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FNB’s eBucks will soon give you 15% back on KFC meals - as long as you aren't too rich, or too poor

Phillip de Wet , Business Insider SA
 Jun 05, 2019, 01:00 PM

News analysis

eBucks on KFC
  • In July First National Bank is adding KFC to places where its customers can earn eBucks.
  • But only some customers will be earning eBucks on chicken – and those who don't have money to invest won't be getting much back.
  • Richer people will have to choose between rewards for chicken or the Gautrain.

From 1 July First National Bank will pay its customers up to 15% of the money they spend at KFC back in eBucks. That is, some its customers, if they meet certain spending and investment targets, and assuming they don't want to also earn rewards when using the Gautrain.

The addition of KFC as an earn partner was one of the headline changes to the popular eBucks system FNB announced last week. But the benefit will be limited, even for those FNB customers who qualify, illustrating just how complicated the eBucks system has become.

The eBucks loyalty scheme is available across six main account types, ranging from FNB's Easy account (now one of the cheapest in the market) to RMB Private Bank accounts – which are only available to those who earn at least R1.5 million per year.

See also: FNB’s entry-level account is now cheaper than Capitec - here’s how it compares to Standard Bank, Absa and the others

Those rich RMB clients will not get eBucks when they buy chicken at a KFC, nor will the holders of the cheap Easy accounts. The KFC benefit is exclusive to FNB's Gold accounts, which are marketed at those who earn between R84,000 and R300,000 per year.

Richer customers on its other account options, FNB says, can instead order their KFC via Uber Eats, and earn eBucks through that partnership.

But Gold account holders can't be too poor either if they want to reap the maximum 15% benefit that will be available to them.

For Easy account holders, the eBucks system is geared towards earning airtime. For everyone else there are five tiers of eBucks rewards, with discounts and benefits steadily increasing as you climb the ladder. A Gold account holder on level one will receive only 0.5% of their spending at KFC back in eBucks, compared to the 15% for those on level five.

Reaching level five isn't easy, though, and from July Gold account holders will have to do so through very specific behaviours. They will be able to get part of the way by using no cash but only paying by swiping their cards, lodging a Will with FNB, and using the FNB app – but will find it very hard to climb all the way up without also doing things such as depositing at least R500 into a savings account every month, and spending at least R500 a month online.

And if they have enough money to meet those requirements, the benefits stop adding up if they eat too much chicken. The KFC eBucks benefit is limited to R350 in spend every month, the equivalent of one decent-sized KFC meal a week, which means a maximum payout of R52.50 per month in eBucks.

(Asked about those numbers, FNB said the R350 spend limit "is based on current customer behaviour" and the bank considers it "a very beneficial reward".)

Richer FNB customers who also happen to be KFC fans can, in theory, apply for Gold accounts and claim eBucks for their chicken purchases. However, that would come with some sacrifices: eBucks rewards for money spent on Gautrain tickets are only available to FNB's Private clients and above – those who earn at least R750,000 per year. 

eBucks for spending with Uber, on the other hand, kicks in at the much lower Gold level.

Asked if this means FNB believes everyone uses Uber, but only the wealthy take the Gautrain, the bank says the eBucks scheme is based on customer behaviour "as well as what will provide the most value to as many of our members as possible".

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