Societies aim for childish saving: Financial institutions are targeting young savers, says Nic Cicutti

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The Independent Online
ONCE upon a time, if children wanted to save money, all they needed was a piggy bank or at most a Post Office account. In today's more sophisticated environment, such simple encouragement no longer seems adequate.

Toys, T-shirts, record and discount vouchers, stationery packs, newsletters and sports bags are just some of the marketing tools used by scores of banks and building societies aiming to win young people as their customers.

Yorkshire Building Society launched its Happy Kids instant access account this week, paying 3.75 per cent on balances over pounds 10.

For every account opened, the NSPCC children's charity will receive pounds 1. It will also get 10 per cent of the gross interest paid into each account. Yorkshire estimates donations could top pounds 80,000 in the first year.

David Anderson, general manager at Yorkshire Building Society, said children showed concern for the welfare of other youngsters, but they were also keen on decent interest rates.

If so, 15 other building societies, some of them quite small, offer even more attractive rates of interest to young savers.

Chorley & District comes in with an attractive instant access rate of 6.85 per cent, unfortunately available only to young Chorleians. Cambridge Building Society limits its rate to young savers in the county or living within 25 miles of Cambridge.

For those enthralled by free gifts, Halifax comes top among building societies. Savers receive 3.75 per cent, plus a moneybox, bike stickers, birthday and Christmas cards, magazines, careers guide, chequebook and even a cheque guarantee card, depending on age.

Among banks, Lloyds compensates for a more meagre 3 per cent on savings above pounds 500 with a wallet of discount vouchers for tapes, CDs and other items. Barclays offsets a measly 1 per cent with pounds 10 music vouchers.

----------------------------------------------------------------- CHILDREN'S ACCOUNTS ----------------------------------------------------------------- Building society Name Interest Incentives on pounds 250 ----------------------------------------------------------------- Cambridge First 6% Limited to Cambridgeshire Chorley & Young 6.85% Max balance pounds 5,000 District Chorleian Local residents only Halifax Little 3.75% Moneybox, bike sticker & Xtra Club badge. Magazine, birthday & Christmas cards Harpenden 18 Club 7% No withdrawals until 18th birthday Skipton Young 6.5% 2% bonus if no withdrawals Sovereign to 1/12/94 Universal Childrens 6.75% Pounds 1 donated to the Yellow Brick Road campaign Yorkshire Happy 3.75% Pounds 1 donated to NSPCC, Kids then 10% of gross interest ----------------------------------------------------------------- Source: Moneyfacts -----------------------------------------------------------------

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