Under the hood: not your regular rewards program

Consumer rewards programs aren’t a new concept but historically they’ve been structured around encouraging the purchaser to spend more with the same company. But with Australian-made business Cashrewards, consumers can build up cash savings to be spent anywhere.

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ANZ has invested in Cashrewards with aspirations to improve the financial wellbeing of our customers by enabling them to use the cash savings on things like a home deposit, tax bills or overdraft fees, for example.

"Our customers want targeted propositions where they feel there is a contribution to their financial wellbeing.” – Emma Gray

I recently sat down with ANZ’s Group Executive for Data and Automation Emma Gray to discuss the benefits this investment will create for the bank’s customers, how it acts something like a “buy now, save now” scheme and why consent for data use underpins the entire program.

Buy now, save now

Founded in 2014, Cashrewards already boasts over 1 million members and has partnered with more than 1,700 merchants including big retailers like , Adidas and The Iconic.

So why would a bank like ANZ be interested in investing in a rewards company?

Emma says the business model for Cashrewards reflects a zeitgeist of where rewards programs are heading.

“It provides our customers with the ability to get both a benefit - a cash reward – plus the ability to save that and direct it where it helps the most,” she says. “Think of it as ‘buy now, save now’ which is really exciting for us.”

Financial wellbeing

The relationship between ANZ and Cashrewards creates a virtuous loop. Customers trust the bank with their money and their data. We can use that trust to bring customers some real benefit, introduce them to ways they can save money or find a better deal. We can drive value for them. And if they share that data back with us, we can continue to drive better and better outcomes for them.

The people who will naturally be attracted to Cashrewards like to shop smartly and look for a better alternative and that's a good thing. Our research has shown one of the most critical things in terms of improving your own financial wellbeing is building a savings habit.

Emma says some of the Cashrewards customers today are building a savings goal but they don't really know what to do with it and that's where we have a role to play as a bank.

“We can say ‘yes, that money could go into your coffee fund or let's start to think about other ways’,” she explains. “As customers give us more permission to have that conversation, we can have a richer dialogue. The possibilities are endless for us to engage with customers on how they think about saving, getting better deals along the way and then using savings in a smart way.”

Scaling up

On why ANZ decided to invest equity in Cashrewards rather than partner with them like we have with other ANZi alumni, Emma says the bank has seen a couple of these types of propositions offshore and felt Cashrewards had an opportunity to accelerate their early market share in Australia with corporate investment.

“Cashrewards has actually built up a pretty good presence in the Australian market but they need to move fast. We think we can help them scale up in all kinds of ways,” Gray says.

“We can help them think about the communications, capital structure [or] growing their business. The nature of our investment means we can invest over and above with this company to help them get really successful. We've also got a Non-Executive Director on the Cashrewards board and that's helpful because this is actually somebody who's got governance experience to help a small company grow.

“We think of it as a nice example of seeing an Australian company with a great idea where we can bring not just a commercial relationship, but frankly, we can really help them go from small to actually quite substantial over time.”

You can listen to the rest of our conversation by clicking on the podcast above.

Shayne Elliott is CEO of ANZ

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