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Virtual Gift Cards for Rewards and Incentives Businesses Great Value

With the economy continuing to struggle, the use of incentives to retain high-performing employees and valued partnerships is a major strategy for many companies.

The holiday season presents a perfect opportunity for businesses to strengthen employee and partner retention efforts. One of the easiest and fastest-growing ways companies can deliver thanks is by presenting virtual cards.

It’s no surprise that the global virtual gift card market is estimated to grow by $420.49 billion, with a CAGR of 20.13 % between 2021 to 2026, according to an Infiniti Research market study. The rapid digitalization of currency, the increased usage of contactless payments via tap-and-pay physical point-of-sale devices and eCommerce, and the convenience factor virtual cards offer are key reasons why this digital alternative to traditional physical gift cards is growing rapidly.

Companies and consumers alike have realized that obtaining and sending physical gift cards can be time-consuming and expensive, especially if you have a large number of recipients on your list. The cost typically incurred by a company looking to present physical cards includes having an additional budget for packaging and shipping, and should the package get lost or stolen, then the cost to reship comes into play.

An unfortunate reality today is that logistics and shortages are creating unexpected delays in shipping and handling, even with drop shipping. Sending physical gift cards to employees and partners is even more expensive and complicated for businesses with a global presence.

Sending a virtual gift card directly through email is more efficient and cost-effective. An advantage of using virtual cards for your business is that the cardholder can use their card immediately. No need to wait for a traditional card to be sent in the mail. As soon as the card is created and funds loaded, the user will receive an email with instructions on retrieving their new card details.

Other benefits of offering virtual gift cards to employees, team members, or partners include:

Flexibility and choice

Offering a virtual gift card, supported by major networks like Visa and MasterCard, ensures your recipients receive the gift of choice. This means they can reward themselves with whatever is most important to them. With no limitations, each recipient can choose a gift that’s perfect for them. The flexibility of virtual cards also easily allows recipients to donate to charitable organizations.

Support Sustainability Values

The rapid digitization of the world is supporting growing interest and focus on sustainability. Companies are becoming more aware of consumer interest and demand for sustainability and transforming and innovating their businesses to stay relevant. In fact, 85 percent of consumers have shifted toward being more sustainable during the past five years, according to a recent survey by Simpon-Kucher strategy and marketing agency. A virtual gift card has a small carbon footprint, and unlike physical cards and gifts that may not really be on anyone’s wish list, won’t end up in a garbage fill.

To find out more, please complete our form HERE and we will be in touch.

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B4B awards Ana for the Above and Beyond Award (US)

She has been awarded a virtual card sent to her email, where she can spend online or in-store.

We are incredibly proud to announce that Ana Santos, the Client Operations/Account Manager for B4B Payments, has won the Above and Beyond Award (US)!

Being recognised for your hard work is always a great feeling. It’s even better when that recognition comes from your colleagues. That’s why we hold this award to give all employees the opportunity, to nominate a colleague they believe embodies our core company values.

This award is also a way to show appreciation for those who go above and beyond in their work. We believe rewarding our employees is essential in creating a positive and supportive work environment where everyone can succeed. Here is what Ana had to say:

1. How do you feel about winning the award?

It’s always nice to be recognized by one’s colleagues for a job well done. The gift of a virtual B4B Payments Visa card is a simple, fast method to acknowledge that hard work, and it allows the recipient the opportunity to use those funds anywhere Visa is accepted.

2. Was it easy to get started?

Registering my virtual B4B Payments Visa card was quite simple on the web browser and took only a few minutes. Once I completed the registration process, I could easily find the card details. In the email instructions are provided on how to use it, as well as contact information for Customer Service should I have any additional questions.

3. Where and when do you plan to spend your virtual card?

I am eyeing a leaf blower (‘tis the season, you know) and this will help me pay for it.

4. Why do you think this is an excellent way to reward employees?

It’s a fast, convenient way for employers to acknowledge their staff for their contributions to the enterprise. B4B could not make it any easier.

Prepaid virtual cards are the perfect choice

Organizing an effective reward and recognition scheme in the workplace can be a challenge. You want to give your employees something that will boost motivation and productivity, but you also don’t want to break the bank. Our prepaid virtual cards are the perfect solution! They’re flexible so that you can tailor them to everyone’s needs. They’re a great way to attract top talent into your business. You’ll stand out from the competition by giving them something they want.

We provide the option to brand your cards with a cardholder app fully. Your employees can also add the card to their Google Pay and Apple Pay wallets!

Our prepaid virtual cards are the perfect choice if you’re looking for a way to give your employees the recognition they deserve. To find out more, contact us today!

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Digital Payments Bringing Value to Travel and Tourism Rebound

Travel and tourism are rebounding in the U.S. and abroad, and digital payments are being used to support renewed growth, offer added value, and streamline payments to vendors and suppliers.

After the exceptional drop in 2020 and 2021, international tourism continues its gradual recovery in 2022 due to the easing of travel restrictions. According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), international tourist arrivals more than doubled (+130%) compared to January 2021, growing by 18 million. According to the organization, the increase in the number of arrivals is the same as in the whole of 2021 over 2020. Meanwhile, the WTO reported that a rapid rise in domestic travel and tourism, especially in the U.S., is driving the recovery.

Despite the hard impact Covid has had on the industry, the pandemic has created a new category of domestic and international travelers deemed the “untethered worker” or “laptop lugger” that seeks to mix work and vacation. This growing group tends to be younger, aims to take longer trips, and is a higher-income group, according to a recently published study by Delloite. Additionally, this group is highly digital and actively seeks the ease and convenience of digital payments.

Another bright spot for travel and tourism is that travelers plan to spend more this year on longer trips and more expensive accommodations, according to a Sky Scanner travel agency survey of 4000 travelers in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Germany.

Specialty segments are also on the rise, such as student, health and wellness, cultural and medical tourism, which includes patients traveling domestically and beyond international borders for surgeries and medical treatments. A recent analysis by Market Data Forecast indicates the U.S. medical tourism market alone will grow from the current (2022) $8.3 billion to $19.96 billion by 2027. This U.S. segment may also experience a significant increase due to the recent overturn of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that recognized a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion and legalized it nationwide. A growing number of companies are offering financial support (‘Abortion Access’) to aide women employees in states banning abortion rights and are left with the only option of traveling to abortion-permissive states.

Delivering additional value to travelers and tourists

With a rebound underway, digital payments, including prepaid cards and digital wallets, offer a powerful and highly flexible solution that travel and tourism businesses can use to be competitive and improve efficiencies for paying vendors and suppliers.

The increased cost of travel due to rising fuel prices makes travelers more concerned with budgeting than other challenges, according to Delloite. Businesses can offer prepaid cards to provide additional value to budget-minded travelers who want to save and manage their money. Using B4B Payment’s prepaid travel cards and mobile/online application, cardholders can quickly load funds onto their cards, track spending, and even upload receipts. B4B Payments makes it simple for cardholders to add a physical or virtual card to a mobile wallet.

Offering prepaid cards also ensures travelers avoid the hassle of carrying cash. A prepaid card is much safer than carrying cash when traveling. Should a physical card be lost or stolen, B4B Payments enables cardholders to quickly deactivate their card and have funds painlessly moved to a new virtual or physical card.

Additionally, businesses can offer prepaid cards for particular use cases, such as stranded passengers or emergency payments, and offer travelers an incentive or reward program.

An improved service provider experience

The value prepaid cards and digital payments offer travel and tourism businesses value beyond supporting clients. Travel and tourism operators are reliant on vendor and supplier relationships. It is no secret that prompt payment helps companies be preferred customers and retain high-performing service providers. Ultimately this can translate to a better customer experience and a more significant opportunity to scale your business.

B4B Payments eliminate the need for traditional banking processes such as wire transfers and checks or cash. Our versatile prepaid product can easily be set up for making real-time payments 24/7 to providers anywhere in the world. This highly efficient form of making payments helps businesses optimize cash flow, manage peak volumes, and prevents the need to exceed credit limits.

Additionally, savvy businesses can easily use digital payments to enhance vendor relationships by offering channel incentives and rewards.

To find out more about how B4B works with travel and tourism companies, get in touch with us.


SkyScanner 2022 Travel Survey

World Tourism Organization

Deloitte 2022 Summer Travel Survey:

Market Data Forecast:

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Case dismissed: Digital payments outperform checks in class action disbursements

Class action lawsuits can take years to negotiate and for courts to approve a final settlement. Historically, managing settlement disbursements have been equally time-consuming due to labor-intensive, and costly check-cutting processes.

Digital payments are now changing the disbursement process and creating greater efficiencies for litigators, claim administrators, and payees.

The use of digital payments had lagged from the court system’s initial foray into digitizing the class action process with the adoption of the 2018 amendments to the U.S. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure, notably Rule 23(C)(2)(B). This rule allowed class-action notices to be conducted through electronic channels such as emails and social media. With growing consumer preference for electronic payments, it was only a matter of time before court systems would see electronic payment distribution in business-to-consumer legal cases as a viable option for disbursements. Today, more courts embrace digital payment options such as automated clearing house (ACH) deposits, wire transfers, and prepaid and virtual card-based payments.

Checks continue steady decline in usage

The frequency of using checks continues to be on the decline in the U.S. for consumers and businesses. According to data from the Federal Reserve, the use of paper checks amounted to 15% of transactions in 2012 and fell to 8.3% in 2019*. Visa’s unreleased Q4 2021 “U.S. Share of Wallet Report” paints a similar picture with U.S. consumers using checks only 7% of the time to make payments, down from 54% in 1996.

According to Aberdeen Strategy Research and Bank of America, the cost of cutting and managing checks is not cheap either and averages about $7 to $15. In some instances, the cost to disburse checks can reach up to $20, considering the required mailing and processing. These incremental costs add up quickly and can sometimes exceed the settlement disbursement amount. Unclaimed checks from settlement cases create issues related to unclaimed property liability from uncashed checks, which are considered funds outstanding in company ledgers. In class actions, payers must report on the settlement funds, which sometimes leads to the daunting task of tracking down recipients who have not received or cashed their checks.

Digital payments is a win for financial inclusion

Beyond the general declining value of using checks, courts have embraced digital payment as a viable option to address financial inclusion issues. Approximately 25% of U.S. households are unbanked or underbanked. In many cases, unbanked class members receiving checks are forced to pay substantial fees for check cashing services. To open a bank account simply to receive their payments, these class members would be required to open a new account and prove creditworthiness if they have not already.

Issues regarding unbanked populations have been a big challenge to legacy settlement fund distribution. In a cashless system, prepaid cards can ensure that people without bank accounts can still participate and access benefits.

Integrating digital payments enables claims administrators to offer claimants the choice of how they would like to receive payments, from direct-to-bank account options to popular virtual cards / digital wallets.

Digitizing and streamlining the fund distribution process can help create greater efficiencies for legal claims disbursements in multiple ways. B4B Payments provides an innovative and flexible digital payment solution that enables class member settlement and mass tort disbursements to be paid quickly and efficiently with virtual and physical Visa prepaid cards.

Get in touch today to find out how B4B Payments can help you make your fintech ideas a reality with our next-gen BIN Sponsorship services.

*The 2019 Federal Reserve Payments Study,” Federal Reserve

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Why insurance firms should take advantage of fintech innovation

PwC found that 74% of insurance companies see fintech as a challenge for their industry.

But, with consumer behaviours already changing pre-COVID and becoming evermore geared towards digital in the post-COVID world, insurance is at risk of being left behind.

But why is it so important that insurance firms take advantage of the latest fintech innovation?

Reaching a younger audience

Younger audiences are an important target audiences for insurance firms. Getting young people to take out a policy now and making sure that your offer suits their needs means potential customers for life, so getting it right with young people is a must.

Typically, Millennial audiences and younger Generation X consumers prefer digital methods for payments and communications. The less direct interaction with a business, the more convenient it is for this demographic to use a service.

Not only that, but this demographic are far less likely to be loyal to financial companies, swapping and changing as their needs evolve. This means that flexible, digital options are absolutely vital.

But PwC’s fintech global report found that, until COVID-19, apps were seen as ‘nice to have’, which means that many insurance companies and financial institutions might not yet be meeting the needs of a younger demographic.

Today, customers expect a great deal of flexibility, and insurtech offers this. Free from legacy products and processes, they use emerging technologies to build brand new systems and are much more targeted, rather than the old-fashioned end-to-end solutions that don’t meet everyone’s needs.

US insurance firm Metromile is a great example of this: by offering customers pay-per-mile insurance, particularly for those who live in urban areas and don’t drive very often, Metromile can offer customers flexible, bespoke insurance policies that meet their unique needs.

Another good example of a flexible, bespoke approach to insurance policies is life insurance firm Vantis Life. By making use of artificial intelligence, Vantis Life were able to underwrite life insurance policies in the US based on public records and third-party data, which meant that many customers didn’t need to undergo medical tests. Again, this minimal contact between customer and insurer will help to attract younger customers.

And AI isn’t just beneficial for the customer – in early 2017, home insurer Lemonade (also based in the US) reported that its AI-powered technology managed to process and settle a theft claim in just three seconds, without paperwork from the customer. It’s estimated that long claim processes can inflate a claim value by up to 30%, so speeding up the payment process can save insurers a great deal of money.

So making insurance processes simpler, more flexible and – most importantly – digital can work wonders for reaching a younger audience. Do it right, and you’ve got a customer for life, so investment in fintech and insurtech can have immense long-term returns for your business.

Build trust between you and your customers

IBM reported in 2020 that 42% of customers don’t trust their insurer. However, a Salesforce study found that 84% of customers globally say that the experience a company provides is just as important as its product or services.

This means that insurance has a long way to go to meet customers’ expectations. But, through fintech, that trust can be built and the customers’ needs can be placed front and centre.

At the time of a claim, customers might be experiencing loss or trauma, through theft or injury, so the interaction between insurer and policy-holder is delicate. No business wants to contribute to a customer’s difficult experiences but some insurers may be inadvertently doing so.

The last thing that customers want when getting back on their feet is a complex and lengthy process – they want efficiency, understanding and, importantly, speed. The quicker the payout, the sooner the customer can get back to their day-to-day life.

Fintech can make this happen. Solutions like virtual cards can offer a simple method of paying a claim that works for everyone. By issuing these cards when a policy is taken out, insurers can be sure that money is being sent to the right place within minutes of a claim being assessed, making for a much simpler and convenient process for customers than old-fashioned methods like bank transfer or – even worse – cheque.

As well as this, customers who receive regular recurring payments, like disability or annuity, can access funds immediately through a prepaid card.

Understand and build loyalty with your customers

Fintech also provides you with opportunities to provide personalised incentives and rewards for your customers in a way that legacy processes simply can’t, whilst also bringing in new revenue streams for your business.

By forming partnerships with other businesses, you can harness fintech to provide bespoke offers. For example, pet insurance claimants can receive discounts at pet shops or health insurance policy-holders could receive discounted gym memberships, when paid for through their prepaid card issued when taking out a policy.

What’s more, by providing this payment option to policy-holders, you can gather useful data on their spending habits to offer tailored products and services that meet their individual needs. This means you can understand your customers better, provide them with a better service, and keep them coming back.

Fintech is opening doors in insurance – don’t be left behind.

With fintech providing opportunities to reach younger customers and, more significantly, keep them coming back, the importance of insurance firms embracing and investing in fintech in a post-COVID world has never been more clear.

To find out how we can help you embed fintech into your insurance firm, contact B4B Payments today.

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Global and innovative solutions for decentralised trials

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on clinical trials. As many people globally were unable or unwilling to leave their homes for a large portion of 2020, researchers had to develop new and innovative ways of gathering information for life-saving treatments.

While decentralised trials weren’t exactly new before the pandemic, only 34% of developers used them and they were mainly for rare diseases, where subjects were difficult to source, for paediatric trials, and for lower level chronic diseases like asthma and dermatology.

Now, though, the global clinical trials market is expected to grow at a rate of 5.7% per year until 2028, and with good reason. Decentralised trials have been proven to be effective and desirable for a number of reasons, a key benefit being the removal of barriers for patients. By bringing the trial to the patient, rather than asking patients to come to you, researchers have found not only a greater number of people willing to participate, but that it’s reduced costs as well.

There’s a whole range of tech out there to make decentralised trials run smoothly, so what does some of that look like?

Wearable devices

The usage and popularity of wearable devices like Fitbits, Garmins and Apple watches have grown massively over the past decade. In fact, the total number of wearable devices in use globally has more than doubled over the past three years and is expected to exceed one billion this year.

While the devices used recreationally to monitor heart rate, sleeping patterns and activity levels aren’t accurate enough for clinical trials, more sophisticated wearable tech, such as skin patches and smart pills, has huge potential. Sensors that track constant, real-time physiological data with necessary precision provide a great opportunity to gather patient data from a distance, without the need to travel to a trial site.

What’s more, the data captured is taken from a real-life setting, with patients going about day-to-day activities as normal, which means that data can be understood and interpreted in context.

And, with similar, commercial devices already very popular, wearable sensors make for a widely understood and accessible method of engaging trial subjects, removing a potential barrier for volunteers and empowering them to understand their own health.

Fluid communications

A key benefit of decentralised trials is the ability to communicate with patients regularly. Without the need to travel to test sites, communication can be much more flexible, fluid and, importantly, accurate.

The use of apps allows patients to make diary entries, complete questionnaires and speak to healthcare professionals from the comfort of their own home or even on the move. Results of trials can be uploaded and analysed in real-time, without the risk of human error in inputting. On top of that, with a virtual distance between patient and healthcare professional, subjects are more likely to be honest and less likely to omit information that they’d rather not discuss face-to-face.

What’s more, virtual communications allow for scheduled updates and reminders to be sent to patients on their mobile devices, meaning that information can be reliably gathered and submitted on time, with minimal fuss.

As well as this, the use of virtual communications tools allows trials to be accessible to multiple languages, meaning that patients can be recruited from a much more diverse, global pool.

And let’s not forget that apps allow for full audit trails and functions for capturing e-consent, meaning that security and protection of patient data can be top-notch.

Incentivising with Fintech

An important aspect of clinical trials is keeping participants engaged and often volunteers are compensated financially for their contributions.

In the context of decentralised trials, fintech innovation can play an important role in keeping patients on board and compliant throughout the trial but also in future trials. Card-based reward schemes can offer participants immediate return on their contributions – for every diary entry submitted or questionnaire completed, patients can immediately access their financial reward through a branded card.

With the ability to reward immediately and virtually, patients can take part in a trial and get immediate return from anywhere in the world. And, with a branded card already in their wallet, participating in future trials will be at the forefront of patients’ minds.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought decentralised trials front and centre, proven to increase the number and engagement of volunteers. There are a wealth of digital methods out there to help the development of pharmaceuticals run smoothly and effectively – from wearable tech to communication and fintech, global decentralised trials have a range of opportunities available for better data collection and valuable clinical trial results.

To find out how we can help with your decentralisation of clinical trials, talk to B4B Payments today.

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Everything you want to know about… virtual prepaid cards

Online shopping has been on the rise for some time now, and the pandemic has only increased its popularity. Many consumers have now started to shop online for the first time, and safe digital payment methods are needed even more. One such innovation is prepaid virtual cards. In this blog post, we look in more detail at virtual cards and how they work.

What are virtual (digital) cards?

A virtual, or digital card is an online hosted, digital virtual representation of any plastic card. A digital card, unlike a plastic card, doesn’t require any physical representation. Like a traditional credit, debit, or prepaid card, a virtual card allows users to purchase services or goods online.

An advantage of using virtual cards for your business is that the cardholder can use their card immediately. No need to wait for a traditional card to be sent in the mail. As soon as the card is created and funds loaded, the user will receive an email with instructions on retrieving their new card details.

The benefits of virtual cards

Virtual cards have great applications for business with total versatility to be used for a wide range of purposes. They can be used for purchasing items online, offering incentives to staff and clients, managing expenses, the list goes on.

If your business makes a large number of online payments, for example paying for travel, using a prepaid virtual card is a fantastic way to make sure payments remain secure and expenses are within budget. B4B Payments offer prepaid virtual cards that make business payments simple. Virtual cards can be generated instantly via our online managerial platform – the cardholder can then use it immediately rather than needing to wait for a physical card to be sent through the post.

How does a virtual (digital) card work?

Your virtual prepaid Mastercard® or Visa® is a reloadable, online e-money card consisting of a standard card number, expiry date and CVV number, which you can retrieve at any time by choosing ‘Display Card Image’ from the B4B cardholder dashboard.

You can use your virtual card details to make purchases online or over the phone at millions of businesses and retailers anywhere in the world. You cannot use your virtual card details to make in-person payments in a shop.

Can virtual cards be used in my digital wallet?

Yes, you can. B4B Payments provides clients and cardholders access to prepaid cards using digital wallet devices, such as GooglePay and ApplePay services.

Are virtual cards safe?

Yes. Just like a physical card, you must keep your virtual card details safe and secret. However, with a few clicks, cardholders can suspend their account.

If you’re a B4B cardholder, and have any questions, please contact our customer service team directly.

Virtual cards in the future

With online shopping increasing and the use of cash declining, it seems that the presence of prepaid virtual cards will only continue to grow. It’s easy to see why – the advantages of virtual cards both for online shopping and business payments lie in their security and accessibility.

If your organisation could benefit from increased security when you make payments online, B4B Payments can help with virtual cards for businesses. Our efficient system allows you to set up and close down cards quickly and easily, causing minimal disruption to your operations. For more information about our services please get in touch.