NS&I delays scrapping of Premium Bond paper prize cheques
Premium Bond holders can continue to get paper prize cheques until at least spring 2021, as NS&I has delayed phasing them out after some reported difficulties registering bank account details.
Currently, some Premium Bond holders opt to have prizes paid in the form of a paper 'warrant', which is like a cheque – though customers can also choose to have prizes paid straight into their bank account, or reinvested to buy more Premium Bonds.
In September, NS&I – which runs Premium Bonds – said it would start moving customers who get paper warrants over to bank transfer prize payments from December 2020, with paper warrants being phased out completely by March 2021.
But now it says it will start to phase out Premium Bond prize warrants from the later date of spring 2021, although it's unclear when these will disappear completely. NS&I says it will announce exact dates in due course.
It comes as the Premium Bond prize rate is dropping from 1.4% to 1% this month – see our NS&I to slash savings rates and Premium Bond prizes MSE News story for full details. For more on how Premium Bonds work and whether they're worth it, see our Premium Bonds guide.
Why is NS&I ending the use of Premium Bond prize warrants?
NS&I says paying Premium Bond prizes directly into customers' bank accounts is quicker, easier and more secure.
It adds that it will also reduce the number of Premium Bond prizes that go unclaimed. There are currently more than 1.8 million unclaimed Premium Bond prizes, worth over £67 million.
Why has the phase-out been delayed?
NS&I says some customers have faced difficulties and longer wait times than normal when trying to contact it to supply their bank account details.
The savings provider blames the coronavirus pandemic for high call levels since March and adds that social distancing measures in contact centres also mean it now has fewer staff working at any one time.
The savings provider says it's sorry for the problems and will delay the paper phase-out to give Premium Bond holders longer to get in touch.
I currently get paper prizes – what do I need to do?
NS&I says almost three quarters of prizes paid out in September 2020 were paid directly into bank accounts or reinvested into Premium Bonds.
If you still receive paper warrants, you've now got longer to move things over, but it's still worth doing it sooner rather than later if you can.
- Make sure you're registered for NS&I's online and phone services. You can do this online, or those without internet access can also phone 08085 007 007 to register or provide NS&I with their bank details.
Alternatively, customers who do not want to register for NS&I’s online and telephone services and can provide their bank details to NS&I either online or by phone, by calling NS&I on 08085 007 007.
- Choose how you want your prizes to be paid. You can log in to your account and choose to have your prizes paid directly to your bank account or reinvested (up to the maximum of £50,000) by going to 'Your profile' and selecting 'Your prize options'. You'll need to input your up-to-date UK bank details, as well as an email address or UK mobile number so you can be notified about any prizes.
If you don't provide NS&I with your details and later win a Premium Bond prize, instead of a prize warrant you'll be sent a letter with details about how to arrange the payment of your prize.
Remember, NS&I will NEVER phone you and ask for your bank details, so if this happens to you it may be a scam.