Starting April 1, the Rakuten Point system, which is a representative of “poi” (the act of earning points), will be changed. The amount eligible for Rakuten Points will change from “price including tax” to “price excluding tax,” and the conditions for points earned when using “Rakuten Securities” will also be tightened. For users, this is nothing short of a “change for the worse.
This announcement may have made some people think of switching to other point economies. The Yahoo (PayPay) Economic Zone is often mentioned as a competitor to the Rakuten Economic Zone, but the “au Economic Zone” has been attracting a lot of attention as being “unassuming and amazing.
The au company is developing a point-awarding service linked to Ponta points, and the use of Ponta points by au users is a means of accumulating Ponta points, which can be used for a wide variety of purposes.
In addition to earning points for au smartphones, Internet access, and electricity bills, points can also be accumulated by using the “au PAY Card” credit card and the “au PAY” payment application. The starting point of the “au economic zone” is to aim for double accumulation of points (1.5% reduction) by combining these cards and applications.
The “au Collective Interest Rate Privilege,” which started in September 2009, offers an interest rate of 0.2% per year on yen savings accounts by linking au PAY, au PAY Card, au Jibun Bank, and au Kabu.com Securities. This is 200 times the normal level and double that of Rakuten Bank, giving you a real sense of the interest rate being paid.
In addition, if you link au kabu.com Securities with your au PAY card and invest in savings, you can earn Ponta points worth up to 5% or 30,000 yen per year. The tax-free limit of “Tatemono Mottate NISA” is also applicable, so it is recommended for those who are just starting to invest in investment trusts.”
With au PAY card payment, even if you are not an au smartphone user, you can get some point return through the mutual funds. Ponta Point is also linked with Mitsubishi UFJ Bank, and if you log in to “Mitsubishi UFJ Direct” at least once during the month, you will receive 5 points. You can also get 10 points for account transfers such as credit card transfers, and although they are “dusty,” they are worth holding on to.
The most important part of the point economy is EC sites, and in the case of au, there is the “au PAY Market”. How is the usability and point system? Financial planner Yoshio Akiyama explains.
Compared to Rakuten Ichiba and Yahoo! Shopping, au PAY Market’s layout and product lineup are not as good, but the number of products it offers is gradually increasing. However, there are many attractive campaigns in terms of points.
First of all, au PAY card payment is 6% by default, 11% in combination with stage bonus, 18% with regular point increase, and up to 26% with “PAY Market Reduction Festival” held irregularly, which is quite reasonable. Another unique feature is that Ponta points are multiplied by 1.5 times when they are converted into something that can be used only within the market.
It is also attractive to increase points to the maximum multiplier and use the hometown tax payment in the market to earn a lump-sum return. Although still in its infancy, the au economic zone may one day surpass Rakuten and Yahoo!