Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Giant Citibank compared to Tesco RHB Credit Card - A Review

Helping you save $ (Money) with a comparison of Hypermarket-Credit Cards Review

A comparison between RHB Tesco Credit Card with Citibank Giant Credit Card

Yes, credit cards have joined in the hypermarket wars. Initially Giant surprised everyone with a 2% Giant Rebate thru purchases at Giant with co-brand Citibank C/C. And now, Tesco has it's own version, with RHB.

Here's a detailed comparison.

There are 4-5 major players in the Hypermarket Business in Malaysia. Eventhough Makro (or was it Macro) started this whole 'large single storey mass shopping', it was more concentrated for business, and didn't accept all but one c/card. It was a hit, but only until the competition didn't arrive.

In Penang, you have a couple of Macro's one in Seberang and one in Sg Dua (now Tesco Extra). It seems to me, in Tesco Extra, the Extra means extra messy????

Anyway, Carrefour landed in Seberang Jaya. My my, wasn't it the envy of Penang Islanders. Some of us drove there to do shopping! And they had Go-Cart as well. Beat that.

And then somewhere / somehow Giant started appearing. By the way, one of the first 'Giant' in Penang Island was a dwarf to be honest. It was in Penang Plaza, Burma Road, and that is a SMALL place for a Giant Hypermarket. What an oxymoron! We call it Baby Giant.

And then here it came, Tesco. First near the Gelugor round-about. Well I really like shopping there. Somehow I find it more arranged and cheaper. Actually I've come to believe that there's no such thing in any of this hypermarket that has EVERYTHING's cheaper, just selected stuff will be cheap here, and more expensive else where. So depends on your buying items.

Then Macro started to ramp down. (yeah that's a sad word). Tesco bought it over and made it Tesco Extra. NOT my place to be. It seems disorganized, sure does give you the 'store / godown' feel. Maybe businesses like it?

Anyway going back credit card wars. I guess it started with loyalty programs. Carrefour tied up with Real Rewards. And then Tesco with Bonuslink. Somehow Giant never bothered. And I think they were loosing out on business due to this.
Note that many studies do point out that in the end, loyalty programs just add COST, and the cost gets passed over to the customer, i.e why many budget airlines don't have loyalty programs.

Suddenly, Tesco and Bonuslink broke the LINK! No more bonuslink card, but Clubcard Member points. Not bad, since you get discount vouchers and rebate vouchers based on your purchases.

And then out of the blue, Giant goes WHAM. Here's Giant-Citibank Visa. Based on Citibank's website (on date of this blog entry)

  • Get a 2% rebate on purchases at Giant

  • Weekly Special Card member prices (you need to read the newspapers often I guess to find out what's the weekly special, not really a plus for me, coz what if I read online papers!)

  • Free 2GB Flash drive - I think this is a limited time offer.

  • Up to 1% rebate on spending outside Giant Malaysia

  • So far I've received a rebate once, when my rebate total passed RM20. I believe they will send a RM20 rebate voucher everytime you achieve this. Reasonable.
I don't know about the rest, but my shopping pattern did sway to Giant once I got the Giant - Citibank Credit Card. But somehow I found Giant expensive, my main comparison being Dutch Lady Milk.

Before I go one, did you notice this WEIRD combo between hypermarkets and banks? Giant always claims to be a Malaysian Brand, but somehow it decided to do a JV with a Foreign Bank i.e Citibank (locally incorporated though). And Tesco, a British brand, decided to co-brand with a local Bank, i.e. RHB. Interesting, nothing wrong to me, just interesting.

So what's the offer from Tesco-RHB?

Comparing the Credit Card. (note they also have a Debit Card). On normal days when you shop in Tesco, you get 2% cash back and on top of a 2x clubcard points! And when you shop at other places, 1x clubcard points. And when your shop on the last weekend of the month, you get 5% cash back + 2x clubcard points. Impressive. Personally I'd prefer 5x% back on last week of the month rather then last weekend, why ? Just imagine the crowd in Tesco on the the last weekend of the month!. Anyway, writing this, I found something 'out' in their promo at

The example mentions below


You spend
RM100 on last weekend of the month, RM300 on other weeks in Tesco and RM600 elsewhere

You will get
RM11 Cash Back + 700 Clubcard Points (equivalent to RM7.00 Clubcard Cash Vouchers) = RM18.00 Savings

FREE ! The RM88 credit card annual fee and the RM20 supplementary fee will be waived for the first year.

*Cash Back is on 40% of total monthly spend with a maximum cash back of RM50 per month."

Something doesn't jive here. Why only 700 clubcard points? Let's try to break it down
RM100 on last weekend of the month :
i. 100*5% = RM5
ii.100*2x clubcard points = 200points

RM300 on other weeks in Tesco
i. 300*2% = RM6
ii.300*2x clubcard points = 600points

RM600 elsewhere
i. 600*1x clubcard points = 600points

So shoulds I get
i. RM11
ii. Clubpoints of 1400? Their website mentions 700 clubcard points?

UPDATED 3rd March 2009 - RHB just got back to me, and note I calculated the points wrongly. It is NOT 1 point for RM1, but 1 point for RM2, that explains how I got 1400 points instead of 700points. Below is their reply :



























Good job to RHB for the prompt reply.

Anyway, based on this, it does seem Tesco offers the better value in this comparison, as you stand to get 5% cash back on the last weekend and 1x club points. It get's little confusing though, since on other purchases (non-Tesco) you get 1x clubcard points, but for Giant-Citibank you get up to 1% rebate.

UPDATED 3rd March - Again, since RHB-Tesco gives 1 point for every RM2, I guess it can be 'equated' to 0.5% cash back for purchases outside Tesco. Also note, the 2% cash back for purchases from Tesco is ONLY TRUE up to 40% of your TOTAL Monthly statement, ie per their attached doc with the c/card which I just received;
e.g. if you total spend for the month is RM5000, and out of that you spent RM3,000 in Tesco, the 2% cash back is based on a 40% cap of the total spend, ie 40% of RM5000 which equals to RM40. Note also the max cash back per month is RM5o.

Another interesting point to note is, studies have shown that loyalty/rewards points in the end just incur additional cost to the banks/promoter, as people tend to outsmart the system, ie only use Tesco-RHB card in Tesco, and use other cards that offer better value eg RHB Travel to fill up petrol. So by capping the cash back based on 40% of your total monthly statement bill, it will 'incline' people to also use the card outside Tesco, which is where I guess RHB makes money.

I didn't like this 'feature' that much, but it does make business sense.

I would give Tesco a plus for one reason though. They have proactively encouraged recycling. They give 1 Green Clubcard (equivalent to 1 Clubcard) for each plastic bag that you brought and use. Malaysians being bargain hunters might be attracted to this concept which is a win-win-win. Win for Tesco for reducing plastic bag costs (or at least replacing it with clubcard points), get good PR through this responsible act, members get a 'reward' for recycling besides feeling good, and the environment has lesser bags to worry about.

Their other green campaign Tesco Bag for Life - Guranteed for Life also is good. Where else would you get a life time gurantee for a Plastic Bag!

Negative side ? Knowing some Malaysians, will try to use as many of our owns bags, ie 1 item 1 bag if we could so we get more points!

Not bad if you ask me.

Need help finding the above hypermarkets.

For Tesco Gelugor/Jelutong - Click here

For Tesco Extra Sungai (Sg) Dua - Click here
For Giant Bayan Baru - Click here
For Giant Penang Plaza, Burma Road - Click here

ps- Most of above is based on my memory / experience only. Could be wrong facts! Also you have Sunshine and Mydin as options.



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