Picture: Discovery
Picture: Discovery

Q: My husband and I have recently had to migrate from the old Discovery credit card to the new Discovery Bank credit card and I’m trying to find some solid, concrete facts about the additional benefits of having this card. While I’ve found some information in the depths of Discovery's website, I’m not impressed by the lack of transparency. What are the actual benefits and rewards that one can get using the Discovery Bank credit card that I don’t already get on Vitality diamond?

So far, without jumping through lots of hoops to get to Vitality Money diamond status — I see that for swiping my card, I have to spend R500 to get R1 worth of Discovery miles, and that that is capped at R10,000 spend per month. With my traditional bank, I get R1 worth of miles for R150 without doing anything extra and it’s not capped, so unless there are incredible other benefits, I don’t see your new system as being worth my while.

Can you clarify other benefits and rewards — not in a generally vague way, but with concrete figures, please? At the moment with your miles system, I am limited to R50 worth of miles back a month, which doesn’t even cover the bank fees to have this card, so it doesn’t make sense — Gaby Pitman, Wynberg, Cape Town. 

A: Barry Hore, CEO of Discovery Bank, responds:

Comparing bank accounts in SA is a notoriously difficult exercise. We have tried to make it simpler but recognise that there’s still work to be done, and we will try to do better. We must also make sure we compare products that serve a similar income segment. We believe to effectively evaluate bank accounts, you need to look at three key factors: the rewards you earn, the interest you earn on cash in your day-to-day accounts, and the fees that you pay. 

Our rewards, based on your Vitality Money status and spend, are made up of Discovery Miles earned at a rate of up to one Discovery Mile per R15 spent, and Dynamic Discounts which boost your Vitality Health rewards. 

Illustration: DOROTHY KGOSI
Illustration: DOROTHY KGOSI

We don’t believe in lazy money. We offer the best market interest rates on cash in your cheque accounts, starting from 5%, going up to 6.50%. We have calculated that South Africans in general lose up to R6.5bn a year in lost interest. 

A client who has an average monthly balance of R10,000 in their day-to-day account would earn up to R650 a year in interest with Discovery Bank.

Illustration: DOROTHY KGOSI
Illustration: DOROTHY KGOSI

We also offer clients the opportunity to decrease the interest they pay on their borrowing based on their Vitality Money Statuses; clients on our Black full banking suite can get up to a 6% rebate on their borrowing rates. 

In addition, as a digital bank, we have a host of features with a simple pricing structure. Clients on Black full banking suites have free real-time payments — where clients can transfer money instantaneously 24/7 to any bank in SA. This feature costs between R10 to R65 at other banks, even with bundled pricing. Another innovation is Health Payments, where Discovery Health clients can automatically pay for their co-payments through Discovery Bank at medical providers such as pharmacies, hospitals, laboratories and radiology practices.

We believe the combination of rewards, interest, functionality and fees is a compelling value proposition for clients to join Discovery Bank, however, we must emphasise that Discovery’s core purpose is to make people healthier and to enhance and protect their lives.

Vitality Money is more than just a rewards programme. Just like in Vitality Health, we fundamentally believe that by clients engaging with Vitality Money, they can significantly improve their financial health. Therein perhaps lies the biggest benefit of all.

* Send your questions to money@arena.africa