Clicky

badge

Friday, June 27, 2008

I-mint rewards Card from ICICI-Review (now Payback)

August 2012 Update: Redeemed some points from payback, delivery of gifts have been very prompt and got it in about 3 business days flat.


Jan 2012 Update: imintpoints is now Payback.in


June 2011 Update: Recently I did redeem my points from iMint couple of times and the delivery of items happened promptly. I believe the issues with iMint have been resolved or minimized of late. Below is my original review of iMint, written 3 years ago...
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Original Post: June 2008: iMint points-Good idea, badly executed.

Imint, in principle, is an excellent idea, but I somehow am not finding it useful. This post offers an analysis of pros and cons of this reward program.

The core idea behind the scheme is to encourage people to spend more, that too at certain specific merchants/companies with whom iMint has a tie up. In exchange for your money which is spent at channel partners you will get some points, which when accumulated, can be exchanged for some gifts.imint points reward cardIMint started sometime in late 2006/early 2007. It was fully free at that time. I applied and got a card delivered promptly within few days. They also tied up with major players like ICICI Bank, Airtel etc and got access to huge customer base these companied had. All customers of ICICI Bank, airtel etc were sent unsolicited imint cards-same individual would have got multiple cards- one for being ICICI account holder, one as an Airtel customer, one through direct application etc- NO attempt was made to consolidate and issue a common card.

I got two cards- one from direct application and another from ICICI-I seldom used any of them, because I was not frequent spender at any of the participating partners (Lifestyle, Indian etc). I never believed in "spend more, save more" concept. I always believed in "Don’t spend at all and save all" concept.

Now, here’re some observations because of which I feel it is not a good idea to keep excessive expectations from this card:

1. You get 2 points for every Rs 100 spent at lifestyle. To get Rs.500 gift voucher, you’ll need 1400 points, to get which you need to spend Rs 70000. If you’re spending Rs 70k, you can easily demand a discount of 5-10% in any shop (buying the cloths from an unbranded cloths shop can fetch you even higher discounts for that amount. Lifestyle products are always overpriced and a less than 1% discount is not worth all the pain. (You don't have to spend all 70k at once, and not just at Lifestyle-still that is a huge amount)

2. The process of crediting the points is not automated. If I use my ICICI credit card at Lifestyle, immediately the points should get credited to my iMint account (since ICICI account can be linked with iMint). But that doesn’t happen- we need to manually swipe the imint card again. For online purchases it is another headache. Most of the participating outlets, mainly HP ones are either not aware of the scheme or do not have a swiping machine to credit iMint points. Most of the HP outlets simply say "we don't entertain iMint card". Some shops listed on their website say “We’ve pulled out of this scheme”. If you miss to swipe your card during the transaction, there’s no way to claim it later. With so much technological advances, they need to make the process simple and automated, reducing inconvenience to customers.

3. I don’t see my ICICI credit card points reflecting promptly in iMint. ICICI says I need to check with iMint and iMint do not have a habit of responding to emails. (I’ve resolved not to waste my money calling their customer care) ICICI doesn’t give an option that I can chose not to go with iMint and redeem my points separately. ICICI mandating me to go with iMint has forced me to minimize the usage of ICICI card altogether. I’ve started using my other card more because of better reward schemes. (Update: this issue is resolved now-refer end of the post)

4. No toll free number for redemption/customer care. Customer care numbers have been set up in few major cities but calling them would cost significantly. Online redemption is there, but site design and navigation is not that friendly. We all know how tough it is dealing with customer care people- Repeating our story again and again each time we call them, instant promises but no action, long hold periods-I’m sure one will spend more money on phone calls than value of the gift., Why can’t they give a toll free number? Making the process complex, painful and uneconomical for end user will turn users away.

5. Most of the shops they have tie up with are some unknown shops located in unknown area-time, petrol and effort spent in locating these shops would not make it worth the value of imint points received in return. If they can have tie up with well known shops like Reliance Fresh, Big bazaar, Subhiksha and such shops which can be found in every neighborhood it will be good.

While it was free initially, now it costs Rs 199. I believe as they gain more members and acceptance they will increase the points required to exchange gifts with.

In past one and a half years I have accumulated some 240 points-not enough to redeem the cheapest item one can redeem-a HPCL voucher requiring some 350 points. I don’t spend much with their participating outlets-at some instances I did, I didn’t care to swipe the imint card. All in all, this is a useless card for low spenders like me. The money, time and effort involved in redeeming doesn’t make it worth for me. If you spend several thousand rupees every month on air travel, phone bill, shopping etc, may be you can give it a try.


The concept behind it is really good, but the promoters of i-Mint do not seem to have any intention of making it a really pleasant experience to end users. Through their incompetent website and pathetic customer service, they are destroying a beautiful business opportunity and turning users away. It’s high time i-Mint channel partners (lifestyle, ICICI Bank, Indian, MakeMyTrip and other lesser known shops) take a serious look at this, put some pressure on iMint promoters and ensure that customer gets to enjoy their usage of iMint.


Some immediate action points for i-Mint Promoters (if they care)

  • Show some courtesy of acknowledging and responding to mails.
  • It’s not worth to make multiple STD Calls to talk to customer care. Give a toll free number and invest in site's infrastructure to increase its efficiency and reliability.
  • Points should get credited without any additional effort by the user (or it should be minimum)
  • Give online provisions to claim points for eligible transactions for which imint card was not swiped (this can be done by taking bill number, verifying it with service provider and then crediting the points-For example airlines allow you to claim frequent flyer miles post journey)
  • Value of gifts should be at least 2-3% of the amount spent to accumulate the points which were needed to exchange that gift. If it is less than 1% the extra time and effort spent in redeeming won’t be worth it.
  • Conduct a survey and collect feedback from your users to recognize how disappointed they are with your service. If you care to improve yourself you’ll automatically get more customers and business partners. (Update: They did held a survey in Nov 08)
  • Revamp your website-its not that user friendly. (For example, I need to enter 16 digit imint card number every time- a userID would have been better)
Santosh wrote an interesting comment when I cross published this post at MS. He says “Whatever you do they mint…What you get is not more than a pepper mint
Guess many of you might have got this card-say from ICICI or airtel. Did you find it useful?
Photo from imintpoints.com. Updates: I read on moneycontrol that Infosys BPO has tied up with iMint to enroll all its employees to this reward program. They are also going on aggressively to sign-up many more commercial establishments (like giving free iMint card with purchase of mobile phone etc). I only wish they fix some basic issues listed above first.
Also read elsewhere that ICICI Bank owns iMint-Not sure if it is true.


Major update on iMint card: 
iMint customer care never bothered to respond to my mails but an escalation through ICICI Bank helped. My complaint was that my ICICI credit card reward points are not reflecting in my iMint statement. I escalated this through ICICI Bank and Dennis from iMint called me from Bangalore. After discussing with him I learnt that the points were being sent to a separate iMint number which was created for me when I applied for ICICI credit card. I already had an iMint card as ICICI Account holder, mapped to my ICICI debit card usage, which was different from the card mapped to credit card. So Dennis offered to map my credit card to my old iMint card and transfer the points to this card. That was good. He also explained that now they are allowing online redemption and I need not waste money call customer care. That is a good relief.
Also one Mr Pradeep has thanked for the feedback and has offered to extend his assistance in this matter.
Feeling bit comfortable that they cared to call and resolve the issue. Many of you must be feeling similar issues-spare a moment to escalate through proper channels and get it fixed.

October Updates: Redeemed some points for a Rs 100 CCD gift coupon. Website failed me twice, but got third time lucky when tried during early morning. My first redemption in 2 years... Delivery of the item was prompt and ontime. No issues

Similar: mGinger Paid SMS Ads * ICICI Cashback offers * ICICI Bank long term customer feedback  *  ICICI Bank Cycle banking * Recruitment frauds- Job aspirants beware * SBI accepts me as Customer *

21 comments :

Anandarup said...

good review. I agree to what you said. Even I faced similar problem with imint card. I would say its a brilliant useless idea.

hari said...

What I like about your articles is that you get right down to the specifics.

You've also dissected the advertising model along with the efficiency of this service, so this article is a double benefit to readers.

Raveesh Kumar said...

Hi Nidhi,

Even I had the similar experience in i-mint card. I have to spend several years of spending to get a decent gift in their list. I was not aware of the fact that it cant be redeemed online, did not bother too seeing the list of gift items in their website. In this age of e-commerce thats pathetic!

Rajesh Kumar said...

You are so right. I have been thinking about posting on this myself.

Anil said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Anandarup,

Thanks.

@Hari,
Thanks.

@Raveesh,
Yes. I feel they have intentionally not provided online redemption option...

@Rajesh,
Thanks. Pls go ahead with your plans of posting your views.

@Anil (or whoever it is)
You already wrote a comment in one of my previous posts-to which I have responded that I'm unable to open your website. You've not responded to that but spamming again with a different identity (last time you used the name Manoj)

I cant entertain your request and any more spam comments from you will be promptly deleted.

Anonymous said...

Dear Nidhi,

I came into your blog and immideatly fell in love with the same. So much truth - that too bare truth out there.

Your dissection of issues are great and keep them going.

Think you should do an article of customer care as practiced in the indian context - 9 out of 10 issues , the calling customer does not get reprive and still thats the only known mode?

Cheers
mohan

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Mohan.

Anonymous said...

ICICI Credit card division has decided this move without getting it's customers opinion. I think, i-mint is an useless idea at least at this point.

Paul Ancheta said...

Thanks for your insights and perspectives on i-Mint.

I have just ended a one-hour conversation with both the call center and Dennis from i-Mint over a truly inefficient system of handling, entering, and upgrading customer information on their database.

I was automatically enrolled by ICICI Bank and i-Mint two years ago; I called this morning to find out why my card and welcome kit had not arrived yet. Unfortunately, the call center refused to pursue my case further unless I gave them an old phone number from two years back (and I don't ever recall that number anymore, having moved addresses since then).

The long, angry saga that ensued over the phone call (and quite expensive at that for a Kolkata-based caller such as me, since the service number was not toll-free) ended with me demanding that my "membership" be completely closed and annulled. I don't even care about the points that I had earned over the past two years or so: how can I ever trust an organization that rudely, crudely handled my very first, innocent query?

As a foreigner, I am left with a sour taste over this unforgettable situation.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Paul,

Thanks for sharing your concerns.

I've forwarded your comment to iMint representatives. Let us see if they do something to address the issue.

Regards,
nidhi

Prasanjit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Prasanjit said...

Useful information..., however any new/current reviews on imint points particularly redemptions?

They do transfer all points earned from your ICICI cards, though it is at the end of your billing cycle...
Just wondering if you or anyone you know has redeemed points against costly electronic products from them?
thanks

Shrinidhi Hande said...

I've successfully redeemed a Rs 100 CCD coupen. Haven't tried expensive items...

Prasanjit said...

thanks.
Redeemed points for an electronic item worth Rs900 . Arrived within 3 working days(on the 3rd day)! Packed, sealed,with a waranty stamp..et all! ..and it works.
Not bad. The order was made via phone. Online system still appears cranky.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

good to know that.

Vinodh said...

Thanks for your review.. i totally agree with the worthlessness of the card and its rewards...

i have an ICICI Credit card with points credited to my Imint account. Despite a good spending, i just accumulated abt 2500 points over the last 2.5 years and all you get is a bloody rs.700 worth item? i.e. for each Rs. 100 spent, you are getting less than 25 paise, which is plain nonsense. Not worth your time and effort...

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Agree

And ICICI are the promoter of iMint...

Mukesh Agarwal said...

Thanks to IMint I have not used my ICICI debit and credit cards now switched to another credit card.

Naveen said...

Hi guys

Everyone is sharing their good experience with imint. I would like to share my experience but unfortunately bad one. I ordered for a necklace MP3 player but soon after the delivery product imint refused to take the responsibility of the quality of the product. And now i have wasted my 7200 points and they are not taking any action. Despite of contacting them several times there is no response from them. So my suggestion to everyone is to rethink before buying any product from them.

Delta said...

i am considering transfer my reward points from ICICI to Imint.
is the transfer 1 for 1?

Also i see 500 GV for 2000 points. thats too much