/ 12 April 2011

What the Good Card has to offer

The Good Card is a charitable initiative that lets you earn passive income while you help those less fortunate. It’s really a Visa cash-back card, and R45 of your monthly subscription fee of R289 goes to a charity of your choice.

At the same time, you get cash-back benefits (such as when you purchase airtime from MTN, Vodacom or Cell C, or shop at Makro or Musica, buy food at KFC and much more), as well as discount rewards (from Planet Fitness and Hugo Boss, for example) and lifestyle benefits (such as free legal and medical advice).

Now the Good Card has announced that it will launch personalised Good Card websites for subscribers. Each website will have a personalised link, so everyone who receives your link will be directed to your website. They can then register for the Good Card and boost your income in the process (as well as boosting charitable donations, of course). You can now advertise your website on Facebook, Twitter, on your blogs, even via email.

What’s in it for me?
Apart from the feel-good factor that giving to charity brings with it, Good Card subscribers do receive some tangible benefits, as mentioned. But the price tag is high — consider that Nedbank’s Classic SAA Voyager credit card costs R300 — a year! The Blue-tier DiscoveryCard, which is a Visa card, costs R380 a year, paid monthly.

However, the Good Card argues that it does offer a unique business opportunity — a passive rewards system that works on network marketing principles. The direct selling referral model rewards people for securing funds for charity.

Let’s say John receives a commission of R73,50 a month for each person he personally gets to subscribe to the Good Card. If the Good Card holder you secure manages to secure other subscribers, John receives an additional commission of R13 a month for each person he persuades to subscribe. This goes up to five levels of subscribers, so John will receive commission for “five levels”. You can calculate what your “income” will amount to on the website’s passive income calculator.

The backers say that this isn’t a pyramid scheme, where only those at the top get rich. The idea is that everyone gets richer.

But you would need to sign up 4 people to cover your monthly subscription. And each successive subscriber would need to sign up 4 people or more to justify their subscription and therefore keep the ball rolling.

You would also have to become an early adopter, because the number of people willing to pay R289 a month is probably thin on the ground, in these tough times.

That’s the hard work you’ll have to do, which is why network marketing is not a model everyone can adopt.

Yes, this is a great initiative to support charities — that alone makes it a worthy spend. But if you’re a cash-strapped consumer, you’ll have to think very carefully about whether the benefits are worth it (you also have access to a business software tool — but you can find a couple of those free on the internet).

Another point is: do we really make full use of all the benefits of our loyalty programmes? Many of us don’t. If you’re paying a heavy monthly premium, you’d need to make very sure of keeping up with all the benefits, or the full value wouldn’t be apparent. That’s why it’s best to be sure the programme is a good “fit”. If you’re with Virgin Mobile, for example, you won’t be able to make use of the airtime benefits.

That said, the Good Card initiative is a laudable one (Archbishop Desmond Tutu is a patron) and there would probably be loads of subscribers if the monthly fee came down. Who doesn’t like giving to charity? But for some, it would be simpler to just donate R50, covering the monthly R45 automatically deducted from your subscription.

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