Choose the Right Rewards and Incentives for Global Rewards Programs

  • author

    Brenda Stoltz

  • posted

    Apr 22, 2019

  • topic

    Market Research

Choose the Right Rewards and Incentives for Global Rewards Programs

If you manage surveys or marketing campaigns across national borders, you know what a headache it can be to deliver rewards to global recipients. Sending physical gifts or checks is not only a time-consuming and expensive process, there’s always the risk that incentives will be lost in the mail. Digital incentives, such as virtual Visa and Mastercard, are easy and safe to use worldwide. They arrive in minutes and are trackable online, which makes your campaign more effective and reliable. But with so many options to choose from, how can you be sure the reward you select will be a good fit for each recipient in your global campaign?

Let’s explore the common pain points of global rewarding and how you can solve these issues with Rybbon’s Smart Global Choice.

Which Global Reward Should You Choose?

There are three options for digital global rewards: local e-gift cards (such as Amazon UK), virtual Visa/Mastercard, and charitable e-donations.

Each option has its own strengths and weaknesses that are important to understand. The table below lists some of the pros and cons to consider when selecting a global reward for your survey or marketing program.

LOCAL E-GIFT CARDS (e.g., digital gift card)

  • Country acceptance: Restricted to country issued.
  • Issuing currency: Local currency only. For example, gift cards are only issued in GBP.
  • Expiration: Varies by country. For example, gift cards in Canada never expire. Gift cards in India usually have a 6-12 month expiration.
  • Spending flexibility: Restricted to issuing brand.
  • Online and in-store purchases: Both, although in-store is applicable only if issuing brand has stores.
  • Special requirements to receive reward: None; they’re easy to use, with no registration needed.


  • Country acceptance: Worldwide (with minor list of unsupported countries due to embargos or issuing bank policies).
  • Issuing currency: Available in U.S. dollars (USD), Canadian dollars (CAD), British pounds (GBP), and euros (EUR), with built-in currency conversion.
  • Expiration: 6-18 months.
  • Spending flexibility: Flexible; can be spent at multiple merchants.
  • Online and in-store purchases: Both. In-store use requires the recipient to add the reward to their Mobile Wallet or request a plastic card for a small fee. Plastic card availability may be limited to certain countries.
  • Special requirements to receive reward: Register on Visa or Mastercard cardholder website.


  • Country acceptance: Worldwide.
  • Issuing currency: Not a concern.
  • Expiration: N/A.
  • Spending flexibility: Restricted to selected charity.
  • Online and in-store purchases: N/A.
  • Special requirements to receive reward: None; they’re easy to use, with no registration needed.

Local e-Gift Cards as Global Rewards

Local e-gift cards from stores like Amazon are a popular incentive option to consider. You can send these with personalized and customizable emails. Recipients love being able to use their incentives for online or in-store purchases. There are no surcharges or special requirements to receive the reward, and, most importantly, e-gift cards are securely delivered via email and are trackable online.

However, local e-gift cards are restricted to use with the issuing brand. You can’t use an iTunes e-gift card on Amazon. Also, the expiration dates of local e-gift cards vary depending on what country you’re in. For example, e-gift cards in Canada never expire, but in India, they usually have a six- to 12-month expiration.

It’s important to note that most online stores only accept gift cards from their own country. As a result, you cannot use an gift card on Amazon’s German website (, for example.

This issue can cause major headaches for those running global programs without the proper platform. Curating rewards for each country your recipients are in takes time — and can lead to expensive mistakes.

International Virtual Visa/Mastercard as Global Rewards

You may be wondering: Isn’t there already an option that works for everybody? International virtual Visa and Mastercards have become a top incentive choice among global researchers and marketers. Their flexibility and wide acceptance make them popular products.

A virtual Visa or Mastercard can be quickly delivered as a digital code via email virtually anywhere in the world. The recipient then registers the code at a cardholder website to immediately receive a Visa or Mastercard debit card, which can be spent online, via mobile apps, or over the phone.

With virtual Visa or Mastercard, the same incentive is valid across most countries. These “cards” can be issued in many major currencies, such as U.S. dollars and euros. The value of the card can be spent in any currency. The card automatically converts local currency charges to the issuing currency. That makes it possible to incentivize participants almost anywhere in the world.

Not only can you use virtual Visa and Mastercard rewards online, you can use them in a store as well. Virtual Mastercards can be used in conjunction with Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay at any compatible retailers. However, plastic card availability may be limited to certain countries.

It is important to note that recipients must register on Visa or Mastercard’s cardholder website, and these rewards are subject to expiration dates. Recipients typically have six to 18 months to redeem their card and spend the balance.

The worldwide flexibility of virtual Visa/Mastercard is great, but it does come with its caveats. Some recipients just prefer the ease of choosing a local e-gift card from a brand they love. They may not want to go to the effort of registering on Visa or Mastercard’s cardholder website. Plus, virtual Visa/Mastercard rewards can feel less personal than receiving a local e-gift card.

Charitable E-Donations as Global Rewards

Finally, e-donations make a great choice for charitable recipients or B2B settings. They work worldwide and do not come with any currency concerns, as the donation is always made in USD. There is no registration needed to make a charitable e-donation, making it an incredibly easy-to-use option.

However, not everyone will feel rewarded by making a charitable e-donation. These rewards have limited appeal and are effective only with a certain type of recipients. Some may be wishing they had received a reward for themselves instead. This is why it is best to offer charitable donations as one reward choice out of many.

Choosing the Right Global Reward Can Be Tricky

Overwhelmed with all there is to consider with global programs? We bet! Here’s the reality: You’re not a mind reader. At the end of the day, each recipient will desire different things. The best way to ensure a seamless reward experience for everyone is to offer flexibility. That’s why Rybbon created Smart Global Choice.

Smart Global Choice helps you avoid the guesswork, headaches, and expensive mistakes of global reward campaigns. With its powerful automation, you can always offer a seamless reward experience that works for all your recipients. It’s the best of both worlds. Offer recipients the power of choice that they really want, and get the peace of mind that you really want.

Simplify Global Rewarding With Rybbon’s Smart Global Choice

Smart Global Choice enables you to deliver great choices anywhere in the world. With this feature, it couldn’t be easier to set up and run global rewards programs. All you have to do is specify a reward value! USD is the base currency for Smart Global Choice, but recipients will have the option to claim any equivalent reward that will work in their country. Rybbon automatically curates each recipient’s reward choices based on their country and currency.

With this functionality, each recipient can choose a reward they’ll love — and you don’t have to worry about it working in their country. They’ll get an individualized selection from top brands to pick from. This results in fewer headaches for you and more great experiences for your recipients.


With so many options to choose from, digital incentives provide a fast, safe, and easy way to offer global rewards for surveys and marketing programs. However, it can be tricky to decide which global reward is the right fit for your research project or campaign. Rybbon created Smart Global Choice to simplify this process so you can set up an awesome global rewards program in just minutes. No more worrying about each recipient receiving a reward that will work in their country or be available in their currency. Smart Global Choice takes all of the guesswork out of rewarding and does the hard work for you. Just specify your reward value, and Rybbon automates a seamless reward experience, every time. How easy is that? Plus, your recipients will love having the power to choose a reward they love!

Want to see for yourself just how easy it is to use Global Choice? Create a free Rybbon account and set up a campaign with recipients in multiple countries. You’ll have an awesome global rewards program running in no time!

about the author
Brenda Stoltz

Brenda has over 20 years of experience building, selling and marketing products for F100 and start-ups.

Brenda has over 20 years of experience building, selling and marketing products for F100 and start-ups.