In the last month FNB clients have been receiving e-mails highlighting changes to the bank’s eBucks reward qualification rules, prompting its clients to adhere to certain requirement if they still want to earn the rewards.
Some Moneyweb readers have indicated that they feel some of these requirements, like having to opt yes for marketing contact by FNB, were akin to “blackmail”.
In the e-mail clients are informed that from July 1 2012 the qualification rules and the way reward level points are accumulated will change.
The client is informed that he or she can still earn up to 2.5% back in eBucks every time they swipe their FNB Cheque Card but that they have to do certain things to qualify.
“First, you need to ensure that you meet the new qualifying criteria to earn eBucks. You already meet some of the criteria, but for you to continue earning eBucks on your cheque account you still need to change your FNB marketing consent indicator to ‘Yes’ by the end of July 2012, update your contact details with a valid e-mail address and cellphone number at least once in a 12 month period, and ensure the value of your monthly cheque card swipes exceeds the value of of your monthly ATM withdrawals,” the e-mail reads.
“Otherwise, you are going to stop earning eBucks on your FNB Cheque Account and miss out on all the rewards you deserve,” the bank writes in the same e-mail.
FNB told Moneyweb that it is an ongoing necessity to revise its offerings and products to “ensure sustainability”.
“Our rules are designed to encourage customers to transact in a way that is beneficial to both them and FNB. Our rewards rules are revised on an annual basis, in line with our annual price review,” the bank said in response to a query on the necessity for changing the qualification rules.
FNB denied that the change in the rules was designed to cut back on rewards that customers receive.
“We remain committed to rewarding our customers for optimal banking activity and product holding. Customers can still get up to 2.5% back in eBucks rewards, and up to 15% on qualifying fuel or airtime purchases. The rules are designed to encourage customers to transact in a way that is beneficial to both them and FNB, and as a result it is necessary to review these on an annual basis,” the bank said.
In response to the allegation that some of the requirements, like having to opt yes for marketing contact by FNB, was akin to blackmail, FNB said that this specific requirement to give permission to FNB to market to clients was put in place last year.
“FNB needs to be able to communicate to clients around its loyalty and product offerings, including information around the Fuel, Airtime and eBucks Rewards programmes and in order to do this we need to ensure that your contact details are up to date. We are conscious of members not wanting to be ‘spammed’ and therefore send planned communications that members expect to receive,” the bank said.
FNB said that clients will not, in effect, be earning less eBucks than before.
“Clients will be able to continue earning eBucks, but may need to adapt your banking behaviour. For example, we require customers to transact using electronic channels which are designed to make your everyday banking quick and convenient and include FNB Cellphone Banking, FNB Online Banking, FNB Telephone Banking and the FNB Banking App.
These channels are far cheaper and more convenient than using a branch to transact and allow you to do transactions on the go or in the comfort of your own home or office,” FNB said, adding that Telephone Banking has been included as an electronic channel so clients who prefer to transact with assistance from an FNB staff member, will still meet the entry criteria.
FNB is aggressively marketing its eBucks rewards system in the media in an effort to attract new clients, but mention of the change in qualifying criteria has only been communicated directly to clients.
“We have communicated directly to customers via personalised rewards letters,” FNB said.