Category Banking

Making the most of 2020 rewards

24 February 2021 Standard Bank

Many things changed in 2020, including how Standard Bank customers redeemed and used their UCount Rewards Points.

Data from Standard Bank’s UCount Rewards Programme shows that many consumers adopted resourceful methods to manage the resultant financial pressure brought on by COVID-19. The data also demonstrates that the impact of the lockdown on UCount Rewards members was less negative than on non-members.

Since the launch of this offering in 2019, redemptions of UCount Rewards Points into personal lending products such as Revolving Credit Plan or Term Loan, has steadily increased. However, the most significant change in customer behaviour in the Rewards space observed by Standard Bank was the shift in the way customers redeemed their UCount Rewards Points in 2020.

“From 2019 to 2020 there was a substantial change in redemption behaviour, primarily driven by the lockdown. Redemptions into PureSave grew by 29% year-on-year, due to members needing access to cash;” Fayelizabeth Foster, Head of Loyalty and Rewards for Standard Bank says. “For the months of the level five lockdown, April to September, redemptions at Standard Bank’s fuel rewards retailer Caltex decreased but this has steadily increased since the easing of lockdown restrictions. Makro, remained a popular redemption option year-on-year however year-on-year redemptions on the UCount Travel Mall decreased substantially by 57%.”

Customers were still able to redeem their Rewards Points to purchase essentials at partners such as Makro and Dis-Chem. They could also donate to charities such as the Solidarity Fund and to student crowdfunding initiative Feenix.

UCount Rewards members can redeem their Rewards Points into their PureSave accounts allowing them to create and easily Points to cash. UCount Rewards, is also the only loyalty programme that allows its members to redeem their Rewards Points to reduce or pay off their personal loans.

The UCount Travel Mall gives customers access to deals on flights, local and international travel packages, car rental, hotel accommodation, and local getaways.

“To ensure that members had access to Rewards Points when they needed it, we reduced the redemption threshold for PureSave from R2000 to R200. We offered grocery vouchers for redemption and because members could not spend normally and most retailers were closed limiting the opportunity to spend, members were afforded the opportunity to achieve Tier Five benefits without needing to spend the minimum of R20 000 on their credit card and qualified with the Tiering Points only. This saw an increase in Tier Five members.”

Due to the pandemic and the impact of hard lockdown, and in line with the need to social distance and behave responsibly, customers were encouraged to change their banking transaction behaviour and move to digital platforms or contactless channels.

“We observed a significant year-on-year increase in member digital adoption on the UCount Rewards programmes including usage of the banking app, increased prepaid purchases and increased use of digital technologies like SnapScan.”

There was a radical decrease in actual point of sale (POS) spend, including fuel – during the first level five lockdown, POS for fuel was at its lowest level. The weighting of the customers’ baskets was skewed heavily to groceries, with minimal spend on clothing and luxuries across segments – a combination of most retailers being closed and customers prioritising spending on essential goods during the lockdown period.

Customers also redeemed their UCount Rewards Points to purchase electronic equipment such as laptops, from Standard Bank’s Rewards Retailers, to enhance their work from home experiences.

Early in the onset of the pandemic Standard Bank opted to implement various relief measures for UCount Rewards customers. These lasted for six months and were designed to aid struggling consumers.

UCount Rewards has five Tier Levels and the level you’re on depends on the number of Tiering Points that you have.

Based on your monthly banking activity and the number of Standard Bank products and services you use every month; you automatically get Tiering Points which puts you into one of five Tiering Levels. The more products and services you use, the higher your Tier Level will be – and the more Rewards Points you will earn from your qualifying purchases.

Additionally, all new and existing Prestige and Private Banking clients who registered for UCount Rewards between 1 April – 30 June 2020 got 5 000 Rewards Points (R500) once-off to help them purchase essentials.

Standard Bank also introduced redemption into the Solidarity Fund to give members an opportunity to donate their Rewards Points and add their support for those affected by COVID-19.

“The UCount Rewards programme is built to reward customers for banking with Standard Bank but in 2020 it went further than this providing many of them with welcome relief in the midst of a global pandemic,” Foster says.


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