Post Office Launch Christmas 2008 Savings Scheme

Dreaming of a Christmas Yet To Come? Well, Post Office customers don’t have to be like Ebenezer Scrooge in Dicken’s Festive ‘Christmas Carol’ - who forsaw a cold and lonely Christmas future - as plans to launch a new Christmas Club offering a secure and convenient way to save for the Christmas AFTER this one have been announced.

Said to benefit from additional membership rewards that will increase festive spending power in 2008, the Post Office Christmas Club will be governed by strict E-money regulations and held in a protected account under the control of Bank of Ireland. The funds will only be accessible to Club members.

This means in practice that the money can’t go the same way as the ill-fated, hard-earned cash lost in last year’s Farepak collapse.

Post Office Managing Director Alan Cook said: “As one of the UK’s most trusted brands with an unparalleled retail network, we are responding to the need for a safe and convenient way for people to put money aside for Christmas.

“We have been working on this for many months to get the best scheme possible for our customers, to provide them with a way to save small regular amounts which ensures their cash is fully protected and looked after securely for the year until they need it at Christmas.

“Customers will be able to start saving money at any of our 14,000 Post Office branches from January for Christmas next year,” he explained.

Derek Walpole, Chairman of the Christmas Prepayment Association, said: “The Christmas Prepayment Association is delighted that the Post Office is launching a Christmas Club for 2008.

“It is of valuable importance that choice, convenience and security are offered to consumers in order to help them save for a debt free Christmas.

“The CPA offers consumer protection through stringent requirements covering security of savers' money and a code of practice to which all members must adhere.

The scheme will be available at all Post Office branches from January 2008. Customers will be issued with a Christmas Club card which they can use to make deposits over the counter. The minimum single deposit will be £5, and the maximum individual payment £500, up to a total of £1,000 savings per card per annum.

Funds will be locked away until 1 November 2008, when the Christmas Club card can be used as a pre-paid debit card with retailers signed up to the scheme or exchanged for gift vouchers at Post Office branches.

The Post Office has negotiated partnerships with around 200 retailers so far, covering grocery, wine merchants, fashion, travel and leisure, health and beauty companies. Top names include Argos, Boots, Debenhams, Halfords, House of Fraser, Peacocks, Sainsbury’s, Thorntons, Woolworths and WHSmith.

Christmas Club members will be able to benefit from further rewards as the Post Office negotiates discounts and bonuses with retailers. These deals will be announced from January and throughout 2008, and will provide significant benefits compared to current rates available from High Street savings accounts.


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