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Are Safe Deposit Boxes Still Relevant?

Safe deposit boxes are individually secured containers often used to store important valuables such as jewellery, documents, gold and pretty much anything you wish to keep safe. All safety deposit boxes are held within a large, well-protected safe or bank vault. The popularity of safe deposit boxes has fluctuated over time. They were once seen as essential and heavily wait-listed. In recent years, however, the majority of high street banks have closed their safe deposit box facilities as the service is seen as too costly.

The question remains: does this trend match declining public interest or are secure deposit boxes making a comeback?

There are many factors that contribute to customers no longer using or having an interest in safe deposit boxes. Let’s take a closer look.

A change in spending habits – Customer preferences have shifted towards high-value display objects including art, wine, collectibles, jewellery and designer handbags, all of which can be exhibited at home. Are consumers simply better served by adequate alarms, content insurance and CCTV?

Switching to digital – Digitising has become a popular method of maintaining documents, with many uploading essential documents to servers. This is quick, easy and a useful way of freeing up physical space.

Changing relationships with banks – Customers have a wider range of choices open to them, including online banks that do not have a physical presence. They are also less inclined to visit their branches in person as almost all issues can be resolved by telephone and online banking. Visiting banks can be seen as an ordeal; they are oftentimes busy, staid and not personalised experiences.

Increase in clients purchasing home safes– Whilst accessible at any time and not subject to annual rental fees, home safes can only be insured for storing items ten times to their value. They need to be specially fitted by a locksmith; the overall cost thus includes not just the safe itself, but also professional installation and additional content coverage.

This raises the overall cost of home deposit boxes, which are altogether not that secure, especially as domestic burglary has risen by more than 30% according to the latest police recorded figures released by the ONS. Here at Sharps Pixley, all of our safe deposit box rental plans are inclusive of £10,000 liability cover.

Digital storage – yes or no?

Although the digital world is ever growing and attracting new users on a daily basis, there are still major risks that are attached to the platform. Backing documents up on external storage still involves a risk; the cloud could be subject to accidental damage, corruption and severs can go down unexpectedly. Thus retrieving deleted or damaged documents is often impossible.

There is still a real need to protect important documents physically, as technological issues happen more often than we think. Unless you can confidently navigate computer networks, encryptions and data safety protocols on storage clouds and other digital storage solutions, safe deposit boxes are a far more trustworthy option. There are many advantages to going digital, but when it comes to important documents and rare and irreplaceable belongings, you’ll want to go that extra mile in order to keep them protected.

Additionally, not everything can be uploaded digitally, beloved heirlooms and special mementos still require a safe harbour that can withstand unexpected disasters like fires, floods and theft.

What are Safe Deposit Boxes Used For?

Whereas paper documents are increasingly being digitised and transferred online, the reverse is true of digital currencies, such as bitcoin and altcoins. In protecting cryptocurrency holdings, most would concur that cold storage -- the transfer of digital assets offline via paper or hardware wallets -- is the most secure and reliable form of storage as it removes them from possible hacking attempts. Interestingly, then, the growing interest in digital currencies has underscored the need for high-tech secure storage.

Although many millennials might see safe deposit boxes as a relic of their parent’s generation, they stand to greatly benefit from them. Their mobility - through flexible work patterns, sabbaticals, gap years, international travel or moving between various flat shares - means that they have particular need to safeguard their most valued possessions.

The Benefits of Sharps Pixley

  • There are a number of banks that continue to offer safe deposit boxes. However, these facilities are often only for the benefit of banking clients, subject to long waiting list and do not include the cost of content insurance. We provide up to £10,000 cover at no additional cost with extra insurance offered at competitive rates.
  • Our facilities in the heart of London are both luxurious and graded amongst the most secure in the world . Carefully curating our client experience, we focus on providing efficient service Cutting edge biometric systems expedite client registration and also provide an additional level of security.
  • Safe deposit boxes are our client’s own personal spaces and they are free to store whatever they like in them, subject to terms and conditions. Only one client is permitted into the vault at a time. We also provide our clients with a private viewing room for their comfort and discretion.
  • There is no need to make an appointment to view your box and you can do so five days a week.

If you have any questions regarding safe deposit boxes, please don’t hesitate to contact us or visit us in our showroom in London, we’d be delighted to help. You can view all of our storage FAQs here.

09 Aug 2018

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