Common Cash and Non-Cash Incentive Reward Terms

Oct 26, 2020

Are you thinking about including an Incentive Reward Program to motivate your sales force? For those of you that are just getting started, here is a list of popular terms that are commonly used when discussing incentive rewards programs for business productivity.

Incentive Rewards Glossary

Cash Reward​

Any financial reward, including cash (including wires, checks, etc.) and cash equivalents such as an increase in pay or commission rate, cash bonuses, and also the inclusion of stocks, bonds, ETFs, etc.

Non-Cash Reward

Any reward that is not cash or cash equivalent (e.g., travel, merchandise, smartwatches, tablets, etc.) This can include any common gift or prize that may be considered desirable by the recipient of the reward.

Tangible Non-Cash Reward

Any reward of monetary value that is not cash or cash equivalent.

Tangible Rewards

​This term, used mainly in academia as a substitute for “non-cash reward or tangible non-cash reward.” It refers to rewards that have tangible value but are neither cash nor cash-equivalents.

Intangible Reward​

Any reward of no financial or tangible value. For example, verbal or written recognition.


An incentive is anything offered beforehand to elicit or motivate a person to act, exhibit a behavior, etc. (i.e., if/then) Incentives combine with one or more reward types. For example, a tangible travel reward or cash bonus, or an intangible reward, including the expectation of appreciation. Incentives are often used to drive short-term outcomes, such as sales quotas.


All recognition is also a reward and all rewards are forms of recognition. Recognition can be provided in the form of tangible or cash rewards and/or in the form of an intangible reward, such as public acknowledgment and appreciation for something done well. Recognition may be offered after a behavior or achievement (i.e., now/that). Recognition is often used to drive longer-term cultural change.

Source: ​Award Program Value & Evidence Study​. ​By Allan Schweyer, Chief Academic Advisor, Incentive Research Foundation ; ​With A​naïs Thibault Landry, Ph.D. candidat, Université du Québec à Montréal; ​And A​ shley Whillans, Assistant Professor, Harvard Business School.Spring. 2018

Getting Started

Are you interested in adding the Incentive Travel Trip Kit to your next incentive rewards program? Contact ​[email protected] or call 888-533-7637 ext. 209 for more information or to schedule a live demo.