The Post Office has decided to pump serious money into advertising its savings products – using former James Bond Roger Moore – he of the effervescent eyebrows.
And international espionage is exactly the right theme, for unlike the vast majority of savings accounts, Post Office savings are NOT protected with the usual £50,000 per person UK guarantee (see the Safe Savings guide).
In fact, Post Office branded savings accounts are part of the Bank of Ireland, and it operates the ‘passport exemption’ when it comes to savings safety, which means your money is protected by Ireland’s government, not the UK’s.
The good news is until 2010 it offers to guarantee an unlimited amount, but the bad news is questions over the strength of the Irish Government’s finances have been raised. As equal or better rates are available elsewhere (see top savings) it’s worth questioning whether it’s worth it.
Frankly I think it irresponsible of the Post Office to advertise its savings without making this clear to customers. The Post Office is a uniquely British brand, and many assume its savings are part of the UK government owned NS&I – yet that’s totally separate. I wonder how many know this?