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Westpac banks on the unborn at this year's Shonkys

CHOICE calls out Westpac's creepy tactic to target the unborn

5 October 2017

Westpac's Bump Savings account has cashed in at the 12th annual Shonky Awards for trying to lure in expecting parents to sign up their babies to a poor value financial product before they are even born.

"While banks targeting the young is nothing new, recruiting customers before they even enter the world is downright creepy," says CHOICE's Head of Media Tom Godfrey.

"As part of the deal, expecting mums and dads are offered a $200 sweetener for any child born in 2017.

"But a child can't access the $200 bonus credit for 16 years and if the account is closed before then, the money is forfeited.

"The shonky product also offers a meagre 2.30% maximum interest rate, which is lower than many other children's savings account currently on the market." [1]

"If that wasn't bad enough, by investing in this Westpac account until the "bonus" kicks in and not the best rate in the market you'll be left $5,000 worse off," Mr Godfrey says.

To make matters worse, to achieve the top rate customers need to stick to strict guidelines.

"If a busy parent doesn't make a deposit to the account each month, keep the balance higher at the end of each month, and keep the balance above $0 at all times, that interest rate drops to an astonishingly low 1.50%," Mr Godfrey says.

"This is a clear cut poor-value bank account and getting ripped off by a bank is a hard way for a child to learn about money."

Signing up an unborn child to a Bump account also gives the bank plenty of opportunity to begin a long relationship promoting credit cards and other products as they get older.

"CHOICE urges expectant parents to save their children the headache and stay clear of this poor account," says Mr Godfrey.

Other 2017 Shonky Award recipients were:

  • Viagogo
  • Honda, Toyota, Lexus, BMW and Mazda – Takata airbags
  • Vita Gummies
  • Pain Erazor
  • Samsung's washer and dryer
  • Coles Complete Cuisine Cat Food
  • Cuddly Sensitive Hypoallergenic Fabric Softener

Access the full report on the 2017 Shonky winners at shonkys.com.au

Media contact: Tom Godfrey, CHOICE Media: 0430 172 669

About CHOICE

Set up by consumers for consumers, CHOICE is the consumer advocate that provides Australians with information and advice, free from commercial bias. As vital today as when we were founded in 1959, CHOICE continues to fight for consumers and uncover the truth. By mobilising Australia's largest and loudest consumer movement, CHOICE fights to hold industry and government accountable and achieve real change on the issues that matter most

[1] For more advice on children's banking accounts go to choice.com.au