Money: Cashpoints: Kids' gifts they can open later

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Grandparents and other relatives thinking of giving money to children at Christmas might like to consider tying it up in an investment or savings account in the hope of preventing the cash being frittered away.

Children are entitled to their own capital gains and income tax allowances, giving them the chance in most cases to get tax-free returns on just about any savings and investments. Flemings, the investment trust and PEP company, has just published its "Saving for Children" guide that explains the rules and opportunities. The company's research suggests that nearly half of all babies receive pounds 100 or more when they are born - money that is not always invested as efficiently as it might be. For a free copy of "Saving for Children" call 0500 500161.

Investors who open a Fleming Share Plan for a child before December 31 are also being offered a free "Shropshire" pure mohair teddy bear.

All in a good cause

AFFINITY credit cards, which earn donations for charities or other linked causes every time the card is used at no direct cost to cardholders, have raised millions of pounds for charities.

The Imperial Cancer Research card has been the biggest moneyspinner, raising more than pounds 4.5m to date, according to the Affinity Solutions consultancy. The RSPB affinity card has raised pounds 2.5m through 90,000 cardholders, while the RSPCA has received donations worth pounds 770,000 thanks to 80,000 cardholders. But one in five charities and causes surveyed has earned just pounds 1,000 or less so far.

The latest card to be issued supports Crusaid, a charity that helps people with HIV and Aids. Details on 0800 716097.

C&G rate rise

C&G, the former building society, is raising the interest rate on its "best buy" Instant Transfer account to 7.25 per cent from tomorrow. The account is operated by telephone, gives effective access to savings within three days, and requires a minimum balance of just pounds 1,000. Call 0800 742437.

Other rates being increased include those on National Savings Income Bonds and Investment and Ordinary Accounts; and on Stroud & Swindon building society's Direct Instant Account, albeit to rates starting at 6.05 per cent on pounds 2,000.

Holiday break

TRAVEL insurance continues to become more and more competitive. Preferential is claiming to be the first direct travel insurer to drop automatic premium loadings for the over-65s. In some cases older people can face double the normal rates because of the perceived higher health risk they present. With Preferential, policyholders will now be rated according to the state of their health. Call 01702 423393.

Wise women

WOMEN are more likely to rate failing to save money as their "biggest regret" than men, according to research by Yorkshire Electricity. Meanwhile, the majority of men and women still do not know what PEPs or Tessas are, finds separate research by the TSB. Only a quarter of people know what a PEP is, while just 37 per cent know what a Tessa is, says the bank. Lack of time and the complicated way savings information is put across are two major reasons cited by people for not making the most of their savings.