United Kingdom

NS&I tries to get on top of cheque-axing Premium Bond prize problems

Under-fire National Savings & Investments is seeking to make it easier for customers who need to provide their bank details as it stops sending out physical Premium Bond cheques.

From today, savers who do not want to sign up to bank online with NS&I and do not have an email address will be able to either give bank account details for prizes to be paid into online or do so by phone, but only if they provide a mobile number. 

This is because NS&I wants to send confirmation texts for payments to savers if they win a prize. 

But it means that those who have neither an email address nor a mobile number still face the prospect of long wait times on the phone to find out how they can get their prizes paid as NS&I phases out the cheques from December.

Cuts: NS&I's new rates are so low that the Treasury-backed bank has all but disappeared as a player in the market

As customers have currently reported frustrating hours spent waiting on the phone with NS&I, This is Money is encouraging readers to offer to help any older savers they may know who don't go online or have a mobile to get their Premium Bond payment method sorted.

Savers will also be able to provide them through the post by downloading a form from its website, but will still have to provide a mobile contact number.

Between next month's draw and next March Premium Bond holders are having to provide their bank details to the Treasury-backed bank as it will stop informing winners by post. 

But with around a fifth of November winners still receiving prizes in the post, thousands if not millions of savers have had problems updating their details.

Those who don't have an online account or NS&I ID number have had troubles registering online, while those who do not have an email address - many of whom are elderly savers - have until recently had no way of providing their details.

NS&I has now said customers without an email address can register their bank details online, or over the phone with it without signing up to its online service if they don't want to.

They will need to have their Premium Bond holder's number to hand to do this and can determine whether they want to have prizes paid directly into their bank account or reinvested automatically, provided they don't already hold the £50,000 Premium Bond limit.

They will need to provide an email address or phone number so NS&I can inform them if they have one.

Premium Bonds Winners

Prize Area Value of bond
£1,000,000 Devon £18,900
£1,000,000 West Sussex £30,000
£100,000 Cleveland £4,000
£100,000 Outer London £25
£100,000 East Sussex £5,000
£100,000 Buckinghamshire £36,300
£100,000 Somerset £10,000
£100,000 Avon £10,000

More November 2020 winners

View list of November 2020 winners

If previously offline customers do wish to register for online and telephone banking with NS&I, they can do so with their personal details including a mobile or landline number, their Premium Bond holder's number, and their bank details.

Treasury-backed NS&I, which has seen more than £9.8billion poured into Britain's best-loved savings product since the first coronavirus lockdown began in March, has been heavily criticised for its poor customer service and long waiting times, with its Truspilot rating plunging to just 1.4 stars out of 5.

This is Money's sister titles Money Mail and the Financial Mail on Sunday have repeatedly reported on the problems customers have faced, including being unable to register their bank details without an email address.

One This is Money reader who emailed us on Monday said: 'I am a 74-year-old with I believe a grasp of most things I come across.

'However, I cannot understand when trying to communicate with NS&I regarding registering my Bonds the website fails, then the helpline repeats a message about how busy they are and then rings off.'

NS&I has previously said it is trying to sort through customers' complaints and has hired more staff in a bid to ease the waiting times customers have faced, but has encouraged customers to register online where they can.

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