Making the most of eBucks

Publish Date: 17/10/18 | Source: MoneyWeb | Author: Hilton Tarrant
Getting onto higher reward levels makes a massive difference …

Actively changing your banking behaviour and maximising your reward level on FNB’s eBucks reward programme translates into a significant increase in the amount of eBucks you’re able earn.

First, a recap … eBucks (in its traditional form) is available on all FNB accounts from Gold upwards (including Premier, Private Clients and Private Wealth). To earn eBucks, customers need to meet different qualifying requirements, depending on their account type. For instance, on FNB Premier, one needs a monthly deposit of at least R16 500 (or average deposits into the account of that amount per month over a six-month period), or maintain a monthly balance of at least R50 000 (or R10 000 plus R50 000 in a savings and investment account if you’re a pensioner). Then, all your FNB accounts need to be in good standing, and you need to use the app (or any electronic channel if you’re over 60) at least once a month.

Once you’ve qualified, changes in behaviour earn a customer reward points (in the case of Premier, Private Clients and Private Wealth accounts). Doing at least four payments, transfers, or purchases a month, for example, equals 2 000 reward points on the three above-mentioned accounts. Points are earned for various products, balances or behaviour (such as credit card spend).

Over the course of each calendar month, these points are collected and then determine your reward level for the following month.

On Premier, between 7 000 and 9 999 points translate to Reward Level 3, while between 10 000 and 11 999 are reward Level 4. Earning over 12 000 points puts you on Reward Level 5. Your reward rates on spend during the subsequent month are then determined by your Reward Level. On spending at partner Checkers (or Shoprite), these vary from 1% (Reward Level 1) to 5% on Level 3 to 15% on Level 5. The gaps between these rates are significant!

Using the reward caps (limits) on FNB Premier, and calculating the maximum possible eBucks that can be earned on Reward Levels 3, 4, and 5, shows quite clearly that the difference between a slightly engaged customer and one who has keenly changed their behaviour is considerable.

Put another way, on conventional spend habits (excluding FNB Connect, FNB Life and forex), an engaged customer on Reward Level 5 can earn up to eB1 1680 – equal to R1 168 – in a month at the typical rates (for in-store and online shopping, eBucks are earned at a flat rate of 0.5% on credit/Fusion cards, after the limits are reached). Compare the eB11 680 to the maximum of eB3 628 that can be earned on Reward Level 3!

An engaged customer will generally earn significantly more back in eBucks rewards than the amount paid in bank fees. At Reward Level 3, the maximum amount of eBucks earned will just about cover bank fees (for a cheque account, credit card or bundle, savings/investment accounts, as well as for home/car/other loans).

FNB suggests customers use the calculator on the eBucks website to figure out which changes to make to their banking behaviour.

Aside from reward levels, there’s another less obvious change that will affect the number of eBucks you can earn. Earn rates on Premier cheque cards (whether in-store or online) are flat at 0.25% of spend. On this account, the monthly limits of R10 000 and R2 500, respectively, apply. On cheque cards, no eBucks are earned for purchases above these amounts.

But on credit cards (or Fusion accounts) earn rates are significantly higher. Hitting the maximum earn amount on a cheque card will net a customer only eB312.50, just over R30. Even on Reward Level 3 (with relatively poor earn rates), the same customer will earn four times more on the same amount of spend if they use their credit card.

Obviously, it would be terrible advice to suggest that customers should use debt to earn more eBucks. One way to achieve this would be to use a credit card ‘as if’ it was a debit/cheque card, by settling the card in full each month. On Reward Level 5, the difference would effectively more than pay for your Premier bundle bank fees each month.

Finally, max out your spend at Engen to earn fuel rewards and partner Checkers/Shoprite (and Uber, if you can). While the cap on fuel spend at Engen is just R2 000 a month, the max earn amount on Level 5 (R4 per litre) is considerable. At Checkers/Shoprite, the 15% earn rate (also on Level 5) is nearly eight times the standard in-store shopping rate of 2%


Publish Date: October 17, 2018 | Source: MoneyWeb | Author: Hilton Tarrant

How this affects you…

Personally, I have an FNB bank account and I try as hard as possible to follow the eBucks rewards program and take advantage of some of the great benefits. I don’t believe that this rewards program should dictate your spending, but altering a few habits will definitely pay off. For instance, I recently needed a slight wardrobe upgrade. Instead of parting with my hard earned funds, I did some online shopping and paid with my eBucks. Most definitely a rewarding feeling. My next goal with eBucks is a weekend away with my wife.
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