There has been a hive of activity here at 99HQ! Based on feedback from you guys—and a lot of careful thought—we have decided to make all contests prepaid. We believe this will reduce risk for designers and make the contest payment process simpler for new-comers.

Starting early November, all contests will be prepaid. This means all contest prizes will be paid up-front (and held securely by us). Contest holders may still withdraw from prepaid contests and receive a refund (given a good reason). However, we believe proof of prize will give designers peace of mind, and will assist contest holders and designers alike by automating payments; as an extension of our Design Handover tool.

We’re making guaranteed contests a standard option, available to all, and will encourage more and more contest holders to guarantee their contests for the very best results. Guaranteed contests are prepaid, cannot be withdrawn/refunded and are always awarded (even if the contest holder disappears—more on this in a future blog post).

As part of the prepaid prize system, 99designs will be handling all payments to designers. We hope this will result in a more reliable, seamless service for designers and contest holders. We will be offering PayPal, Moneybookers, Xoom and our latest addition: Prepaid 99designs MasterCards® (powered by Payoneer).

Payoneer is a wide-reaching payment gateway offering a more secure and robust alternative to some other gateways we’ve dealt with (without mentioning names). Your Prepaid 99designs MasterCard will work anywhere credit or debit cards are accepted, making receiving prize money easier, regardless of where you live.

And, we’re holding we held a contest for you to design the cards! Enter now!

Update: Congratulations, Emi (ulahts)!

99designs Prepaid MasterCard® (powered by Payoneer)