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uCount vs eBucks – battle of the rewards

uCount vs eBucks – battle of the rewards

Standard Bank has launched uCount, a new rewards program for clients to earn cash back each month by transacting with the bank. The program operates on a tiered structure similar to FNB‘s eBucks reward program.

The uCount program allows Standard Bank customers collect rewards points every time they shop with their Standard Bank debit, cheque or credit card. The rewards vary from up to 10% in points on grocery purchases at participating stores, and up to 1.5% in points on all other general purchases.

The program also has fuel rewards where getting fuel from Caltex forecourts returns R1 in points per litre of petrol purchased. This is reward structure is only applicable until 31 December 2013, however, after which the reward rate will be 20 cents per litre.

The program is open to Standard Bank customers who have a personal transactional debit, cheque and/or credit card account in good standing. This includes minors, but excludes business customers.

The uCount points, like eBucks, work on an exchange rate of 10 points to R1.

uCount reward tiers

uCount reward tiers

Tiered value

The program operates on a tiered basis, in a manner very similar to FNB’s eBucks rewards.

The similarities between the two programs continue, as using various products from the bank allows customers to earn more tier points, which in turn allows them to access higher rewards rates.

“The more banking actions per perform and products you use every month, the more tiering points you get. Tiering points don’t hold any value – they only determine what tier you will fall into for the month,” Standard Bank said.

Points earn example

uCount points earn example

Noting the similarities between the two programs, FNB CEO Michael Jordaan cheekily tweeted on Monday (10 June 2013) that it was “flattering” that competitors were catching up to the 13 year old eBucks program.

FNB Jordaan rewards tweet

FNB Jordaan rewards tweet

eBucks versus uCount

While structurally similar to the eBucks rewards, uCount does differ. The program offers rewards for grocery purchases at selected stores, but offers no return for airtime purchases like FNB’s eBucks.

Both programs are capped, with uCount allowing customers to reap a maximum of R15,000 in rewards for tier-4 customers, while tier 1 customers can get back a maximum of R2,000.

FNB eBucks earners are capped by account, with personal cheque account holders only able to earn a maximum of eB9,250 per month, and FNB credit account holders earning eB9,000.

“The caps were put in place to curb possible abuse. When the model was created, we wanted to ensure that the programme could benefit the ‘average customer’ best,” said Jolande Duvenage, CEO of eBucks.

“The caps prevent customers from exploiting the benefits and ensures we create sustainability of the programme.”

Credit and cheque accounts can be linked to the same eBucks account for an annual fee of R200.

The following table compares top-tier rewards with maximum earning value, but should be considered as “up-to” rates.

eBucks uCount
Fuel rewards 15% R1/litre
Grocery rewards 10%
General purchases 2.5% 1.5%
Airtime rewards 15%
Reward cap eB9,250* (R925) R2,000-R15,000
Annual account fee Free** R240

*eB6250 (R625) for personal banking accounts, plus eB1500 (R150) each for fuel and airtime rewards.
**R200 per annum to link a credit account.

More on rewards

FNB eBucks reward milestone

FNB hails eBucks landmark

FNB eBucks: take it or leave it

eBucks changes aggravate FNB clients

BusinessTech's Staff Writer is directly plugged into the South African Internet backbone, and spits out press releases and other news as they receive it. They are believed to be cl...
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  • It would have been nice to see ABSA rewards also included. I guess the major difference is that unlike these 2 ABSA gives one cash.

    But a picture showing the number of rewards partners between the 3 programs would have given a more holistic picture as more partners mean one is more likely to use the program thus benefit.

    • herman

      absa rewards is lame, 1 percent back and you have to pay a monthly fee. besides it is very easy to convert points to cash. in FNB’s case you could just buy your fuel with your ebucks. i prefer to buy cell phones on the ebucks store. by the way what the article does not mention is how you can for example get a R1000 makro voucher with R600 ebucks. a lot of useful stuff goes for 40% off on maximum reward level.

  • Howy Moeketsane

    But whose uses [email protected] for their fuel needs . . .?

    • Well now more people have a reason to use Caltex instead of other petrol stations. I used to fill fuel at the garage closest to me at the time of my need, but since being on Discovery Insure, I only fill up at BP. The petrol attendants now know me very well, by name, and know exactly what I need done, without needing to ask. By partnering with a rewards programme, BP has certainly scored, by getting more loyal customers.

      Besides, what’s wrong with Caltex?

      • luluwe

        Caltex is good

    • Leenesh Singh

      It says Caltex forecourts which I think means the Caltex Shop, not to fill up. I think you can fill up anywhere.

      • luluwe

        even filling up gets u the reward. and how quick that is. other programmes u buy for 6 months and only get R100 REWARD, whereas with u count one gets R1000 in weeks.

    • NowCaltexLoyalty

      R1 per liter back when buying fuel at Caltex – how do they even get this right? I think its fantastic given the price of petrol these days! I joined the program and I now save R1 per liter of fuel at Caltex.

  • Unlocking Prosperity

    Will U change banks for this reward programme? I dont think so! FNB is still the best and eBucks is King in the banking industry only. Does uPoints allow U to deposit a % of your uPoints, set by yourself, into a Fixed Deposit account. Then allowing you to withdraw a maximum of 30% from your fixed deposit into a Growth Fund…the answer is NO! eBucks does this which actually makes your eBucks grow into real MONEY people!!! I would change banks for that! it is going to take 13 years for uPoints to catch up and by then i am almost certain that eBucks would already be on Virgin Galactic…hahaha.

  • NowCaltexLoyal

    I checked this – it doesn’t matter what tier you are in… you still get R1 off every liter as long as you buy at Caltex. 🙂

  • herman

    what you really need to discuss is how difficult is it to get to that maximum reward level. i have finally after a lot of pain managed to get to level 5 on FNB. trust me they will not make the process easy for you. you have to do your homework and change your habits.

    • Random

      How does it feel? Patiently waiting for that glorious day, should be happening soon

  • Happyme

    I have Absa Rewards and I get R1200 per month cash from my card transactions. Keep you capped eBucks, cash is King!

    • Desmond

      how much do you spend before they give your money back?

      • Chrisman

        I agree about Absa Rewards. Since I joined, Absa basically pays me to bank with them! i know it sounds corny, but it’s true. I get average R200 pm back and only pay R21 for the program pm. It is so easy to join and then you can only keep on swiping. they automatically allocate cash every month which you can redeem (via internet banking) into your account. They also have GREAT bonus benefits! Their only let down is that they don’t market it properly so few people know about it…

        • Random

          I get average R200pm worth of ebucks and its free. If I want I buy makro vouchers using my ebucks and get a further discount 30% or flight tickets and the likes. And with shoprite n checkers now on board, will be getting higher savings from them than general shopping

  • Desmond

    I laugh at Stranded bank’s attempt at an awards programme. Funny how stranded bank’s failed products quietly disappear. BlueBean? whose stupid idea was that, hope the person got fired.
    Stranded bank cannot get the basics right. They have lost the plot completely. Simple simple things, and when you ask them what happened, they hide behind “we reserve the right”.
    They need some fresh executives, with fresh ideas, not the clowns they employ now, the only difference between standard bank and a circus is the size of the tent.
    This will be another stranded product from stranded bank.

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