Experts Teach the Best Way to Accumulate Points with Having Two Jobs | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Experts Teach the Best Way to Accumulate Points with Having Two Jobs

You can benefit if you know what you are doing! Rakuten" is the leader, "V" has merged with T Point, and "d" is strong in carrier payments, followed by "Ponta" and "PayPay".

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At the V Point Renewal Press Conference, Shun Oguri and Yuriko Yoshitaka flashed V signs.

“According to the ‘Household Budget Survey Report’ (2023 edition) by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the average monthly consumption expenditure for households with two or more people is approximately 300,000 yen. Utilizing a credit card that accumulates V points for expenses such as food and utilities, it’s calculated that nearly 7,000 points per month (※Note) can be redeemed. Just by starting ‘point activities’ (‘Poi-katsu’), one can enjoy such benefits.”

This passionate speech comes from Mr. Taiki Yorifuji, representative and financial consultant at Money & You.

The domestic issuance of points for this fiscal year is expected to exceed an incredible 20 trillion yen, demonstrating a thriving “points market.”

On April 22nd, Culture Convenience Club (CCC), which operates TSUTAYA among others, and SMBC Group, under which Mitsui Sumitomo Bank belongs, integrated their respective T points and V points. This merger created a colossal points system used by Japan’s largest user base of 154 million people, a recent and memorable event.

Competing against this, the “Big Five Points” now include Rakuten Point, d Point, Ponta Point, and PayPay Point, each vying for dominance (refer to Table 1).

Speaking on market trends in the mobile and communications sectors is Hana Ishiguro, a researcher at MMD Institute.

“Not only do these Big Five points accrue when shopping, but they also expand into various services such as telecommunications, securities, insurance, and electricity, forming economic spheres. They conduct extensive campaigns to increase redemption rates, fiercely competing to retain users year by year.”

Point activities are truly entering a new era. So, among the Big Five points, which one should you choose, and which economic sphere’s services offer the best benefits? Let’s explain each one’s characteristics.

Among the Big Five points, except for V Point, all are integrated with mobile carriers. Rakuten Point, which received the highest support at 38.3% in MMD Institute’s ’24 March Point Activity Awareness Survey’, is also linked with Rakuten Mobile,” continued Mr. Ishiguro.

“Rakuten operates Rakuten Ichiba, an e-commerce site second in scale only to Amazon, and has established a style where using Rakuten Card for payments there increases the redemption rate from the usual 1%. While earning points from shopping is standard, Rakuten was likely the first to link this with a credit card, leading the charge in market share competition.”

d Point and Ponta Point offer high redemption rates when paying mobile carrier fees, with d Point potentially offering up to 10 times and Ponta Point up to 3 times the redemption compared to Rakuten Point.

According to Takahito Kikuchi, representative of the portal site ‘Poi-Tan’, which disseminates information about point activities, they are striving to differentiate themselves not only in mobile bill payments but also in other aspects.

“KDDI, which collaborates with Ponta Point, announced its acquisition of the major convenience store chain Lawson in February. This strategic move aims to associate Ponta = Lawson in consumers’ minds.”

Assuming hypothetical expenses, food purchases are made at stores eligible for 7% smartphone touch payment, electricity uses V Point Denki with a 3% redemption rate, and all other expenses are paid with Mitsui Sumitomo Card.

PayPay is also expanding its user base through electronic payments.
Hiroshi Mikitani, founder of Rakuten, pioneered the concept of the points economy.

V Point can be accumulated with family members.

d Point, operated by NTT Docomo, is seeking new opportunities in the e-commerce sector.

“Starting from April 10th, d Point can now be used on Amazon. Points are awarded for purchases of 5,000 yen or more, with a maximum of 100 points per transaction (up to 10,000 yen in purchases). While it may not be the most convenient option, the impact of this partnership with the world’s largest e-commerce site is significant. Both d Point and Ponta were considered weak in e-commerce, but this collaboration has put d Point in a leading position,” as mentioned by Mr. Ishiguro.

PayPay Point, issued by the electronic payment giant PayPay, collaborates with major mobile carrier SoftBank and achieves high redemption rates ranging from 10% to 35% in local government reduction campaigns.

On the other hand, V Point’s strength lies in its parentage under SMBC Group, which includes Mitsui Sumitomo Bank. Although it lacks collaboration with mobile carriers, its convenience in physical stores is its greatest asset. It covers approximately 155,000 stores domestically where old T Point was accepted and 7.5 million stores where V Point can be used, and can also earn and use points at about 1 billion VISA-affiliated stores worldwide.

“When conducting smartphone touch payments with Mitsui Sumitomo Card at eligible stores, you can receive a high cashback of 7%.” (Mr. Yorifuji, above)

Considering the strengths of each point, let’s get straight to the best way to accumulate points from the pros.

“The conclusion is to prioritize points tied to your contracted mobile carrier as your primary option, and keep V Point as the secondary. Utilizing two or more points concurrently is currently the most advantageous strategy for point activities,” as stated by Mr. Kikuchi earlier.

Once you decide to use multiple points, it’s all about fully utilizing the services available.

With a little ingenuity, you can further increase the cashback rate. Each point can shine in different ways. Mr. Kikuchi continues.

“V Point offers an additional 1% cashback per registered family member aged 18 and above with Mitsui Sumitomo Card. With registrations of five or more family members, you can earn a maximum cashback of 5%. Moreover, using smartphone touch payments can achieve a high cashback rate of 12%.”

At Welcia pharmacies, customers can enjoy 1.5 times the shopping value with V Points on Customer Appreciation Day every 20th of the month until August.
On April 10th, the collaboration between d Point and Amazon was announced.

Gold cards are also an option.

By understanding when the redemption rates increase for each point, such as on specific days, you can accumulate points more efficiently.

“At Rakuten Ichiba, using a Rakuten Card on days ending in ‘0’ and ‘5’ increases the cashback rate to 4% each month. Additionally, after victories by the Rakuten Eagles in professional baseball or Vissel Kobe in J1 soccer, the cashback rate is further increased by 1%. For d Point, using d Payment on Fridays and Saturdays at eligible sites increases the cashback rate up to a maximum of 4%,” as mentioned previously.

Consolidating household services such as mobile phones, internet connections, and electricity with providers affiliated with the points you use can also increase your cashback rate, as mentioned by Mr. Yorifuji earlier.

“For these payments, using a Gold card tied to a carrier with an annual fee of around 10,000 yen might be beneficial. This could potentially result in higher cashback rates, accumulating more points than the annual fee. For example, using d Card GOLD for services related to NTT Docomo can yield 10% cashback for mobile and internet fees, and up to 6% for electricity charges.”

It’s wise to remember that using points sooner rather than later is a smart strategy.

“Unlike savings accounts, points do not accrue interest. There’s no benefit to holding onto them long-term, and there’s even a risk of expiration if not used promptly. It’s advisable to use them frequently before they reach their expiration date,” as mentioned by Mr. Kikuchi earlier.

Point activities can be likened to modern alchemy. As a tool to help navigate high prices, it’s something worth starting right away.

From the June 28, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Takeshi Kinugawa (4th photo) Asahi Shimbun, Kyodo News

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