“One4All Smart Planner” Christmas savings product – some initial thoughts

Friday the 13th saw two newspaper articles, in the Independent and the Times, announcing the launch of a One4All Smart Planner Christmas savings product. I can’t find any specific details about the product on the One4All website, so these are some initial thoughts on the proposal.

First of all, as I’ve said before, Christmas savings clubs set up by private companies are a bad idea. Essentially, you’re giving them money for nothing for a period of time, hoping to get it back before Christmas. If they go bust between now and then, you’re going to end up as an unsecured creditor and at the back of the line waiting for the unlikely event that you’ll get your money back.

Just because Brian Lenihan, the Minister for Finance and guarantor for most savings products in the country at the moment (from the banks), launched this product it doesn’t mean that there is any particular safety or guarantee for this particular savings scheme.

Some people may remember the huge Farepak Christmas savings club collapse in the UK in 2005 where savers in a Christmas club were out of pocket by nearly £38m. Today, 4 years later, savers still have to see any of their money as far as I can find out.

It will be interesting to see what safeguards will be part of this One4All scheme. Make sure you read all their terms and conditions fully before you get involved. When I find out any more, I’ll write more here.

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3 Responses to “One4All Smart Planner” Christmas savings product – some initial thoughts

  1. Maiead March 25, 2009 at 18:06 #

    Hi
    I felt I needed to post in response to this as our company have had the smart planner in place since last year – we were one of the pilot companies to try it and I found it excellent and have signed up for it again for 09 as I am determined to have a debt free Christmas again!

    I also had the concerns that you mentioned above when we were told about it initially, but all funds with the one4all smart planner are put in a client trust account and therefore are not held within your company’s account or their account, meaning it is guaranteed by the government and even if my company or the gift voucher shop go into liquidation my savings will be safe ..I don’t think anyone would sign up nowadays to a savings scheme without knowing their money was safe 😮
    I honestly have found it great and a few people in here actually won from their Prize Bonds so was definitely worth their while!
    Thanks
    Mairead

  2. Kevin April 6, 2009 at 16:00 #

    My Company just introduced the smartplanner to all of us and I have to admit I was weary @ first but after getting more detail on how they handle peoples money and how its guarenteed I signed up. Come Xmas I’ve got to buy for my kids and my neice’s & nefew’s so about 10 kids in all so saving like this is great for me.

  3. valueireland April 6, 2009 at 21:00 #

    Based on the IP addresses of both of the above people, they both work for the Gift Voucher Shop or are closely associated with the Gift Voucher Shop and therefore their comments should be taken with a pinch of salt.

    How to lose friends and alienate people by engaging in such sneaky behaviour.

    As per my post above, I did e-mail One4All with some questions, some of which were answered by the Head of Corporate Sales at the Gift Voucher Shop.

    Whenever I’m inclined, I’ll publish a follow up, but in the mean time, remember – all vouchers are bad!!! Including those sold by the Gift Voucher Shop!

    Don’t be blinded by this bullshit with the Prize Bonds – you don’t get them, you are entitled to the winnings of a prize bond for a year – if they win.

    If you do want to save for Christmas, set up a savings account with your bank or your credit union. If you really want the Prize Bond possibilities as well, save your money until Christmas in Prize Bonds instead.

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