Cookies are simple text files which are stored on a user's computer. Contrary to popular belief, cookies are NOT programs and they can't be executed as code. They cannot be used to disseminate viruses, and modern browsers allow users to set their own limitations to the number of cookies saved on their hard drives. Typically a cookie will contain two pieces of information: a site name and unique user ID.
Cookies are stored on the computer's hard drive, but they cannot access the hard drive - so a cookie can't read other information saved on the hard drive, or get a user's e-mail address etc. The data in the cookie is specific to a particular client and website, and can only be accessed by the website that created it or your own computer.
More information on cookies can be found at www.aboutcookies.org.
We use "permanent" cookies (also known as "persistent", or "stored" cookies) to identify individual users, in order to provide information about numbers of visitors, how many times a visitor returns to our website, the average time spent on a particular page and generally the performance of the web site. This allows us to identify any problems there may be with the website and help make future improvements. We also use them to identify what stage in an application process you are at.
We use "temporary" or "session" cookies in order to identify you and allow you to log in and to manage your savings and mortgage accounts. If you prevent these cookies, we can't guarantee your security or predict how our website will perform during your visit.
Whilst both permanent and temporary cookies can identify individual users by reference to a unique reference number, this information does not tell us anything about you as an individual. All the information collected is anonymous. Find out more about the cookies we use »