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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?

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Investec

Banking with the extra perk of gaining rewards is trending around the country. After viewing the perks of Standard Bank’s UCount Rewards, FNB’s eBucks, ABSA Rewards Programme and Nedbank’s Greenbacks, this week, Weview Wednesday takes a look at Investec’s Dividends and Rewards Programme.

Investec Dividends is a rewards programme exclusively for Investec Private Bank Account clients. By simply using your Investec Private Bank Account Visa Platinum card, you earn points towards your reward of choice.

How it works?

  • Find out more about the Investec Dividends and Rewards as well as fees by calling the Investec Client Support Centre on 0860 110 161 or +27 11 286 9663 or visit their Dividents and Rewards section on their website at http://www.investec.co.za and request a call back
  • Earn points each time you use your Investec Private Bank Account Visa Platinum card
  • The card holder will receive one point for every R5 (five Rand) point of sale purchase effected
  • Earn double and bonus points through select partners, such as Nashua Mobile and others, catering to everyone and any lifestyle
  • Earn additional points through the use of exclusive Investec services, such as Investec Private Banking and Foreign Exchange
  • Check exactly how much you can earn here
  • Once you’ve earned enough points, it’s up to you to decide how you want to redeem

Pro’s:

  • Joining Investec Dividends and Rewards is quick and easy
  • Investec has a dedicated contact centre. If you are having a problem or require assistance, contact the Investec Client Support Centre on 0860 110 161 or +27 11 286 9663
  • Earn points every time you use your Investec Private Bank Account Visa Platinum card

Con’s:

  • Dividends points can only be used for a certain amount of time and are valid for three calendar years (for example, all points earned during 2009 will be valid until 2012
  • Benefits, earnings ratios and partners are subject to change without prior notice

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?