Banks targeting children is nothing new, but Westpac's Bump Savings Account is aiming to get the edge by recruiting customers before they're born.
There's even a $200 bonus to entice parents to sign up babies born in 2017, but customers will need to wait 16 years before they can cash in.
As with other kids' programs, signing your child up to a Bump account also gives Westpac plenty of opportunity to promote credit cards and other products in the years after they enter the world. In this context, $200 is a small price to pay for a potential 16-year-long customer relationship.
Westpac Bump – CHOICE Shonky Awards 2017
Claims of teaching "the importance of saving at a young age" abound, but getting ripped off by a bank is a hard way for a child to learn a lesson.
For example, the account offers a 2.3% maximum interest rate, which is less than many other children's savings accounts currently on the market.
To achieve the top rate, you'll need to make a deposit to the account each month, keep the balance higher at the end of the month than it was at the beginning and keep the balance above $0 at all times. Otherwise, the interest drops to 1.5%.
Let's do the maths
Assuming you take the $200 bonus and deposit a further $200 per month for 16 years at the current rates, your $38,600 will earn $8054 interest and leave a final balance of $46,654 for your child.
But if you forfeit the 'bonus' and sign up to an account with a higher 3.5% rate, you'll earn $12,977 in interest and wind up with a balance nearly $5000 higher at $51,377.
With substantial deposits over a lengthy time frame, there are likely to be many more suitable investment options to consider.
Westpac boasts, "Because you may not be with us yet, but we're proud supporters of you from day one", which we think is thoroughly unnerving coming from a bank.
Killer clowns, monsters under your bed and now being signed up to a bad deal before birth – Westpac gets a Shonky for this downright creepy, poor-value bank account.