Money Insider: Saved! How your cash can benefit your team

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The Independent Online

many football league clubs will run out on to the pitch at the start of another new season thanks in part to the ongoing financial support of their loyal supporters via affinity savings accounts.

These savings accounts provide a vital boost to club coffers. However, on the flipside, devoted fans are receiving a mere pittance by way of interest for themselves.

As we approach the Football League kick-off this weekend and the Premier League next Saturday, football savings accounts are now on average paying the account holder a return of just 0.15 per cent before tax.

To put this into perspective, a footie fan with a £1,500 balance would earn just £1.80 interest in a year after basic rate tax, whereas his club will benefit by up to £15. If you chose to deposit your cash in the best buy instant access savings account paying 3.15 per cent from Coventry Building Society, your annual return would be a much healthier £37.80 net of tax, but for many that's not the point.

It's apparent that loyal fans who already spend a fortune following their team up and down the land are prepared to forgo a far better return on their nest egg on the understanding that the bank balance of their beloved team will benefit as a result.

The average rate for a standard (non-football) easy access savings account is 0.91 per cent, so when you add the 0.15 per cent the customer receives, plus the 1 per cent to 1.25 per cent the club gets in most cases, these football accounts are paying out an above average total return.

Many clubs in the Football League from the Championship through to League Two are living a hand-to-mouth existence with new cases of clubs facing administration every season.

Those clubs not fortunate enough to have the backing of super-wealthy overseas investors or benefit from seven-figure TV payouts need all the financial support they can get.

Supporters up and down the land have been saving in "affinity savings accounts", in some cases for almost 15 years, and have helped to pump huge sums of money into the bank account of their favourite club.

The amounts received are quite significant in some cases, with Stoke City receiving more than £6.7m, Ipswich Town £7.2m, Norwich City £3.3m and Derby County £2m. Britannia, Norwich & Peterborough BS and West Bromwich BS are the main providers of football savings accounts in the UK, and between them provide a valuable lifeline to clubs and, in particular, their youth academies.

Each year these providers present the football club with a cheque for up to 1.25 per cent of the value of the combined daily average savings balance for all accounts held by its supporters.

Affinity accounts will not provide savers with a best-buy return on their money but many supporters continue to sacrifice a higher rate of interest in return for knowing that they are helping their club to survive.

If you want to do more to help your team, then sign up for a football savings account by all means, but just be aware that it'll be the club that receives the most benefit, not you.

AA card offers big savings at pumps

With inflation nudging 5 per cent and likely to stay that way for a few months yet, we're all forced to compare prices and cut back where possible, and try to find new ways to spend less. Voucher codes, interest-free deals or the chance to earn rewards and cash back are now more popular than they've ever been.

Now car owners have a chance to cut fuel costs through AA Financial Services' new credit card.

The Reward Plus credit card is available to the 15 million AA members in the UK and gives 3 per cent cash back on fuel purchases, up to a maximum spend of £2,000 per annum, plus 0.5 per cent cash back on all other spend.

With petrol currently costing around £1.35 per litre, the 3 per cent cash back is the equivalent of four pence off every litre purchased, and gives you the chance to save up to £60 over a year.

Pleasingly with the Reward Plus card, the offer isn't just a short-term introductory promotion – unlike many competitor cards – as the £2,000 3 per cent cash-back limit is renewed every 12 months.

Andrew Hagger – Moneynet.co.uk

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