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Image Simon Moynihan
Staff Writer

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So Communion season is upon us again. Time for kids to make out like bandits and lighten the wallets of aunts and uncles everywhere. And with fancy outfits, expensive meals, fake tan (and even limos!), Communion day is a seriously pricey affair for parents too.

The good news is that kids are now raking in nearly €500* on Communion day - which is just staggering. I’m relatively uninitiated when it comes to forking over the cash, so it got me thinking, what on earth is the going rate these days for a Communion kid with his hand out? Is it a crisp €50? If they’re making nearly €500, it’s got to be at least €20 anyway.

Back in the dark ages when I made my Communion, I got ₤21 and most of it was in big green ₤1 notes. Remember them? After we’d worked all our relations, my cousin and I sat on the stairs counting our takings, and then counting them again to see who had more. He had a couple of those huge brown fivers with the weird looking bloke on. It gave him the edge and he came out with more money than me, and I've never forgotten it.

My new found wealth was short lived though. The following Monday, my mother took me to the bank and made me give all my money to a strange man who gave me a little blue book and a moneybox in return. The irony of taking all my money and giving me an empty moneybox was not lost on me. And that was that.

So when little Jack and Katie come home with their hands full of loot, someone has to decide what to do with it. Left to their own devices, kids would happily blow it all on the high life - sweets, toys, McDonalds...

With so much money burning holes in pockets and purses across the country, I though it was the right time** to take a look at child saver accounts and see whether the banks have any interest in opening accounts for kids these days. We’ll see if the interest rates are up to much and what the gimmicks are like. I’ll do this alphabetically so as not to discriminate until the end.

AIB – Junior Saver Account

Interest rate – 1.26%
Cash bonus– €10 if the account is opened before 31st May
Gimmicks– Savings Gang Moneybox and a Savings Gang Wall Chart and a bizarre gang of characters with names like Wonga, Mr Dough, Quids and Lolly.
Limits– There doesn’t seem to be any listed.

Bank of Ireland – Young Savers Account

Interest rate – 0.5%
Cash bonus– None
Gimmicks– U-Ro – the online savings robot. I installed it. It’s quite odd but I think it’s an app that gives kids their savings balance.
Limits– €1 min, no upper limit listed

EBS – Childrens Savings Account

Interest rate – 2.35%
Cash bonus- €20 bonus paid after 6 months as long as a minimum balance of €50 has been maintained.
Gimmicks– Moneybox, activity book and online access through dedicated kids page.
Limits - €1 to €5,000

National Irish Bank – Junior Saving

Interest rate – 1.35% up to €100, 1.55% up to €1,000 and 2.1% for anything over a grand.
Cash bonus– None
Gimmicks– Nothing. Not even a moneybox.
Limits- €1 to €5,000

Permanent TSB - Children’s Safari Saver Account

Interest rate – 3.0%
Cash bonus– None
Gimmicks– Nothing
Limits- €1 to €20,000

An Post – ChildCare Save Account

Interest rate – 1.0%
Cash bonus– None
Gimmicks– None
Limits– None listed

Ulster Bank – urfirst account

Interest rate– 2.31%
Cash bonus– None
Gimmicks – Henri Hippo moneybox and then “updates and goodies from Henri throughout the year.”
Limits– €5 min, no upper limit listed

If you’ve made it this far, you’re obviously determined to getting the best account for your kids! And it’s pretty clear that there are some good, some bad and some awful accounts out there.

I’m inclined towards the Permo Safari Saver because money talks, it has the highest interest rate and it has a pretty decent upper limit… although I’ve yet to hear of a kid getting twenty grand for his communion. Permo could use some gimmicks though. Even a moneybox would go a long way towards making this a proper kid’s account.

I do like the EBS account too. They have an ok rate of 2.35%, plenty of gimmicks, a cash bonus and online access. I think online access for a kids’ accounts should be mandatory. Kids are better with technology than most of their parents and the idea that they should have to wait for an annual statement in the post to see their balance is just ridiculous – although lots of banks don’t seem to get it.

Finally, it would be remiss of me not to award a wooden spoon to the paddy last account. There were several in contention like the An Post ChildCare and the National Irish Bank Junior Saving, but Bank of Ireland wins by a mile with their Young Savers. I have no idea what they were thinking with a half a percent interest, but unsurprisingly they’ve hidden the rate on their website so I had to call them to get it.

*Irish League of Credit Unions said on 4th May 2011 that the average amount of money received by a child for Communion is €471.
**Thanks to Charlie for the idea.