Halifax bids for share of Xmas savings club market

Halifax is to launch a Christmas savings account that will be aimed at low-income households.

The scheme will be launched in May and will be piloted via a mailing to 10,000 of the group’s social banking customers. It is the first product of its kind from Halifax. Customers can open an account with £5 and save a maximum of £100 a month.

The account pays interest of 5.2% and operates from May to October. Customers can then take their savings in cash or high street vouchers. The bank says vouchers will only be with "well-known high treet brands".

The HBoS-owned brand joins retailer Argos, which announced this week it was setting up a Christmas savings scheme following the collapse last year of Farepak.

HBoS was one of the companies that contributed to an emergency fund to compensate consumers who lost savings through Farepak’s collapse. About 150,000 people are estimated to have lost a total of up to £50m when that firm went into administration.

Halifax says it is the UK’s largest provider of social banking with 3.6 million accounts. A bank spokesman says: "Customers will have the peace of mind that the Halifax stands behind this product."

Earlier this week Argos managing director Sara Weller announced the catalogue chain would launch a Christmas club. She says one third of Farepak customers redeemed their savings club’s vouchers at Argos and that research showed customers liked the security of savings schemes. It is piloting its club at 100 stores in the north of England.

The government will this week publish a review into Christmas hamper savings schemes, which was commissioned following the collapse of Farepak.

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