CNA and eBucks part ways

Von Nicolas Callegari

Users of FNB?s electronic rewards program (eBucks) will be disappointed to learn that yet another of the program?s rewards partners will no longer be accepting eBucks.

One of the program?s biggest card-accepting partners was newsagent CNA, a member of the Edcon Group, which gave eBucks clients the opportunity to buy items with eBucks or earn eBucks on qualifying purchases. Effective Jan. 31, the partner will no longer be accepting eBucks cards.

Last June, launched a new angle to its eBucks rewards program, giving its clients a pin-based card that could be used to make purchases, or earn additional eBucks, at selected partners.

With CNA gone, this leaves eBucks? list of partners severely lacking in popular consumer retail stores. The program"s existing card partners include Spec Savers, Look & Listen, Garden Shop, Golfer?s Club, Arthur Kaplan Jewellers and World?s Finest Watches.

According to CEO, Lezanne Human, the split is merely the result of a marketing strategy decision from Edcon.

?When taking on CNA, the newsagent was still in the process of being bought out by Edcon. However, Edcon?s marketing strategy does not include being part of the eBucks rewards program at this point, which meant that CNA would have to leave the program.ö

She goes on to say that there is nothing sinister about the split, ?It is just something that happens with rewards programs.?

Jon Spotts, chief executive of Edcon department stores division, confirms that it was merely a change in corporate strategy, and that Edcon was not dissatisfied with the program"s performance.

Human says that eBucks is always on the lookout for partners that are willing to accept eBucks as a form of payment, as well as allow customers to earn rewards on purchases.

?We are in negotiations with a number of new potential partners, which will become known a little later in the year,? Human says, adding that eBucks is being very careful to appoint affiliates that are prepared to allow customers not only to spend but to earn as well.

According to Human, over the December period, the 788,500 members of the rewards program spent around R11 million (US$1.8 million) worth of eBucks (Approx. eB110 million), while R15 million (eB150 million) worth were earned. maintains that there are still various other ways for consumers to earn and spend rewards, especially online, and as more partners are brought on board, the eBucks card may indeed become more useful in the future. But for now, eBucks has some work to do to bring more popular consumer retail stores on board.