Big eBucks changes — including revamped fuel double-up rewards

FNB has announced a raft of changes to its eBucks Rewards programme, including a new way to increase fuel earn, additional incentives for using virtual cards, and higher-value grocery vouchers and travel discounts.

eBucks Rewards CEO Johan Moolman recently gave MyBroadband a rundown on the adjustments, which will apply from 1 August 2023 to 31 July 2024.

Moolman said the bank expected to exceed R20 billion in eBucks Rewards payouts by the end of 2023, 23 years after its launch.

The payouts have accelerated significantly in recent years, with roughly a fifth of the total accumulated over the last 24 months.

Moolman explained the changes to eBucks criteria were intended to better align with the current economic context and evolving customer needs.

“The changes are also designed to enable better access to our rewards, especially for our entry-and middle-income customers, promoting healthy banking behaviours, such as the use of digital channels and virtual cards for safety and convenience, and encouraging the use of more cost-effective ways to access cash,” Moolman said.

The exact changes in eBucks Rewards will vary depending on the type of account you hold, as outlined in the sections below.


Premier/Private customers

Virtual card

The first major habit change Moolman recommended for Premier/Private customers who had not already done so was to switch as much of their spending to a virtual card.

The bank’s updated level-based eBucks earning rates, some of which have been increased with certain partners, will only apply when customers use a virtual card.

If they pay with a physical card, they will earn at a much lower fixed rate regardless of their reward level.

For example, a Premier customer filling up at Engen with a physical card will earn back R0.10 per litre of fuel regardless of level, compared to between R0.50 and R4.00 when using their virtual card.

The table below shows the eBucks return rates and rewards for FNB’s higher-end accounts with several eBucks partners and illustrates how using a virtual card increases the payouts significantly.

Fuel double-up

Another big change is that Engen fuel double-up amounts will now be rewarded monthly rather than quarterly.

In addition to having your car financed through Wesbank and loading its details on the app’s Nav> feature, users must now also take out short-term insurance through FNB Car Insurance to qualify for the full double-up.

Moolman told MyBroadband the bank added the insurance option to allow those who already have cars financed through other institutions to earn a bit extra.

The insurance can be taken up directly via the FNB app.

Having your car loaded on the Nav> app with financing through Wesbank without FNB’s insurance, or having FNB insurance but no Wesbank financing, will mean you only qualify for 50% of the double-up.

A Premier customer that previously earned up to R4.00 per litre of fuel extra through the double-up will only earn R2.00 if they only meet either the financing or insurance criterion.

A noteworthy improvement is that neither Premier/Private nor Aspire customers will be disqualified from the fuel double-up offer if they fill up at a garage other than Engen.

Instead, they will just not earn eBucks for fuel bought from the other stations.

This change eliminates the hassle that required customers to keep receipts of spending at other stations if they only bought items from their forecourts and the payment machine used was not provided by FNB.

FNB often mistakenly picked up such transactions as fuel spend and disqualified customers from the double-up unless they could supply photos of their slips as proof.

Reward Level changes

The number of ranking points needed for each Reward Level has also dropped substantially.

For Premier and Private Clients accounts, Reward Level 5 requires 3,000 fewer points than in the previous year.

The threshold for Level 5 on Private Wealth and RMB Private Banking accounts has also been slashed by 2,500 points.

Customers will have to check FNB’s full earn rules on its eBucks website on 1 July 2023 to see whether it is truly easier to reach the higher levels, though.

The full changes FNB has made to the qualifying actions that earn Reward Level points have not been disclosed.

From the second table below, we can infer FNB increased the points earned for the “Track my Rewards” action from 500 to 1,000.

However, at the same time, it reduced the points earned for performing at least six transactions via the app from 2,000 to 500.

Moolman did mention that one of the additional actions that has been added is paying at least two bills via the FNB Pay Bills feature, which will earn you 1,000 points.

The tables below show how the points thresholds for each Reward Level changed and some of the criteria customers can meet to reach Level 5.

Lift Premium discounts and licence disc payments

FNB has also partnered with Lift to offer a 25% discount on the first 1,000 flight bookings each month on its Lift Premium product — its version of business class.

In addition to regular eBucks customers on all levels, the benefit is available to all FNB and RMB Private Bank account holders.

Customers can use eBucks, rands, or party-pay in eBucks and rands to access the benefit.

eBucks can now also be used to pay for licence disc renewals through the mobile app’s Nav>>Car feature.


Aspire

To qualify for eBucks as an Aspire customer, you must have an active current account or perform five customer-initiated debit transactions per month.

Aspire customers will also get R20 in eBucks back on their Netflix and Spotify monthly subscriptions — provided they pay for them using a virtual card and have a family banking profile.

Aspire customers’ updated double-up fuel rules are similar to Premier/Private customers, although the earn rate remains unchanged.

With either Wesbank finance on their car or Wesbank short-term insurance, they get R0.60 extra per litre of fuel. With both, they get an additional R1.20 per litre.

Aspire customers also get new discounts on travel products — including R50 off Quickbus tickets and R100 off domestic flights, up to a combined total value of R1,000 per year.

In addition, FNB has added three new ways in which Aspire customers can get an annual bonus reward of R1,500 or R1,000 towards a new pair of kicks.

The Shoe Reward previously required that customers spend at least R4,000 on their FNB Aspire Debit Card every month and either increase their savings account balance by R500 every month or maintain a savings account balance of R16,500 every month.

Instead of those last two criteria, they can now do any of the following each month:

  • Have a credit status in light or dark green and use the Nav>>Money tool monthly
  • Have an active FNB Connect SIM
  • Have Cash@Till and cardless cash withdrawals greater than card-present ATM withdrawals

A reduced R1,000 Shoe Reward is available if the customer meets the criteria above for 10 or 11 consecutive months instead of the full 12.

The infographic below shows how Aspire customers can earn eBucks following the latest changes.

Refer to the table following the next section for a supplementary summary of all the Aspire changes.


Easy PayU and Easy Smart

FNB’s entry-level Easy PayU bank account is only getting one change.

The monthly voucher for essential food items bought from Checkers, Shoprite, and Usave has been increased from R15 to R20.

Easy Pay U customers get this voucher when they spend at least R200 at one of these stores.

Easy Smart customers will benefit from two changes.

Firstly, they can now get R50 discounts on one-way bus tickets booked through FNB’s Quickbus platform, up to a maximum value of R500 per year.

Secondly, there are three new ways for Easy Smart customers to earn the annual bonus R500 Shoprite/Checkers voucher.

In addition to spending at least R1,000 on their FNB Easy Debit card every month, they were previously required to grow their monthly savings by R100 or maintain a monthly savings account balance of R6,000.

While they still have to meet the minimum spend criteria, they can also earn the voucher by performing one of the same new actions as those who wish to get the bonus reward on the Aspire account.

A reduced R300 voucher is available if customers meet the aforementioned requirements for 10 or 11 consecutive months instead of the full 12.

The table below summarises the eBucks Rewards changes for Easy PayU, EasySmart, and Aspire customers.


Full changes summarised

The PDF below details all the changes to the eBucks Rewards programme’s earn rules and benefits.


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Big eBucks changes — including revamped fuel double-up rewards