Employee Rewards

5 Great Alternatives To Virtual Gift Cards That Can Be Used Internationally

June 3, 2022
min read

It is well documented that the best way to retain employees is through recognition and a positive company culture

But current methods of rewarding employees across the globe have proven to be challenging, driving organizations to consider alternatives to virtual gift cards.

With the exponential rise of workplace flexibility that promotes remote teams and freelance workers, the need for ways to reward employees across the globe won’t be dying down any time soon. 

This article looks at some alternatives to gift cards that employers can use to incentivize their global employees. 

The Limitations Of Gift Cards 

Traditionally sending global rewards or gifts to employees has been challenging. The introduction of virtual gift cards eliminated some of the issues, but even some big-name brands come with limitations.

While digital rewards can be delivered instantly via email, not all can be used internationally. Most gift cards are restricted to domestic use.

For example, Amazon has a different site for each country it serves. This means that you can only use an Amazon gift card in the country where it was purchased

Similarly, an iTunes gift card bought in the U.S. can only be used in the United States even though it is a global brand.

Gift cards come with other shortfalls too. For example, unspent funds on cards that are never used ultimately result in a financial loss for the company. Add the amounts up over time, and the loss can become substantial.

Further, there’s often no personalization on the notification and gifting experience, as well as limited choice of where employees can spend the cards.

The good news is that you do have alternative options.

Five Alternatives To Virtual Gift Cards That Can Be Used Internationally 

1. PerkUp Rewards Card

The PerkUp Rewards Card allows businesses to send awesome rewards that their employees love. It’s a virtual or physical card your company can use to send rewards for employee birthdays, work anniversaries, Employee Appreciation Day, adhoc bonuses, or just because. We’ve seen tons of companies use our platform to send rewards for promotions, trivia nights or even when employees have children.

The cards work internationally and give your team a ton of choice. Really, they can purchase from any merchant that accepts Visa.

Your accounting team will love this option too. Your company will retain all unspent funds on the card, and the team can give specific budgets to other managers. PerkUp also centralizes these taxable benefits into one location, giving you more financial control and better reporting for compliance purposes. 

2. Mastercard Prepaid Card

Mastercard prepaid cards are convenient for global rewards due to their instant electronic delivery and wide acceptance. 

They allow identical rewards to be used across multiple countries, eliminating the challenges of rewarding remote workers across the globe. 

Your employees can typically use these cards anywhere Mastercard is accepted, including phone and online orders. However, there is rarely any personalization or customization, and you will lose all unspent funds.

3. Wise Debit Card

The Wise debit card is a currency card that your company can issue to employees. With a card in hand, employees can receive, keep, and spend multiple currencies, making it a great alternative to virtual gift cards that can be used internationally.

With the Wise card, you can send money to your global employees. They can then convert it into one of more than 50 currency options without the usual bank fees. 

Employees can use the card in stores, online, or even withdraw at an ATM. Your business can easily top up the card, and the recipient can check their transactions through the Wise app. Like with Mastercard, Wise debit cards aren’t designed for employee rewarding and don’t provide a great overall experience.

Related: Alternatives to Gift Cards for Employees

4. PayPal Prepaid 

Another alternative to virtual gift cards that can be used internationally is a prepaid PayPal account. Of course, both your company and your employees will need to open PayPal accounts before making use of this option.

Bancorp Bank holds the PayPal Prepaid Card account funds in an FDIC-insured account. To use the prepaid card, funds must be loaded onto the card. 

Cardholders can do this in several ways: 

  • Transfer from a linked PayPal Cash account
  • No-cost direct deposit service 
  • Load money at a Netspend Reload Network location - this option is subject to fees

5. Ezzocard

Ezzocard is another prepaid card that can also be used as an international virtual gift card. An EzzoCard can be paid for anonymously via cryptocurrency or platforms like Webmoney (with no verification checks). 

These cards are either Visa or Mastercards and can be used worldwide towards online websites that accept Visa or Mastercard. 

Ezzo provides several different cards, each offering different features. All that is required is a one-time registration before the card can be used. 

Other features include: 

  • No registration is required to acquire a card
  • Pay worldwide in any currency,
  • Term of validity – varies depending on the features of the card
  • Period of use – varies depending on the features of the card 


Although remote and distributed teams are increasingly the norm and deliver the flexibility that many of today's employees require, it is easy for a remote workforce to feel unseen. Recognizing your employees with rewards can increase employee satisfaction.

Traditionally virtual gift cards have been a practical way to express appreciation to your employees. Still, they can be impersonal and come with their own set of disadvantages (they are store-specific, nonrefundable, and unspent funds go to waste).

The alternatives we laid out can solve some of these issues, but PerkUp’s rewarding and gifting platform leads the pack in terms of ease-of-use, employee experience, and flexibility. Interested in learning more? Request a demo.

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