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Discovery gives Vitality members two big reasons to open an account

Benefits that are not currently available to those without Discovery Bank accounts …
Discounts of between 15% and 35% on local and international flights will be reason enough for many. Image: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg

Discovery has launched a digital account with no monthly fees for its existing non-bank customers. Health, Life, Invest, and Insure clients are able to activate this account by downloading the Discovery Bank app, signing in with existing Discovery credentials and selecting this specific account.

It telegraphed this move some time ago, and the announcement was made earlier this week when it reached the milestone of 1 million accounts.

The account has “basic transactional” capabilities. In other words, money can be sent to it and payments can be made using its virtual Discovery Pay or Contact Pay card (which allows one to send money to other Discovery clients just by using their mobile number).

This obviously allows Discovery to broaden its bank’s client base to customers who might not want (or be ready) to move their primary transactional banking to Discovery Bank.

It has 2.2 million lives signed up to the Vitality programme in South Africa (Health, Drive, Money), and a substantial portion of that base has not yet signed up to Discovery Bank.

Read: Covid spurs Discovery to seek low income clients

By strongly incentivising the opening of a Discovery Account, the financial services group is anticipating that existing clients will be able to experience much of what its banking proposition offers, at no real cost to the customer.

It will also help the group to keep some value inside its Discovery Miles ecosystem and, additionally, the network effects of having potentially hundreds of thousands of new clients ought not to be discounted.

For existing Discovery customers, particularly those on Vitality (Health), opening a Discovery Account is a no-brainer for two reasons.

1. The main reason is the discounts available when making bookings on Vitality Travel

With Comair’s provisional liquidation, Vitality members who would’ve booked domestic flights, international flights, accommodation and rental cars through Kulula’s website aren’t able to make any new bookings until Discovery announces some sort of solution. This means would-be travellers are forgoing their Vitality discount.

Opening a Discovery Account and booking via Vitality Travel will get the accountholder a discount of between 15% and 35% off six local flights a year and two international flight bookings, as well as up to 25% off accommodation and car hire.


Discovery announced on Monday that SAA and Cemair had joined its existing network of airline partners (FlySafair, Airlink, Lift, Emirates, Qantas and British Airways).

This is reason enough for an existing Vitality Health member to open this new account. Of course, for Discovery, this will ensure that clients fund their Discovery Accounts so that they are able to pay for this travel. The group does however note that: “Standard waiting periods apply for Vitality Health members to use their personalised flight savings.”

2. The second reason is that a Discovery Account allows you to ‘monetise’ Discovery Miles

Clients are able to ‘convert’ their miles into cash and can automatically qualify for up to 15% off when they spend these miles at partners (this doubles to up to 30% on the 15th of each month).

Without a Discovery Account, Vitality Health members will be accruing miles with weekly Active Rewards, which can only be redeemed for partner vouchers in the Discovery app. A Discovery Account offers significantly more ways to spend miles (including on travel bookings).

Discovery says when a Discovery Account is activated, “many of your Vitality Health rewards will switch to being awarded in Discovery Miles”. Examples of this would include HealthyFood, where up to 25% of purchases of healthy items at Woolworths or Pick n Pay will be paid back to you.

A few additional benefits …

The account is enabled with Discovery Pay, which enables clients to pay for gym usage on a pay-as-you-go basis, make payments to contacts using their cellphone number, and offers Health Pay, where out-of-pocket medical expenses can be settled at hospitals, pharmacies and doctors from the account.

Holders of Discovery Accounts also get access to Vitality Money for free (no monthly premium).

Digital payments on the account cost R2.50 while debit orders are charged at R3.75. Point of sale purchases using the virtual card are free.

Read: Discovery Vitality reduces discount flights, overhauls travel benefits


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