As consumers, our brains are hardwired to get the most bang for our buck. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

Are you really being rewarded for being a loyal customer? Marchelle Abrahams looks at the top cashback programmes out there.

As South Africans we love nothing better than a good deal or discount. If it’s a sale, that’s even better. But you know what gets the blood pumping even faster? The moment the salesperson asks if you’d like to redeem your cashback rewards.

As consumers, our brains are hardwired to get the most bang for our buck. And that’s why reward programmes are big business.
Thanks to the success of shows like TLC’s Extreme Couponing, consumers have found ways to make the system work for them. While we’re not on the same level as our US counterparts, local retailers are rewarding their loyal customers with incentives and discounts.

Are you a member of the rewards programme? Are you getting them most out of it? We take a look at 4 of South Africa’s biggest cashback reward programmes and how they work.

Clicks ClubCard

The oldest rewards programme in SA, the Clicks ClubCard has set the bar high for other retailers venturing into this territory. The idea is simple enough: the more points you earn, the more cashback you will receive. Every time you shop at Clicks, Claire’s and Bodyshop stores, swipe your card and earn points in every transaction. These points translate into cashback which is loaded onto your card every 2 months.

The retailer has also now launched an app which displays all your ClubCard info, allows you to check your cashback balance and submit scripts.
How cashback works: Spend R5 and earn 1 point; 1 point is the equivalent of 10 cents.

Clicks has also now launched an app which displays all your ClubCard info, allows you to check your cashback balance and submit scripts.

Hacks to earn more cashback points:

  • Seniors
If you are 60 years or older and a ClubCard member, you are automatically opted into Clicks SeniorsClub. This enables you to earn double points on the 2nd Wednesday of the month on Clicks exclusive Double Points Days. 

  • Baby 

For BabyClub members, double points are earned on purchases of baby products (excluding legislated products such as milk formula and food products).

  • Musica

ClubCard members can also earn points against their purchases at all Muisca stores. 1 point is earned for every R10 spent.

Pick n Pay has come up with added incentives to become a cardholder.

Pick n Pay Smart Shopper

1 000 points = R10

It didn’t take one of SA’s biggest retailers to play catch-up in the rewards programme game. But customers have been crying foul since Pick n Pay decided to halve the value of the cash rewards, but in the same breath saying that they’ve included more value added services.

One such service is their weekly personalised discounts - as a Smart Shopper cardholder, you’ll get discounts and specials on the products you buy most often.

The retailer has now also come up with added incentive to become a cardholder. It recently made headlines after announcing that it would offer a select few Smart Shopper cardholders the option of purchasing groceries on credit.

Store accounts have been designed to exclude hidden fees that exacerbate the cost of credit and charge the lowest monthly fee of R10, said Pick n Pay deputy CEO Richard van Rensburg.

How to get the most of your Smart Shopper:

  • Visit the Smart Shopper kiosk before you shop to get your exclusive vouchers
  • Look out for in-store promotions, such as double, triple and bonus points on selected items
  • Remember to swipe your card at the till every time you shop to earn points and benefit from in-store promotions
  • Spend your points on anything at Pick n Pay, from groceries to clothing, to even airtime and utility bills

FNB eBucks Rewards

eB10 = R1

Basically eBucks is about FNB rewarding their customers and how they bank. It’s a great incentive programme that puts the savings back into your pocket.
Your reward rate, which is the percentage of your qualifying purchases that you earn back in eBucks, is determined by your reward level.

Your reward level is determined by how many points you have collected in a calendar month. You collect points based on how you use your bank account(s). So, this means the more points you have collected, the higher your reward level and the more eBucks you earn.  

eBucks are accumulated whenever you use your FNB account, whether buying groceries, petrol or shopping online. The best part is that they can be redeemed anywhere and never expire, which means you can save for those big ticket items.

Maximise your rewards

  • Get discounts of up to 40% at the eBucks Shop or eBucks Travel
  • If you qualify for for eBucks Rewards, you qualify for eBucks Discounts.
  • Whenever you use your eBucks Discount at the eBucks Shop, you have to pay with eBucks only
  • Visit for a list of eBucks partners to enjoy further discounts

Discovery has now introduced Vitality Active Rewards.

Discovery Vitality

Discovery has come up with a loyalty programme that rewards you for your great health. You can earn Vitality rewards by using the online Vitality calculator - the healthier you get, the more points you earn. Members enjoy discounts on flights, hotels and health food brands sold at local retailers.

Discovery has now introduced Vitality Active Rewards. Its incentivised app encourages members to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Members just activate Vitality Active Rewards in the Discovery App and get a personalised fitness goal. 

They then earn weekly rewards, like a free drink at either KAUAI, vida e caffé or Mugg & Bean, or a free popcorn at Ster-Kinekor for achieving your goal.

Top 5 ways to get the best out of your cashback programme

1. Pick the best rewards programme for your lifestyle: If you’re into travelling and hotel stays, find a loyalty programme that rewards frequent flyers with discounted hotel or flight discounts.

2. Use in conjunction with app: Most rewards programmes have an accompanying app which a retailer wants you to download. It comes in handy when checking balances, but also offers further discounts if used with your loyalty card.

3. Check to see if and when points expire:

Most retailers don’t let their customers know that their points are about to expire, or even that they can’t be accumulated for longer than a year.

4. How easy is to to redeem points? If you’re having problems redeeming your points, let the service provider know. Many customers complain about spending too much time in customer care lines just to redeem points or vouchers.

5. Valid if used during other promotions:

Always read the small print and Ts&Cs. You think you’ve scored big on an in-store promotion, when finally you get to the till only to be told that further discounts are not allowed with cashback or redeemable rewards.