Nedbank Greenbacks not in favour of the consumer

By Danielle van Wyk

I consider myself a diligent swiper – of my cheque card that is. I always ensure I pay with my card and, where possible, my American Express card. This is not because I’m fussy or flashy, but rather I to earn maximum “Greenbacks”.

These are the points you can earn from swiping select Nedbank cards. The key with any rewards programme is to determine whether it offers value for money. This often requires the extra admin of having to produce certain cards at pay points, or shop at their partners.

But what if you’re ticking all the boxes and you don’t feel as though you’re saving money?

How to earn Greenbacks

This rewards programme allows individuals and businesses to earn points through any of their linked accounts every time they swipe. These accounts include the credit, cheque, or American Express cards.

However, the earnings are tiered, explains a Nedbank in-branch consultant, “Greenbacks are accumulated for every R10 spent through card swipes. Cheque accounts earn 1 Greenback per card swipe, while credit card accounts earn 2. American Express cards earn the most at 4 Greenbacks per card swipe.

Rewards are capped at R10,000 for individual credit accounts and R50,000 for businesses, while cheque accounts are capped at R5,000 for individuals and R10,000 for businesses. American Express on the other hand, which has become my preferred payment method, is considered the Rolls Royce of earning potential as there is no limit.

When it comes to exchanging Greenbacks into rand value, 36 Greenbacks are equal to R1. But again, this is product dependent.

To cash in your Greenbacks, Nedbank customers have to apply for a SHOP card. This enables them to either draw their points in cash form at Nedbank ATM’s or swipe their card at select providers.

The programme boasts with a provider network of 100,000 providers, such as AVIS, Hirsch’s, South African Airways, Tsogo Sun, Netflorist, and Baby City. It can also be used at certain fuel stations, such as Caltex. Another advantage is that the card can be used online and even abroad.

“In order to keep track of how many points you have, you can do a balance enquiry at any Nedbank ATM. Alternatively you should receive a monthly Greenbacks update via SMS,” says an in-branch Nedbank consultant.

While Greenbacks is a built-in facility and programme available to all Nedbank customers, there are a few basic fees involved.

Here is a breakdown of the associated fees:



First SHOP card


Face-to-face delivery


Supplementary SHOP card fee


Replacement SHOP card fee




Nedbank ATM enquiry


Saswitch ATM enquiry


Cash withdrawal fee

R5.04 plus R1.51 per R100

Saswitch cash withdrawal

R13.11 plus R1.51 per R100

Cash withdrawal overseas

R50.44 plus R1.51 per R100


*For more information, visit Nedbank’s page or speak to a Nedbank service consultant.

Did I save through Greenbacks?

Having been a member of Greenbacks for the past two years, I’ve made it my mission to utilise every facility of the product. From purchasing off the online Greenbacks product catalogue, which allows you to exchange your Greenbacks for appliances, accessories, and other prepaid services, to using it for fuel.

Living in Bellville and having to commute to work in Cape Town, whether I was driving in or driving to the nearest train station, I mostly found myself cashing in my Greenbacks to purchase fuel.

But with the fluctuating cost of fuel, I’m often unable to get anything more than R100 worth of petrol monthly due to the earning potential. This translates into roughly 7 or 8 litres of petrol which typically would cover 3 days of commuting.

I also found that I was limited to Caltex fuel stations, which made the exercise of having to cash in on my Greenbacks that much harder because I’d have to drive at least 10 kilometres from home to find one.

I did not score as much as I would’ve expected or have liked. Instead, the programme felt like more work than what it was worth.

Similarly, when it came to purchasing products, I found that because of the Greenbacks earning potential and conversion rate most of the products and special offers available would, on average, take me between six to ten months of point accumulation to afford.

The drawbacks

A few of the vendors I’ve purchased from include Caltex, MTN, and Netflorist. My experience with using the online catalogue was challenging. The user navigation is difficult, and most products aren’t easy to find because they aren’t included in the product display.

This means that you need to actively search for the product via the provider display. There is also little to no resources explaining the user journey on the website.

“Users have complained about the user journey and it is something we are constantly striving to improve. We ask that customers contact us should they experience any issues or have any suggestions,” says a Nedbank in-branch consultant.

Another drawback is that when applying for any Nedbank account, consultants often neglect to explain to customers how the programme works and that they can only access and use their Greenbacks if they have applied and received a Greenbacks SHOP card. This means that customers often earn points without being aware of it or how to access or utilise it.

Overall, the Greenbacks rewards programme offers little to no value for money. Instead, due to the structure of the rewards programme, there’s greater scope for businesses to benefit as opposed to individuals.

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