- Discovery Bank has discovered customers want not just discounts on flights and gym fees, but also more tangible rewards.
- So it is building "a proper e-money system" that will allow customers to bank rewards, then spend them like cash – or in other, so far unspecified ways.
- It's definitely not like First National Bank's eBucks, though.
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Discovery Bank, the embryonic financial institution from the health giant, has built what group CEO Adrian Gore describes as "a proper e-money structure" as part of a rewards system – but it is definitely not like First National Bank's eBucks system.
Discovery had always intended to use its Vitality rewards concept for its new bank, offering increasingly deep discounts on things such as flights for behaving in a financially-responsible fashion.
But in early testing it discovered that "people like the idea of earning and saving something as opposed to just the discount system," Gore tells Business Insider South Africa.
See also: These are the 5 things the new Discovery Bank wants to make you do, including paying off your home
So, on top of a graduated rewards system, Discovery Bank will now also have a Discovery Miles system, for a "best of both worlds" solution.
Gore is coy about how the system will work, and especially on just how customers will be able to use Discovery Miles. Discovery, he says, plans to use different rates of exchange for some types of mile redemption, but when asked for details, will say only "you will have to wait and see".
Intriguingly, Gore offhandedly refers to Discovery Miles as a "real time kind of crypto money".
What we do know is that miles will be accumulated for spending, as with many credit card rewards systems, including the some 300,000 Discovery-branded credit cards currently administered by First National Bank, and due to be migrated to Discovery Bank.
If you manage your health and finances well, you will earning more miles, Gore says.
"But the power of it is that the miles can be monetised instantaneously," he says.
In Discovery's opinion, the real-time element is where Discovery Miles will differ most dramatically from the likes of FNB's eBucks, which is paid in batches, currently once a month.
eBucks, says Gore, "is a loyalty currency". Discovery Miles will be "in effect cash" – and will be available to be transferred to other people.
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