Compare: Business Prepaid Cards Versus Store Gift Cards

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Do Business Prepaid Cards Beat Store Gift Cards (i.e. Consumer Prepaid Cards) for Ultimate Control?

So far, business prepaid cards have held their own against incumbent challengers such as employee credit cardscash, and checks. In this final comparison article, we’ll pit the latest challenger, store gift cards (AKA consumer prepaid cards) against business prepaid cards to see how they stack up since both are essentially the same solution, but business prepaid cards come with additional technology stacked on top. You’ll really want to pay attention to this article. Let’s go!

The Pro’s Of Using Store Gift Cards – Convenience And You Only Risk What’s On The Card

Need to give employees a specific amount of money and don’t want to deal with cash, or checks and don’t have a credit card to share (or simply don’t want to?), then just run down to your local drugstore and pick up a consumer prepaid card.  They’re readily available and accepted everywhere, so let’s take a look at all of the benefits:

  • Readily available at any drugstore
  • Can put any exact amount loaded onto the card to control spending
  • Accepted everywhere since they swipe like a credit card and are backed by Visa or MasterCard
  • Can be purchased and used by managers, owners or employees
  • Certain store cards can only be used at that store providing additional control (e.g. Home Depot gift card)

The Cons Of Using Store Gift Cards – No Reporting, No Controls & Remaining Funds Disappear

Even though store gift cards are prepaid cards, and have been adopted as the latest advancement in employee spending solutions, they come with some drawbacks that business owners have just come to accept. It is clear that the benefits far outweighs the cons, but let’s just take a look at what artifacts this payment solution includes that still make it worthwhile over using cash, checks and employee credit cards:

  • High fees to purchase a card,  load funds, transactions, ATM withdrawals (if allowed)
  • Time-consuming as you must physically go to the drug store to purchase the card
  • Can’t control what is purchased with the prepaid cards (no spending controls)
  • Store-specific cards can’t be used at other stores if changes or emergencies arise
  • Remaining funds left on the cards are often kept by employees
  • No reporting – Must still save receipts and manually input for accounting

How Business Prepaid Cards (BPC) Improve Upon Consumer Prepaid Card (i.e. Store Gift Cards)

While business prepaid cards are essentially the same payment platform as store gift cards, they layer on additional technology that takes control, convenience and reporting to new levels.  Above store gift cards, BPC’s offer:

  • Spending controls by employee, dollar amount, day, week or month
  • Integration with smartphones, tablets, and desktops that allow you to set controls from anywhere, at any time
  • Real-time reporting so you can see transactions as they happen, and employees can attach receipts at the POS
  • Alerts that allow you to be informed when certain types of transactions occur
  • Spending categories limit the types of purchases that can be made with the cards
  • Simple exporting of data in .csv or integrations with accounting software, such as QuickBooks
  • Visibility – purchases are accounted for in real-time
  • Continually added new features, such as Tags, Notes, sub-accounts, administrators, and custom API integrations

Conclusion:

SMBs, nonprofits, and organizations have long been searching for an employee expense solution that offered control, reporting, and convenience, and have migrated from cash, checks, and employee credit cards to store gift cards.  However, each of these solutions has flaws and consumer prepaid cards have remedied some of these flaws, but do not offer an integrated solution that simplifies reporting, control or convenience.  Business prepaid cards raise the bar offered by store gift cards with innovative controls, integrated reporting, and real-time technology.  Clearly, business prepaid cards are the best offering yet for employee expense management, with new features being added all the time. Compare business prepaid card products and see why prepaid business cards are vastly superior to cash, checks, employee credit cards and store gift card for managing employee expenses.

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