According to research firm AC Nielsen, SA has the highest penetration of loyalty programmes anywhere, with almost two-thirds of the population belonging to more than one programme. There are two broad categories of reward programmes in financial services. One is rewards for doing business, which would apply to all the bank programmes. FNB’s eBucks has been the most successful of these (the eBuck itself was an online currency long before anyone had thought of bitcoin). The other bank programmes — Nedbank’s Greenbacks, Absa’s Rewards and Standard Bank’s UCount — have similar methodologies to eBucks. Then there are the wellness programmes, which were pioneered in SA. Discovery Vitality is dominant in this sector, with Momentum Multiply in a respectable second place. They both encourage fitness, particularly through discounted gym membership. Johan Moolman, head of eBucks, says the programme has paid out more than R10bn in its 18-year history. Customers can spend these rewards on regula...

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