UOB Turns to Straight-Up Cash Incentives for Mobile Payments

November 21, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

When it comes to benefits for most any payment platform, one of the best around is “cash back.” From the credit card to the coupon to the loyalty program, the notion of getting a little something back when you spend regularly is the kind of thing that cements loyalty the world over. Now, United Overseas Bank (UOB) in Malaysia is looking to put that principle to work in mobile payments with a plan to offer a rebate for users of WeChat Pay MY.

The rewards program calls for a rebate of 50 Malaysian ringgits (about $11.93 US as of this writing) for those who top up a WeChat Pay MY e-wallet for the first time using a UOB debit card. Naturally, an offer like this doesn’t come without terms and conditions, and in this case, enough of them to choke a hog.

Not only will you have to top up the e-wallet with a UOB debit card, but you’ll have to credit 5,000 Malaysian ringgit—about $1,193.45 US—within a month of opening the account. Then, you’ll have to maintain a minimum average monthly deposit balance before topping up at least 50 ringgits into the e-wallet.

It’s not all conditions and legalese, though; for the next few days—until November 25—UOB customers using their WeChat Pay wallets with Starbucks outlets in Malaysia can get an Americano for one ringgit.

This idea isn’t likely to have a lot of impact for one big reason: the vast pile of conditions and qualifiers they’ve slapped on the offer. They’ve put so many hoops out that even Flipper himself couldn’t jump through them all with any kind of ease. It’s a safe bet that most people will look at this, get interested for a minute, discover what they have to do then write it off as the equivalent of a short-term and poorly-paid part-time job.

If you want to get people’s interest, do so with a simple plan. Attaching a fairly high dollar amount won’t help matters if it’s not worth the effort, and this plan looks like it will suffer from some serious lack of interest. I may have to change my mind if there are a lot of takers, but right now, it looks like it will ultimately collapse under its own weight.