And then |there's eBucks... [Daily News (South Africa)]
(Daily News (South Africa) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) It began, as do many things these days, on Twitter. First National Bank's official Twitter "guy" told Nick Hunt Davis: "If you opt out of marketing from FNB and the First Rand Group, you will no longer earn eBucks."
He responded: "Huh? So if I opt out of getting promotional SMSes, I don't earn eBucks?"
Genna Hansen joined the conversation: "That sounds a bit dodge! Is that allowed according to data protection and/or CPA?"
I asked FNB to clarify the position.
Spokeswoman, Samantha Sowman-Mistry, began by saying that different rules applied to different bank products.
Those with credit cards "or any wealth transactional products" did not need to consent to being sent marketing material to earn e-Bucks, but those who held a cheque account do need to opt in for the direct messages to earn eBucks rewards, she said.
"From time to time, eBucks rewards will send those customers messages on how to earn and spend their eBucks and inform customers what their current eBucks balance is," Sowman-Mistry said.
eBucks is a free rewards programme, a "value-add", she said.
"It's imperative for the bank that we are able to communicate to our cheque account customers about information that is of benefit to our customers and we can't do so without their consent. Stipulating marketing consent as an eBucks earn rule provides an incentive for customers to let the bank keep in touch with them."
In this case, there seems to be a fine line between information and marketing, but Oosthuizen said FNB complied with the Protection of Personal Information Act with regards to eBucks, because it was a rewards programme.
"It is an added benefit to the consumer. Presumably, to get the 'deals' or special rates with third parties, FNB has to be able to ensure they can 'advertise' to them and have the requisite consent to do so. The customer always has the choice not to take part in the programme and thereby avoid the advertising."
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