It is estimated that around 70 percent of people in the UK have a current account. The majority of those people utilize a service that allows cash to be paid directly from an employer into an account, and taken out just as simply to pay for items at will. A much more physical method of storing money, however, is that of the humble 'piggy bank'. Also known as a 'penny bank', 'money box' or 'still bank', the system relies on the owner storing coins and notes in a container that's easy to access and can be kept safe.
It is believed that the origins of the name lie in the type of clay once used to construct them. People in the middle ages stored small items and everyday household goods in jars made from clay called "pygg". The name gradually evolved into 'pig' and then 'piggy'. By the turn of the eighteenth century, the jars were named 'pig banks'.
Another theory is derived from the fact that contents could not be removed once placed inside, other than by breaking in – essentially the 'pig' was fed 'leftovers' of the owners smaller currency until it was fat enough to be smashed (or slaughtered) , allowing the owner to benefit from the funds they had amassed.
In recent years, piggy banks have been used mainly by children, as a means of learning the importance of thrift. It is likely that the shape of most containers has evolved to be that of a pig due to the historical significance of the name, but there is a wide range of available shapes and colors. This has given rise to a large number of collectors and famous piggy banks worldwide. Online auction sites have many for sale, with items made by Arthur Wood, Sadler, Masons and Goebel.
Seattle, Washington's Pike Place Market even uses one as an official mascot. 'Rachel' was designed by local artist Georgia Gerber and modeled after a pig that lived on Whidbey Island and was the 1977 Island County prize-winner. The bronze structure weighs 600 pounds and is filled by visitors from all over the world, with the collected money being used to fund the local market services.
The piggy bank's core task, however, is to store money, and it highlights just how simple modern methods have become in relation. Primarily, there is no need for an account user to ever have any physical contact with currency, as everything can be done electronically. In addition, the security offered by major banks can ensure cash is kept safe.
Although a piggy bank may be the more decorative and arguably more fun option for saving money, a banking current account [http://www.barclays.co.uk/current-accounts/] with a bricks-and-mortar bank or building society will usually be the preferred option when someone has more than a few pounds to save, although a piggy bank is a good place to start.