The company has long relied on consumer incentive campaigns for rewarding customer loyalty, but traditional paper cheques have proven costly and inefficient in rebate and money-back guarantee programmes. P&G decided that issuing prepaid debit cards in place of cheques would drive greater productivity, while also reinforcing their brands in the minds of consumers.
P&G turned to long-time banking partner, Citi, to implement a prepaid card solution to replace paper-based rebate and money back guarantee payments. P&G worked closely with Citi Prepaid Services to develop a programme customised to meet the company’s unique requirements. Once in place, the prepaid card programme was universally accepted both internally and externally by consumers as a superior payment method.
As Steve Ader, GBS-Banking Service Manager explains, “now, when P&G sends a rebate or money-back guarantee payment, we do so at a lower cost while benefiting from the opportunity to promote and reinforce our brands with our customers.”
Plus, the streamlined payment method allows for faster processing, and payment delivery to the incentive recipient is much quicker. Because paper processes have been migrated to electronic means, the prepaid card programme enables P&G to more easily reconcile incentive payments. Reports generated by the programme allow P&G to track payments more easily. The company’s internal processes for payment issuance and problem resolution are now far easier to manage. As a result of the overwhelming success of the programme, P&G has expanded the use of prepaid cards to market research payments, sales incentives, product testing and consumer reimbursements, as well as payments associated with special events.
Since implementing the programme, P&G has significantly reduced the number of paper cheques it issues by almost half. This forward-thinking initiative has led to dramatic cost savings measured at approximately 65% for the company; in the two years since P&G started issuing cards they have realised savings between $2.5-$5m. The card programme is one-third the cost of issuing paper cheques and has proven to be a cost-effective alternative that has helped streamline P&G’s payment operations. Now there is less time spent time on production, reconcilement, and cheque issuance, allowing P&G to reallocate valuable resources to more strategic initiatives that further benefit the company’s bottom line. And, by eliminating the issuance of a large number of incentive cheques and replacing them with cards, P&G has substantially reduced the risk of fraud.
The majority of cards issued by P&G to consumers are produced on 25% recycled composite card stock. P&G celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2012, a milestone that very few companies have achieved. Another equally impressive milestone was also achieved that year, as P&G passed the million card issuance mark. As a result of the overwhelming success of this programme, P&G is currently exploring how prepaid cards can be further utilised across more brands and additional payment opportunities, domestically as well as globally.
While not all countries, regions and cultures are comfortable with cards in general, acceptance continues to grow offering greater opportunities to expand their use. P&G continues to explore new uses for prepaid cards, such as with payments associated with special events. An example of this can be found in P&G’ s recent, highly successful global ‘Thank You Mom’ campaign, the largest such campaign in the company’s history.
Ader concludes, “as an Olympic sponsor, P&G demonstrated support for athletes, their mothers and families through brand specific promotions geared toward raising awareness of the commitment and sacrifice athletes and their families make when undertaking the arduous pursuit of Olympic perfection. With this prepaid card programme in place, P&G now has the ability to deploy cards whenever and wherever this powerful application warrants.”