To whom it may concern: Employee rewards are the bonuses and gifts given to employees who perform above their expectations or hit specific work-related goals. Anything employees receive outside of their standard compensation package falls into this category. These gifts come in many shapes and sizes, including parties, extra time off, and extra compensation. Mastercard gift cards for employee rewards are, in essence, extra compensation to your employees. Using Mastercard gift cards for employee incentives is a great way to deliver bonuses that every team member appreciates. 

Difference Between Employee Rewards and Recognition

Before we get into the program design, it is important to note the difference between employee rewards and employee recognition. 

  • Employee rewards programs are additional items given to employees as a bonus for their performance, be it monetary or non-monetary. 
  • Employee recognition programs do not give employees additional items. Instead, recognition programs center around public or private congratulations given to employees based on their performance. 

Both of these programs are excellent ways to keep up company morale, but it is important to be transparent with your employees about the rewards and recognition of the program. We will discuss this in depth later, but it is very important to inform employees of the program’s rewards before it begins. Employees may react negatively if the reward differs from their expectations, often if they expected a monetary gift and received something they considered less valuable. There are many benefits to using Mastercard gift cards for employee recognition programs as small ways to congratulate employees and help them feel that their work is seen. 

How Can Employee Rewards Programs Help Your Company?

A little bit goes a long way with employee rewards programs. As these are optional, employers have a lot of room to create a program they feel best fits the current company situation. It is important, however, to understand the benefits of an employee rewards program so you can best cater to what your employees will appreciate. Employee rewards programs are great for: 

  • Showing appreciation to hard workers
  • Boosting motivation and productivity 
  • Encouraging friendly competition
  • Creating a positive work environment
  • Decrease employee turnover

A good rewards program is amazing for a company. It is important to create a program that rewards employees consistently without creating too much of an expense for the company. Programs can quickly grow more and more expensive. 

How to Create a Successful Employee Rewards Program

It is difficult to construct a program that hits all those benefits. You want to think about the budget, the company’s vision, and potential rewards before you get too far into the process, as they are all limiting factors in their own way. This section will give our best tips for designing a successful employee rewards program. 

Figure out why you need an employee rewards program

The worst thing you can do in this situation is promise something you cannot deliver. Knowing, foundationally, why you want to start this program will guide you in every step of your process. So, before you get too far, ask yourself why you need one and how it will help your company. 

Set a budget

Another important step. You should know how much you can spend on your rewards program before setting your sights too high. There is always room to change the budget in the future, and that’s why Mastercard gift cards for employees are an excellent place to start. Since they come in at any dollar amount, you can shift the denomination of the gifts depending on the size of your budget. 

Set rewards and goals for employees

Before you start the program, it is important to have every tier of reward planned out, as well as clear rules and regulations regarding how employees will reach those rewards. This keeps the program fair, which is very important. There are lots of good ways to set rewards and goals for employees, and as you continue in this process, you should ask your employees what interests them. You may discover that many of them are most interested in Mastercard gift cards for employee recognition or that they really enjoy the cheesy corporate parties that celebrate their progress (and let them head home early that day). 

Stay transparent

Always let your employees know what the rewards are and how to achieve them. Don’t hint at big prizes in the future or keep certain criteria to yourself, as it will always result in negative feedback from your employees. Just as employees are often very excited by rewards programs, they will quickly turn to anger if the rewards they deserve are whisked away. 

Start the program

After all that, it is time to start the program.  We recommend releasing a handbook or guide on how the program works and all of the reward tiers that clearly outline your program both to your employees and for yourself. Good luck! 

Mastercard gift card employee rewards help everyone stay focused and put their best foot forward during the work day. 

Mastercard Gift Cards for Employees: Advantages and Limitations

We hope that this article has helped you decide whether or not to use these cards for your rewards program and how the Mastercard gift card benefits and limitations would shape this program in your company. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of using Mastercard gift cards for employee rewards? 

There are numerous advantages when using Mastercard gift cards for employee incentives, including increasing the program’s awareness, gift card customizability, and flexibility in the reward program.

What are the limitations of using Mastercard gift cards for employee incentives? 

Gift cards as employee incentives become taxable income if the value exceeds $100. If the value exceeds that bar, all of the gift card rewards are considered taxable income, not just the amount over $100.

How can I customize Mastercard gift cards for my employees? 

There are various online retailers, like Gift Card Granny, that allow customization of Mastercard gift cards for employee rewards. These options include custom photos, logos, and gift messages. 

How do I order Mastercard gift cards in bulk for my business? 

You can order Mastercard gift cards in bulk on Gift Card Granny. Using that option, you can order over 50 gift cards with customization options, which is perfect for an employee rewards program. 

Can I track employee spending on Mastercard gift cards?

No, you cannot track employee spending on Mastercard gift cards.