Best and worst: Cheque list for Christmas: Children's accounts

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The Independent Online
CHRISTMAS is coming and many, stumped for ideas, will be resorting to a cheque slipped inside a Christmas card. But where should a child be tucking away any financial gains?

The answer, for long-term savings or larger sums, is almost certainly not the building society. The best rate offered by a big society is 4.25 per cent. But if you live near a branch of one of the smaller societies, there are some impressive rates on offer. The Young Chorleian from the Chorley and District comes top, paying 7.75 per cent gross - although only to local residents. The Cambridge pays 6.5 per cent to residents within a 25-mile radius of Cambridge, while the Leek pays 5 per cent, as does the Vernon in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

Despite falling interest rates, Children's Bonus Bonds from National Savings are a very good bet. The minimum purchase is pounds 25 and the current issue pays a fixed rate of 7.85 per cent. Purchase must be by an adult for the benefit of a child under 16. But buy now as the fixed rate is almost certain to fall after the Budget.

----------------------------------------------------------------- SAVINGS ACCOUNTS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE ----------------------------------------------------------------- The best 1 Skipton 6.5 2 Halifax 4.25 3 Leeds Permanent 4.1 3 National & Provincial 4.1 5 Britannia 3.75 The worst 11 Nationwide 2 12 North of England 2 13 Woolwich 1 14 Alliance & Leicester 0.5 15 Yorkshire 0.4 Top 20 societies offering accounts for children depositing pounds 25 ----------------------------------------------------------------- Source: Moneyfacts -----------------------------------------------------------------