Archives For July 2013

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Standard Bank’s new rewards programme, UCount Rewards, has seen over 110 000 registrations since launching on 9 June 2013. This large response in such a small space of time clearly means customers see real value in the programme- and who wouldn’t?

We all know what it’s like in that last stretch before payday when you have to decide between buying airtime and a bottle of shampoo. Once you’ve come to the conclusion that you can live a few more days with manky hair but not without mobile internet access, you realise that even small luxuries like chocolate seem to cost as much as gold.

This is when rewards programmes step up and save the day (and sometimes personal hygiene).

Standard Bank has made this avenue available to its customers. It’s giving its clients an opportunity to capitalise on purchases, simply by paying with their Standard Bank personal Debit, Cheque or Credit Cards.

Every time customers make use of these cards they collect rewards points, which can be redeemed for a wide range of items, including fuel from Caltex forecourts, and visiting a Bidvest Premier Airport Lounge.

Standard Bank customers can register for the UCount Rewards programme online, via the UCount Rewards Contact Centre on 0860 82 68 68 or at any Standard Bank branch. The membership fee is R20 per month or R240 per year. Once registered, the member will receive a UCount Rewards Card.

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How to collect points

Members get up to 10% back in  rewards points on all grocery purchases made at Checkers, Checkers Hyper, Makro, Pick n Pay, Shoprite, SPAR or Woolworths stores countrywide, when using the applicable Standard Bank cards.

In addition, members get up to 1.5% back in rewards points on all other everyday purchases when using the relevant cards.

There are four reward tiers and the number of rewards points collected depends on a member’s banking activity and the number of Standard Bank products and services used every month.

The more products and services used, the higher the reward tier, and the greater the reward, with 10 rewards points equalling R1.

UCount Rewards also provide fuel rewards where members collect points for every litre of fuel bought from participating Caltex forecourts. As a limited introductory offer, all members collect R1 back in rewards points per litre of fuel purchased until 31 December 2013. Thereafter, 20 cents worth of rewards points per litre of fuel will be collected.

Redeeming rewards points

The UCount Rewards Card can be used to pay for purchases at any Clicks, Tiger Wheel&Tyre, Makro, Incredible Connection, or Coricraft store. Members also collect up to 5% back in rewards points of what they spend when shopping at any of these Participating Rewards Retailers.

5 backtigerwheelmakro-smallIncConnect      coricraft

Rewards points can also be converted to SAA Voyager Miles or redeemed online at the UCount Rewards Online Mall or UCount Rewards Travel Mall  for flights, car hire, spa treatments, electronics, appliances, holidays, gadgets, homeware and more.

travel

Members can also donate their rewards points to charity or invest them in a Standard Bank PureSave account.

In short

  • R20 monthly  membership fee or R240  membership subscription fee
  • 10 points = R1
  • Collect up to 10% back in rewards points on groceries
  • Collect up to 1.5% back in rewards points on everyday purchases, no matter where you shop
  • Collect extra rewards points when buying fuel at participating Caltex forecourts
  • Redeem rewards points online on the UCount Rewards Online and Travel Mall, or
  • Use the Rewards Card to redeem rewards points at Participating Rewards Retailers to pay for purchases

Pros:

  • Get rewarded for purchases you would have made anyway
  • Several avenues to redeem points
  • Large variety of products to spend rewards points on
  • Clean, shiny hair the whole month
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If I were a hotel…

Farzana Rasool —  July 30, 2013 — 2 Comments

Most households squabble over who gets to keep the TV remote because the holder has the power to change channels, alter the volume, and hit record for the programmes of their choice without having to constantly ask someone else to do it.

This self-sufficiency is of great value to businesses as well. To put the power in the hands of its customers and to make prepaid even easier, Tutuka has enabled a new self-service function on its website for private label prepaid cards.

As the ‘remote holders’, businesses can create, load and redeem cards as they wish.

Just hit the ‘Instant Prepaid Accounts’ tab. Sign-up takes less than three minutes (it actually took me less than one minute and I’m one of those despicable two-finger typers), hundreds of card numbers can be created in seconds and there are no middle-men.

As easy as:

1- Go to Tutuka’s website

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2- Set your login details

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(NB: yes, you will be derided for weak passwords. Get creative, people!)

3- Done

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You can now create, load and redeem closed loop* prepaid card accounts at your leisure.

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If I were a hotel

What would you do with these cards? I’m glad you asked.

Let’s imagine I’m a hotel. I would first use instant private label gift cards to issue breakfast vouchers.

Why?

  • No more naughty hotel guests who use a breakfast voucher more than once
  • Staff members no longer need to do manual checks off a physical list of room numbers every morning
  • Leave the stone age behind

How?

  • My first step is to create card numbers on the Tutuka website
  •  I could print these numbers onto anything from paper vouchers to plastic cards or even pens
  •  At check-in I issue guests with breakfast vouchers loaded with the correct number of breakfasts
  •  The card is scanned or swiped every morning and only the relevant number of breakfasts are allowed

Rewards, gifts, incentives

There are several other uses for prepaid cards within a hotel environment.

1-    Spa gift cards

  • For corporate entities as prizes for customers
  • For corporate entities as incentives for employees
  • For the general public as gifts
  • For my management to give to loyal guests.

2-    Rewards cards

  • Reward loyal guests for continued business
  • Swipe anytime they use a hotel in my chain
  • Swipes help them build up points or monetary value
  • Exchange points for a spa gift card, a discount on their next visit or perhaps a free night’s stay

3-    Incentive cards

  •  For my employees
  • Source of motivation
  • Employee of the month will receive a free meal at our 5 star restaurant or a treatment at our spa
  • Both could be presented to them in the form of a pre-loaded gift card.

4-    Staff lunch cards

  •  I previously hand-wrote physical slips for each staff member for the daily staff lunch
  •  Now I can issue them with meal vouchers
  •  Vouchers are redeemed using the website’s control panel.

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Swift and simple, the prepaid process is both easy and beneficial with Tutuka.

*closed loop cards are those issued by a specific merchant and can only be redeemed at that same merchant.

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Prepaid payment, by nature, makes the lives of users a lot easier since it enables greater convenience, efficiency and security.

These also happen to be some of the duties government has to its citizens and so it makes perfect sense then that the state would implement prepaid systems where applicable. The Johannesburg municipality has adopted this thinking and implemented a prepaid payment system for its Metropolitan Bus Service (Metrobus).

The City of Johannesburg says in order to be a world-class African bus service, “Metrobus will continuously look for ways to grow its business and introduce cost-reducing and efficiency-enhancing methods and technologies”.

Prepaid tags

The city says Metrobus aims to keep its service affordable, with fare increases remaining within the inflation rate. “It is cheaper to use prepaid tags rather than pay cash.”

The Metrobus prepaid system makes use of colour coded tags for fare payment. These can be purchased at the following Computicket outlets:

  • Gandhi Square on Main Street in the Johannesburg CBD
  • Cresta Mall on Beyers Naude Drive
  • Park Station in Braamfontein
  • Shoprite Ridgeway on Rifle Range Road
  • Roodepoort Metrobus Depot on President Street
  • Rosebank Mall

To obtain a tag, commuters must pay a once-off fee of R49, after which the top-up amount is recorded and deducted as bus trips are made.

Infrequent users can use a ‘stored value’ tag that works like a debit card. The commuter tells the driver the number of zones to be travelled and the amount is then deducted from the tag. The maximum amount on the stored value tag is R500 and it has no expiry date.

Frequent user tags are differentiated by colour and commuters will choose a colour depending on their particular needs, with special rates for pensioners, learners and disabled people.

Colour coordination

  • Green: adult commuters who use the buses daily. Green tags are available for 52 trips monthly, 44 trips monthly, 14 trips weekly, 12 trips weekly and 10 trips weekly.
  • Red: school children can have their tags preloaded with the specific number of bus trips they will need. It is available in a 130-trip term ticket, 44 trips monthly, 10 trips weekly and the stored value.
  • Yellow: People with disabilities make use of this tag and it’s valid for three months.
  • Black: Pensioners have black tags that are valid for a year and they also receive a 50% discount on their trips.

Commuters forfeit all unused trips after the expiry date.

To activate the tag, the number of zones to be traveled need to be loaded on to the tag. Passengers are restricted to travel within the zones they load. The tag is not restricted to specific calendar weeks or months – it can be used at any time.

If a tag is lost, stolen or misplaced, its loss can be reported and it will be barred from further use. Further precaution is taken by implementation of the 10-minute “pass-back” feature. This means that once a tag is swiped it cannot be used again for 10 minutes. Metrobus has installed this feature to prevent fraud. All tags also have a transfer option, which allows passengers to transfer to a second bus within two hours to complete a journey.

Pros:

  • Cost-efficient
  • Security features
  • Convenience
  • Caters for different needs of commuters
  • Can still use cash so if a tag is ‘empty’ and a commuter is not near a Computicket outlet they can resort to cash for that trip

Cons:

  •  Expired trips are forfeited

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The advancement of technology has enhanced the human experience by an unquantifiable extent. A secondary result is the availability of several ‘crutches’ that the human brain can lean on to get its job done.

Who needs to remember birthdays when facebook will so kindly remind you? Why take note of the great point that article made when you can just save the link and revisit  it at your leisure?

The inevitable result of this is a generation that will not remember events unless they’ve been posted onto digital calendars, will take pictures of Powerpoint presentations in a lecture instead of writing down notes and who have more important things to concern themselves with than the mundane necessity of drawing money and having cash on hand to pay for daily travel.

Enter Gautrain Gold Card.

card

The prepaid card for commuters has eradicated the problematic need for public transport users to constantly make sure they have the right amount of cash on hand to be able to get home after work or to make their way to Sandton for a shopping trip. In the age of plastic, where a growing number of people are more comfortable swiping cards everywhere they go, as opposed to carrying cash around, this is especially helpful.

The gold card can be purchased from the sales desk at any Gautrain station for R12 and is used for the bus and train services, as well as for parking.

Users can load value onto the card via electronic card terminals that accept both cash and bank cards. Instead of topping up daily, Gautrain commuters can load any amount that is convenient for them, whether it be enough for a week’s worth of travel or a month.

terminals

Card scanners on the busses and at the train platform entrances read the cards and deduct the relevant amounts.

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Pros:

  • Convenient
  • Safer than carrying cash
  • One prepaid card works seamlessly for all Gautrain services

Cons:

  • If you’ve forgotten to load money onto your card you cannot make use of the bus and will be left stranded, since the only method for loading money onto a card is at the terminals at the station. However, every station has several terminals so remember to top up!

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With gaming consoles, the internet and cellphones being natural extensions of the typical gamer, Sony, in a wise move, has joined up with mobile payments company Boku to allow ease of payment for online content via users’ cellphones.

Users in the United Kingdom can now top up their Sony account wallet to obtain content from the PlayStation®Store and across the Sony Entertainment Network, using their mobile phone account.

This is how it works:

  •          Choose “mobile” as the payment option
  •          Enter a mobile phone number
  •          Respond via SMS to confirm the wallet top-up

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The wallet top-up charge will appear on the user’s next mobile phone bill, or will be debited against their pre-paid account.

Gordon Thornton, Vice President, Sony Network Entertainment Europe, said: “We are always looking at new ways to give our customers more choice in terms of content, accessibility and payment methods, and are pleased to be able to offer the option of mobile operator billing, which is becoming more and more popular”.

Mobile operator billing is indeed fast becoming a popular method of payment, with Microsoft’s Skype also recently offering direct carrier billing as a payment method. Microsoft’s Xbox.com has added this payment option as well.

Pros:

  •  Mobile operator billing is convenient and allows for a simple, easy payment process
  •  No credit card required so products and services are more widely accessible
  •  Security concerns around placing banking or credit card details online are alleviated

Sony says that enabling mobile payments makes the process easier for users to access and obtain downloadable games, add-ons, themes, movies and TV shows from its online content stores.

It explains that wallet top-ups with mobile operator billing can be made through the Sony Entertainment Network Account Management website and PlayStation®Store on PlayStation®3 (PS3™).

Currently, the Sony mobile billing system is only in place in the UK but hopefully South African gamers and Sony subscribers can expect the option soon.

Prepaid Easy

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Today we take a look at the The AwardsCard™ by the Achievment Awards Group. This card is aimed at fulfilling employee rewards and can be used for driving sales, motivating channels and improving customer care.

Used to drive performance, this card has 3 different options available:

  • The Single Load – a disposable card for once-off gifts; it can be loaded with any amount and be used for birthdays, thank you gifts or achievement recognition.
  • The Reloadable – reward values are loaded into the AwardsBank account each month, to drive continuous improvement and keep employees motivated.
  • The Reloadable with online awards catalogue – the only incentive card in South Africa that offers dual currency: shop online from our Awards Catalogue, or use at almost any retail outlet that supports MasterCard™.

Pro’s:

  • Cardholders can shop via our online catalogue of awards that is stocked with over 10 000 awards
  • The Compliments card can…

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