Buyer’s guide to electronic motivation vouchers

The facts: 

What are electronic motivation vouchers?

Electronic motivation vouchers are electronic cards or vouchers that can be loaded or topped up with a monetary value. These can be spent at a single store or at multiple retailers.

Where can employers get more information?

The UK Gift Card and Voucher Association at

Who are the main providers?

Some of the biggest players in the market include: Edenred, Grass Roots, Love2reward, Next Jump, Ovation Incentives, People Value, Personal Group, Red Letter Days, Reward Gateway, SVM and The Voucher Shop.

Business-to-business (B2B) gift cards and vouchers have been growing in popularity over the last few years, and well over half (60%) of the members of industry trade body the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association (UKGCVA) reported sales growth in the first half of 2016.

From travel gift cards, to discount cards and gift cards that can be used with a wide range of retailers, the vouchers often have a universal appeal to individuals of all ages.

More than half (54%) of the UK’s £5 billion gift card and voucher market is B2B, and much of that is spent on employee rewards, according to the UKGCVA.

Technological capabilities

Electronic vouchers and cards can be topped up multiple times, remotely and with any value, typically starting at £5. These can then be spent in-store or online by their recipients, making the reward process much more convenient.

Employers can also choose to use e-cards, which are delivered electronically and can be of any value. This is a cost-effective way to deliver motivation vouchers to staff because the employer pays less than the face value of the reward, then benefits from the fact that there are no delivery costs involved because the e-code is sent via email.

Alongside ease of administration and delivery, motivation vouchers can also be cost-effective thanks to bulk-purchasing discounts, typically between 2.5% and 7.5%. Employers can choose to take the saving or pass it on to the employee in the form of a greater reward.

Electronic vouchers

Electronic cards and vouchers come in three forms: open-loop cards, which use payment networks such as Visa or MasterCard and are accepted at multiple retailers; closed-loop cards, which are redeemable at one specific retailer; and restricted-use cards, which can be used at selected retailers.

To ensure this type of reward is truly motivational, it is important that employers consider their workforce demographic by offering brands that meet the desires and aspirations of recipients. If an employer can tailor the type of voucher it offers its staff, it can show it is truly singling out and celebrating individual employees.

Options include retail spending, travel and restaurant vouchers, and experience days, such as spa days, trips to the theatre or adventure activities. These are popular because of their flexibility, but also because the recipient can include a friend or family member.

Employers can also brand the vouchers with the organisation’s name and logo, positioning the reward as part of a wider benefits programme.

Mobile and electronic devices

A key development in the motivation card and voucher market is the use of mobile devices, smartphones and tablets. For instance, awards can be sent as e-codes via online devices and then redeemed straight from the device in-store.

The shift from paper to card to electronic delivery continues to gather momentum, as employers and providers adopt technologies that deliver greater efficiencies and cost benefits.

The benefits of electronic and virtual gift cards are significant, including reduced fulfilment times, associated costs and the added impact of receiving an instant reward.


  • 60% of the members of industry trade body the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association (UKGCVA) reported sales growth in the first half of 2016 (Source: UK Gift Card and Voucher Association)
  • 26% of employees cite the lack of reward and recognition for good work as their main grievance at work (Source: Perkbox, October 2016)
  • 37% of employee respondents receive praise and recognition when they do good work (Source: Dragonfish, February 2017)