Sunday, 17 May 2020

What's the phone for me? What's the data deal for me - in South Africa

I have been asked... What's the phone for me?  What's the data deal for me?
I have taken out contracts - but only if the price of buying the phone plus data  plus airtime makes sense.  Otherwise, it's buy the phone for cash, and go PrePaid for me.

I like Samsung J70 Pro, and now their A71 - Telkom FreeMe deals were gr8 until 1st May 2020 when Telkom reduced their value so much so that I cancelled getting the new A71+FreeMe 1GB.  

I decided to stay with my J7 Pro with its "expired" contract - which still has the "old" FreeMe 1G plan (free 3,000 Telkom to Telkom minutes (cell and landline), and 1GB data and 100 any network minutes included).

I also like Xiaomi phones -  Redmi 4X dual SIM phone was a gr8 phone and still working well.
All phones in my house are dual SIM.  I purchase the following pre-paid deals for my family - depends on their use:

FNB’s eBucks Compare: What’s the difference between FNB Gold, and Premier, and Private accounts?

I recently started taking advantage of FNB’s eBucks rewards program and have managed to get to Level 5. 
Here are the steps that I took:
1) “Downgraded” from Premier cheque account to Gold Fusion: Reasons: R199 pm fee went down to R109 pm, *and* I get 1,000 points per month *and* I get a “Free” credit facility (30 days free credit as opposed to 59 days – but there are no credit charges as long as you pay by due date) Note: interest charges are higher if you don’t pay it all off.
2) Use the FNB calculator to see what I needed to do to earn points per month:
Use the Account selector to see your goals:

3) With the help of the calculator, I made the following changes (based on Gold Fusion account) – target is 9,500 points to get to Level 5):
a) started using the FNB app (2,500 points pm),
b) Spend more online – using my Fusion card (1.5% back in eBucks – limited to R7,500 pm) (>R2,000 gives 2,000 points)
c) Converted my Gold account to a Gold Fusion account (1,000 points pm) – no charges incurred when doing this
d) Stopped drawing cash from ATMs – use tellers at Pick ‘n Pay and Checkers (2,000 points)
e) Spend more than R5,000 on Fusion card pm (1,500 points)
f) Use Fusion card for 100% of spend (2,000 points)  => 11,500 points reached => reached the target of 9,500 points to get to Level 5.
g) Scheduled an auto-transfer of R500 per month to FNB savings account (500 points pm)
I then could take advantage of the eBucks – earning at level 5 (from the bottom of the eBucks Calculator page):

I then quickly hit the limits – check by entering a large amount in each cell in the calculator:
Then I thought: what would the limits be if I “upgraded” to a FNB Premier account, or Private, or Private Wealth account?
So, I used the calculator to see… but it was difficult to see them side by side using the FNB eBucks calculator :(

So, I put together this table to see them side by side (downloadable pdf here) (downloadable xls here).  

and the rewards comparisons:

There is also a great forum for tips here: MyBroadband forum Tips-to-boost-your-ebucks-1-july-2019-to-30-june-2020
and a WhatsApp group click here

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Discovery Bank – I got "invited" and here’s my research: DiscoveryBank, VitalityMoney... and here's why I CLOSED my account

OK, so my invitation has arrived, and here’s the info that I collected to try and find all the small print, and limits, and “ifs and buts”:

Hi HTT, your new Discovery Card is waiting. Join Discovery Bank today!
We’re pleased to invite you to be one of the first to get a new Discovery Card with Discovery Bank. We’ll seamlessly transfer your current balance, any linked debit orders and your credit limit to your new Discovery Card.
Download the Discovery Bank app and select Join the bank today!
You need to take the first step to move your Discovery Card to Discovery Bank. It will take you less than five minutes.

A banking product that helps you bank healthier
As the world’s first behavioural bank, we’ll help you manage your money well, and reward you every step of the way. Sign up for your new Discovery Platinum Card or full banking suite. If you have any secondary cards, the cardholders will be invited to register on the Discovery Bank app when you are done.
Read more about the features, benefits and fees of your new Discovery Card, or browse our full banking suite and savings products.
Banking that gives you better rewards
Get rewarded for banking well with
Vitality Money. Track your progress on the app – how much you get is up to you. You’ll benefit from interest rates that flex monthly – get higher interest rates on savings and positive balances, as well as up to 4% less on your credit.
You’ll also enjoy a world of new rewards like up to 50% off local flights, up to 50% cash back on HealthyFood, HealthyCare and HealthyGear items, up to 15% back on fuel, Uber rides and more.
Bank on the go – it’s safe and secure
Enjoy complete control with your bank branch in the palm of your hand. Bank anytime, anywhere, and with extensive mobile banking security. You’ll be able to pay safely and faster than ever before with innovative features like having your phone contacts become payment beneficiaries and the ability to complete easy payments linked to your health plan.
We’re moving to a better way of banking
Some of the ways that you used your Discovery Card in the past will change for the better –
read more about the details. Remember, you can continue to use your current Discovery Card until your new card arrives. If you have any questions, please call us on 0860 11 2265 (BANK) or email us at
It’s time to bank healthier.The Discovery Bank team

So, I read all the links provided… and more – in fact there are so many links that I lost track of them when I wanted to review the information so I made a list of the links that helped me decide whether to take up the offer:

Bank Healthier
Vitality Money
Vitality Rewards
Vitality Money Rewards
Vitality Money Tools and Goals
3point: Vitality Money: How it works
Credit card comparison
Airport lounges
Credit card FAQs
Migrating to Discovery Bank
3point: 10 things before moving your Discovery Card
Banking suites comparison
Banking suites fee: OneFee
Banking suites fee: Pay-as-you-go
Savings accounts comparison
Savings fees

Some things I wanted to highlight for myself (and for you):
Vitality Money
Dynamic interest rates
Monthly fee
Local flights discount
Discounted gym membership
Discounted borrowing rate
Automatic warranty extension of up
to 24 months
Online training: R750

As a Discovery Bank client, you will earn Discovery Miles based on your Discovery Bank credit card spend. These will accumulate separately on the Discovery Bank app and you’ll be able to spend them from September 2019 in even bigger, better ways.
I called Discovery Bank to confirm this: You’ll earn 1 mile for every R15 that you spend on your Discovery Black Card, or R20 on your Discovery Platinum or Gold Card.

Ummm, hold on – if the number of miles is reduced (from 1 mile per R15, to per R20 spend) that’s a loss of R67 per month on a monthly spend of say R40,000.
That’s 25% less.

"Up to" Cashbacks: Platinum Card
Local flights: <= 60%
Gym: <= 100%
Healthy foods <= 50%
Healthy Care <= 50%
Healthy Gear <= 50%
Fuel <= 15% (limited to R1,000 fuel per month) = R150
Uber <= 15%

The accounts are broadly defined by income level:
Gold: Low to middle income (earning less than R350,000 a year);
Platinum: Middle to high income (earning R350,000 to R850,000 a year);
Black: High income (earning R850,000 or more a year);

Purple: Invitation only for very wealthy customers.

Credit cards comparison:

Transactional Banking 

One fee for all your transactions   as compared to    Pay per transaction:


Example costs on pay per transaction:
Total: R 230.00
Vitality money25.00
Debit orders183.7567.50
Cash withdraw142.0028.00
ATM withdrawal1,000.0019.5019.50

Vitality Money information

If you are a member of Vitality Drive and Vitality Money, then the discounts get added.
Note: the Vitality Money cashback has a limit of R1,000 petrol purchase – so, if you are on the “up to 20%” cashback on Vitality Money, then the maximum cashback will be R200 per month.

DiscoveryCard spend bands and other “small print”

On one of my calls to the Discovery Bank call centre I asked about the BP cashbacks: If I spent R1,500 per month on petrol, and I managed to get onto Silver Vitality Money status, then what would my cashback be?
Answer: Well, that depends on your credit card colour, and credit card spend, and Vitality Money status – and there are Discovery card spend band matrix that map spend to cashbacks; and it is limited to R1,000 petrol spend (same limit on all cards: Black, Platinum, Gold cards)). The Vitality Drive cashback benefit is also paid out.  For platinum card, a spend over R25,000 per month the cashback is 20% = R200.

Platinum Discovery Card spend bands:
R5,000 (spend band 1) to R25,000 (spend band 4) per month
=> Silver status on spend band 4 gives 12% cashback      => max R120 (since petrol spend is capped at R1,000 per month).
=> Diamond status on spend band 4 gives 20% cashback => max R200 (since petrol spend is capped at R1,000 per month).

Vitality Money status [points... not confirmed - I think...from call centre calls] (Blue (39,999), Bronze (40,000 to 59,999), Silver (60,000 to 69,999), Gold (70,000 to 79,999 plus Discovery Savings account of R40,000), Diamond (over 80,000 plus Discovery Savings account of R100,000) is dependent on 5 factors: 1) Debt management, 2) Savings, 3) Savings for retirement, 4) Short and long term insurance (medical aid, and life insurance, and sort term insurance), 5) Assets or property. 

See here for more info:

If you haven't already... then please read this excellent post from 10 things before moving your Discovery Card

I al
so asked if there’s a 3 year “timer” to get from Gold Vitality Money status level to Diamond – and there isn’t. 

Let me know in the comments below if you have found some more small print or ifs-and-buts.

Update 1 (4th Aug 2019): So, everyone has been asking me... so, what did you do?  Did you join?
Well, if it wasn't for all the open questions that I had - the main one being the Discovery Miles... I would have joined immediately.  I downloaded the DiscoveryBank app (Android, Apple), took my selfie, read the terms and conditions, called their call centre (0860 11 2265) a few times, and investigated a bit ;)
Then, I clicked the "Accept" button.  Then: "Great choice HTT... let's finalise your application": Employment status, Employment sector,  Employment division, Occupation, Employer, Marital status and type, Address;
Foreign tax and citizenship info
Additional cards (R30 each per month),
Verify email address, enter OTP,
Declare that all info provided is correct,
Congratulations, your application has been submitted - we will notify you when your account(s) are open.  Please keep using your existing Discovery Card until you receive your new one.

Update 2 (4th Aug 2019): A few minutes later, two SMSs and two emails:
"Discovery Bank: Your new card is being prepared. Expect a call from DSV couriers to confirm delivery"
"Congrats and welcome! Your credit card account is now open. Log in to the app to start banking with us. Regards, Discovery Bank"
my wife got an SMS asking her to download the app.

Update 3 (10th Aug 2019): After 5 days of not being able to login to the Discovery banking app, and calling the call centre twice (hanging on for over 12 minutes each time), I figured out a workaround - so it's sort of, SOLVED.  
I logged in on another phone fine and while playing with it, I figured out that the problem was caused because I disallowed the app access to my Contacts ('permission' was OFF).  
On the other phone, it was off too - but logged in fine.
Giving the app access to my Contacts on my phone "fixed" it :(  (I hate giving apps access to my Contacts)

Update 4 (10th Aug 2019): The maximum points that I can receive on Vitality Money on a Platinum card is: 
Retirement: 10,000
Debt Management: 25,000
Savings: 25,000 
Insurance: 25,000
Property: 15,000

Proof of (non-Discovery products) contributions need to be provided within 150 days to keep benefits.

Points awarded for achieved goals in 55 days :(

Update 5 (11th Aug 2019): Browsing the Discovery Vitality web site: I found that I now need to deposit a monthly amount of R17,500 into the account - now what is a "Discovery 1+ account"
If you don't make the minimum required deposit for your Discovery 1+ account, you'll still qualify for Dynamic Interest Rates. You'll get the rate applicable to the Discovery 1 account, but only if your account is in good standing. You can view your Dynamic Interest Rates on the Discovery Bank app.

Update 6 (3rd Oct 2019): I CLOSED my DiscoveryBank account.
Bottom line - they are not ready for me as a Client - the info available and rules are not available on the web pages.  The app isn't ready for me (and I suspect many others) to use.
DiscoveryMiles aren't available yet (I have just seen a Tweet that you get 1 mile for R50 spend! (As compared to R15 per mile with the "old" DiscoveryCard (powered by FNB).
I never received my secondary cards - no response to my emails (and no call backs), and I wasn't going to wait in the call centre queues for another 20 minutes.
I was getting charged the R60 monthly fee for VitalityMoney and I was getting no value (since I didn't activate my new DiscoveryCard because I didn't have my secondary cards.
I was getting charged the monthly credit card fee and I hadn't activated the new credit card.
I didn't fancy the idea of swiping the separate Vitality Food card as well as my new DiscoveryCard.
The spending bands were not published and I had to ask the call centre staff to send the info to me (after seeing some tweets about this).
I seem to remember the full banking suite monthly charge changed after this blog post... 
The savings goals seems way out of reach for me... so I doubt that I would ever be in the top tier rewards bracket.

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