Archives For ABSA

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When I think back to a few years ago, a song which plays ever familiarly in my mind was one that was played constantly on TV ad’s which went, “back to school, back to reality”.

With schools opening tomorrow, the reality of going back to school has certainly hit and for most scholars, or more accurately, their parents, that it’s time to do the routine “back to school” stationery shopping.

Now, instead of being a hassle or just an extra expense, especially during the financially-tight January, stationery shopping can be a breeze, especially if you bank with Absa.

An Absa client myself, imagine my delight upon receiving an SMS from the bank, telling me that with the Absa Rewards programme, I can gain instant rewards of 7% on my stationary purchases from stationery outlet, Waltons, simply by paying with my Absa Card.

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Absa Rewards is a programme designed to reward you for banking with Absa. Not only does it literally put cash in your pocket with Cash Rewards, but it also gives you access to savings, discounts, special offers and convenience benefits.

Redeeming your Absa Rewards is simple and is redeemed in cash, not points,  directly into your Absa account.

Now instead of worrying about how much you are spending on all that stationery shopping, as the shopper, you can now shop with a smile on your face, knowing that you are earning rewards in the process, enough to give yourself a post-shopping spoil for all your efforts.

Giving you even more reason to spend, simply by swiping your Absa card for purchases and gaining rewards, you automatically get entered in a competition and stand a chance to win R15 000 towards school fees.

Stationery shopping has never been this blissful and going back to school, never this great.

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The Christmas season is always filled with the hustle and bustle of running around, trying to figure out if you’ve bought enough presents for everyone, if  you’ve budgeted enough for your spends and if the grocery cupboards are stocked up for all your visitors. I now understand why this time of the year has also been dubbed, “the silly season”, because it seems that the amount of spending – even sometimes without realising it – can become quite silly and overwhelming.

Various banks. including FNB eBucks, Nedbank Greenbacks, Standard Bank UCount Rewards and Investec’s Dividents Rewards Programme, have introduced their very own rewards programmes for times just like these. Simply by swiping your card, depending on who you bank with, you can instantly gain rewards which can be saved and used when you need that extra cash to spend.

Because I bank with Absa, I was able to reap the benefits of the Absa Rewards programme where I pay only R21 a month to gain rewards everytime I swipe my debit card. Rewards redemptions vary in amounts, depending on where I swipe my card, offering me highter redemptions if I swipe at any of Absa’s redemption partners.

You can imagine my surprise this week when I realised I could spend a little bit more without the added expense, all thanks to my Absa Rewards and my Pick n Pay Smart Shopper account.

My family have decided to visit me in Johannesburg for Christmas this year. Being Christmas time, I want to be able to spoil them with yummy treats and sweet goodies, especially for my younger little cousins, making their Christmas away from home that much more memorable.

My Absa Rewards, which I had gained from swiping my Absa debit card at various outlets, allows me the option of choosing to redeem my rewards either as cash, airtime, shopping vouchers, giving back to charity or redeeming through their Redemption Partners (Pick n Pay Smart Shopper points or Dischem Benefit Programme points). This came in really handy to get those extra grocery goods for the family and redeeming my Absa Rewards as Pick n Pay Smart Shopper points was such an easy process.

All I had to do was to call the Absa Rewards customer care line on 0861 788 888. Once I was on the line, I prompted to press number “1” on my phone which gave me the option of redeeming my rewards. I was then put through to an operator who was very helpful in converting my rewards to my Smart Shopper points, now redeemable at any Pick n Pay. All I had to do was to provide him with my South African ID number, he confirmed my details, asked how much of my rewards I wanted redeemed as Smart Shopper points and just like that, it was done.

To make things even better, because of this kind of redemption of my Absa Rewards, I gained an extra 15% on the amount redeemed, giving me even more to spend.

For security purposes and to keep me, as the customer, in the know about my transactions, I received two SMSes, one alerting me of my redemption transaction and another letting me know what my remaining rewards balance was.

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You can redeem your Absa Rewards online too if you are registered with their online or cellphone banking. If not, visit their website to sign up.

As easy as that, I was able to go to my nearest Pick n Pay and spend using my Smart Shopper points, without any extra expense to me. Now I can spoil my family, with no extra costs incurred. I’ve rewarded myself this Christmas, why don’t you?

smsYou will often hear people tell you that a gift card is an easy solution to a simple birthday present, or for any special occasion. It has been the norm for many years, from the days of paper vouchers to the evolution of cards being processed – Almost everything is going electronic.

Electronic vouchers (or Evouchers) are an easy way of being rewarded in our current technological era. The likes of Nedbank, Investec, FNB, ABSA and American Express have gone the route of rewarding their customers with the luxury of the choice of a gift voucher in an electronic format. Vouchers are either by email, or sms, these vouchers make life much easier for the consumer. You get rewarded for having a bank account or being part of a loyalty program and you get to choose how you are rewarded and where you want to spend your reward. How awesome is that?

Consumers have the option to select these Evouchers for their local shopping mall or selected retailers. These Evouchers are redeemable at retailers, or at shopping malls for conversion to the respective shopping mall’s own branded gift card. These retailers and shopping malls have this capability due to their integration into Tutuka’s Evoucher platform.
These innovations in voucher software are changing the dynamics of prepaid in a positive way for South Africa. In the year 2012, R37 787 713 was spent in electronic vouchers alone via Tutuka’s platform. This figure surprised some when released, but it is one that shows enormous growth in the prepaid industry. Where to from here?

Now that ABSA has launched their banking app all the major consumer banks in South Africa have applications for all the major platforms including Blackberry, Android, iPhone and Windows Mobile. However, are all these apps equal or do some provide better service or convenience?

Despite the fact that FNB has a 21 month lead in banking apps there has been a large amount of improvement with various apps from all the banks. We’re going to look at a few factors and see how everyone compares:

Platforms:

ABSA is unfortunately worst off in this arena with apps only available for iOS and Android. Considering the high level of Blackberry penetration in South Africa we can see that missing out on a platform such as this is potentially very limiting. FNB is the only bank with an app for all versions of Blackberry and Nokia phones however Standard Bank is the only one to support the fairly small user base of Windows Phone.

Functionality:

All the apps can perform the basics such as making payments, viewing balances and transfer however both the FNB and ABSA apps fall down compared to the Nedbank app that can perform certain niche payment options such as future and recurring payments as well as multiple transactions at one. As mentioned, these are fairly niche so the benefit is relatively negligible. It’s all pretty much the same here.

Prepaid:

An important use of the apps is the ability to buy the likes of prepaid airtime, electricity and data bundles. ABSA only offers prepaid airtime while FNB offers all three and Nedbank doesn’t allow for prepaid. We feel that prepaid electricity is the most useful of all these features (without airtime you can’t use the app anyway) so the FNB app wins here.

Wallets:

The FNB app allows for geo payments which is massively useful when making a payment. All in all these services can use payment services such as Nedbank’s M-PESA for sending money.

In conclusion these are all useful services but don’t expect anything more beyond basic banking. That said, simplified access to basic banking is worth it and we’re big fans of the banks approach to mobile apps.