MasterCard gift cards are among the most requested items on Holiday wish lists. Consumers of all stripes have come to both recognize and appreciate the superior convenience of MasterCard gifts cards over alternative forms of rewards. Open loop, i.e., open for use anywhere MasterCards are accepted, is the term used to distinguish bank-issued gift cards from others. For example, merchant-specific, restaurant, and discount gift cards are oftentimes 'closed loop' varieties, which means they can only be redeemed at specific places of business.
These cards undoubtedly have their unique advantages but are simply more restrictive in the manner and locations in which they may be used. Thus, given the universal nature of MasterCard gift cards, these tend to be more widely requested (ordered) than their merchant-oriented counterparts. What's more is that the MasterCard Brand is consistently ranked as one of the most revered names in business, which makes it a leading choice for corporate clients looking to purchase bulk quantity prepaid cards.
Intra-business contests, incentives, Holiday rewards, and bonus plans make liberal use of gift cards per the cash-like effects they have for employees. And in lieu of running the risk of disappointing anyone by issuing, say, a bundle of restaurant discounts, choosing open loop cards alleviates this concern entirely. Another corporate draw is the ease with which users may independently register MasterCard gift cards without first needing authentication codes and passwords.
A source of concern for other bulk issuers has been the complaints received from employees who were unhappy with multi-step registration processes that required annoying coordination with the corporate sponsor.
Surveys show that managers have made concerted efforts to do business with the user-friendly rewards programs, giving employees unilateral control of where and when they utilize their gifts. MasterCard fraud protection also appeals to corporate buyers who naturally spend more on single purchases than general consumers. Insuring company funds with the ironclad fraud prevention inherent in MasterCard gift cards fosters a willingness to choose the brand over other, less-secure competitors.
So without question, the MasterCard brand is well represented within HR departments both large and small for the very reasons we've outlined here. Furthermore, the prepaid orientation of MasterCard gift cards is, perhaps, the most consequential feature in regards to gift giving. Purchasers have absolute confidence in the end user's ability to access the balance, in result of a remittance already being made to secure the card beforehand. Simple enough, though it bears mention here to help set the stage for our following scenario which clarifies why gift cards make for ideal presents.
Let's say that you have a loved one who is particularly fond of a certain resort and you're inclined to purchase birthday accommodations on their behalf. After spending what seemed like hours on the telephone with a sales rep, you feel that all will go well upon the arrival of your relative. Unfortunately, however, checking into prepaid resorts by anyone other than the person who made the reservation can cause serious delays, at best. And it's not an anomaly for patrons to be denied access altogether, per claims that inadequate documentation has been presented to the staff.
In most cases, the attending personnel are placed in difficult circumstances where they're inclined to uphold strict internal policies while simultaneously trying to empathize with frustrated customers. But what most patrons fail to realize is that these gatekeepers have undergone rigorous training on unscrupulous tactics which lead to free passes into the facility.
Moreover, severe penalties – both legal and civil – can be levied against operators whose employee(s) violate local, state, or national statutes regarding various aspects of verification and screening.
So should an unauthorized, though convincing, visitor coerce their way onto the grounds and subsequently cause harm in one form or another, the person responsible for granting them entry is ultimately held responsible. (And given the blanket protections afforded by the U.C.C. [Uniform Commercial Code], any resulting liabilities, in most cases, falls to the employer instead of the employee.) This principle is black-letter law in the majority of jurisdictions and deviates only in situations involving deliberate fraud or misrepresentation by the employee.
But as basic matters of disobeyed policies and procedures, employer recourse is usually limited to termination of employment – regardless of how badly the company may have been injured by the worker's actions. Thus, this overview is intended to provide some insight into the psyche of what may appear to be an intransigent individual who refuses to permit entry into the location per discrepant paperwork (identification), even while they may, in fact, see that a valid reservation has been paid for.
Unless you pay very close attention to the sometimes onerous procedures to fulfill a prearranged reservation, you may well find that the dream vacation you were gifted has effectively been rendered worthless. Cruise ship getaways, spas, and resort promotions are notoriously difficult to reschedule or receive refunds for, which makes them still more tenuous than other prepaid destinations.
The bottom line to this is that, for an identical sum of money, tremendous hassle could have been avoided simply by giving one of the many MasterCard gift cards to the recipient and allowed them to personally pay their way upon arrival.
The complete registration/booking process could have still been made on their behalf, though the critical payment would have been executed onsite via the gift card.
Furthermore, general confusion has been a chief qualm that consumers have with the gift card market, as a fair number of users remain unaware of the open- and closed-loop concepts. Testimonials abound from recipients who, after being denied service at one place or another, simply tossed their card out of frustration. This occurs most often in shopping malls where a cluster of merchants are situated.
A user unfamiliar with closed-loop cards may have received one for, say, Macy's, though prefers to shop at Neiman Marcus and thus visits that store instead. And after spending an hour or so shopping, a trip to the register naturally follows. Immediately upon receiving the card, however, the cashier dryly conveys that Neiman does *not* accept gift cards from other merchants, and you'll have to use it at Macy's should you care to get your money's worth.
You're fed up with the whole situation and are ready to get home, so the card either goes in the trash or expires without ever being redeemed. Yet again, had you received one of the universal (open loop) MasterCard gift cards, you could have used it virtually anywhere in America!
Our coverage here has hopefully shown the attributes of MasterCard gift cards and how they may be used in a variety of situations. We also wanted to offer some perspective for visitors looking to buy prepaid gift cards, in terms of the differences between open- and closed-loop varieties.
Closed loop gift cards can indeed be both useful and appropriate, especially those with discount (rewards) incentives.
So long as you're confident that the person to whom you give a merchant card will make full use of it, then it could be a good choice under favorable circumstances. But for anyone who may desire more flexibility, then a better pick would be one of our MasterCard gift cards in most cases.
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