The building society passbook clings on

Published on 23 December 2010 in , , ,

I’ve always been a bit of a keen one to make what money I have, work harder for me. Not for me the kind of person who leaves my money in a savings account that earns 0.1% interest. Instead I have a habit of juggling my savings accounts around spurred on by the latest top deals highlighted by the Money Saving Expert weekly newsletter.

Principality Building Society passbook

One of the accounts I opened recently was a regular saver account with the Principality Building Society. I like building societies – I like what they stand for. It’s that whole thing of being for the members and not for shareholders, and I try to use them as much as I can. Well as long as there’s a good deal on there, and recently several building societies have been near the top of the best deals for savings.

Opening the account was done – naturally – online, although the account doesn’t actually have any online services and maintaining the account can only be done in branch or by post. I tend to shy away from such accounts as I like to be able to keep my eye on things, however the regular saver is an account designed just for paying money in and which withdrawls can’t be made until it matures after a year so online banking wasn’t exactly important.

What I didn’t quite expect was what came through the post a few days after opening the account – a genuine, bona fide building society passbook.

Now I don’t know about you but I haven’t had one of these things for years! It was a blast from the past, taking me back to my early childhood when my parents opened a Halifax account in my name when I was aged just a few months old. The early pages of the first book were full of entries added in purple and light blue pens that the Halifax always seemed to use for such things. There were little stickers under the account number to say which account type it was.

The Halifax always were a bit of an early adopter in technology and moved to using computers and printers in my early teens. However my passbook itself ended its life not long after I turned 16 when I moved to a card based savings account and opened a current account for a first time.

So it seems rather strange 17 years on to be using such a method for maintaining my account with the Principality. More so when you consider the building society is based in Wales and has no branches anywhere near the south east. One of the benefits of the passbook was that you always had an instant copy of your account in one small book but inevitably they assumed you only banked in a branch. Which to be fair, you always did.

However in an era of electronic banking and customers who never even enter their nearest branch they seem positively antique. With my nearest branch being 145 miles away in Hereford, the chances are my passbook with never get an outing and it will sit in a draw until the account closes in a years time.

Mind you, it is only three hours from London to Hereford. Maybe it’s worth a trip out. You know. Just so I can find out what my balance is…


  • Kirk says:

    I don’t like Principality. They used to cause lots of bother for me when I worked in Cash and Bank.

  • Andrew Bowden says:

    Caused me some fun by not having standard sort code/account number access to my account. Still their customer service were very helpful