Your Money: Accounts for twitchers and football supporters

Twitchers and other bird-lovers have netted the RSPB pounds 2m simply by using a credit card - and effectively it's not cost the cardholders a penny.

Affinity credit cards - where the issuer (Co-operative Bank in the case of the RSPB card) makes a donation to a charity or other linked cause when you take the card out and as you spend - are well-established.

You've used the credit card, now open the savings account. With the interest on your average savings account now looking as enticing as yesterday's toast, savings institutions keen to differentiate their meagre offerings could jump on the bandwagon by launching affinity accounts. So far, such accounts are rare, but we do seem to be heading in that direction.

Ethical banks (see page 16) are picking up savers with the promise that they will not lend to unethical companies.

Birmingham Midshires building society, the hottest tip for the next takeover windfall, says it could launch affinity accounts as part of its proposed "community investment strategy" (see page 2) - an idea that could make it one of the financial world's biggest corporate givers.

Interestingly, it is Birmingham Midshires' near-neighbour and one of its mooted merger partners, the West Bromwich building society, which offers one of the very few affinity-type accounts that actually triggers direct financial donations. It pays 1 per cent a year of average balances in its Albion Premier Saver account to West Bromwich Albion football club - the "Baggies" to their supporters. The club could benefit by pounds 100,000 over the next year.

Another society, the Chelsea, this week said it would make a pounds 1 donation to a combination of three charities for each of its 20-day notice accounts opened.

The West Brom says there is clearly support for such deals, as demonstrated by the signing of 8,000 savers for its Albion account - a fair proportion of the Baggies' average gate.

Affinity credit cards need not cost users anything, and card companies don't have to lose out either. They may work on lower margins - the donations effectively coming out of the commissions they earn from retailers and the like when the card is used - but arguably cardholders will be more loyal, which should translate into greater card use and higher earnings for the issuer.

Likewise it is also not unreasonable to hope for affinity accounts where savers don't lose out on interest. If accounts do offer less interest, savers should question whether they wouldn't be better off saving elsewhere and making donations themselves.

With the West Bromwich Albion account, savers earn interest of 2.25 per cent on balances of pounds 250 upwards. In itself this is hardly inspiring, but it is quite competitive for such small amounts of money.

If building societies are going to talk loudly about being able to offer a better deal than the banks because they don't have outside shareholders demanding dividends, they should also be able to remain competitive while making charitable donations on an affinity account.

Competitive affinity accounts are also something some of the smaller banks should be able to fund. In many cases these banks offer competitive interest rates while paying commission to financial advisers who introduce savers to them. If they can afford that, they should be able to afford to offer the same accounts in affinity form. Given the link to a worthy cause, it would be easier to sell these accounts directly, and the commission saved could be used to fund the charitable donations.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot