Premium Bond prize winners will no longer receive paper cheques by March next year, NS&I has announced.
The savings giant said that, starting from the December prize draw, it will start to move customers to having Premium Bonds prizes paid directly into bank accounts.
It said that, while it understands the affection people have for receiving prizes in the post, direct bank account payments are quicker, easier and will cut the numbers of prizes going unclaimed.
There are more than 1.8 million unclaimed Premium Bonds prizes, worth over £67 million.
The issuing of paper warrants, which are like cheques, for the payment of prizes in the monthly Premium Bonds prize draws will be phased out completely by March.
The February draw will be the last in which prize warrants will be issued by NS&I.
Winners can also continue to have any prizes reinvested into more Premium Bonds, up to the maximum holding of £50,000.
Customers will be notified of any prize win by their choice of email or text message.
More than £88 billion is invested in Premium Bonds by over 21 million customers. The odds of each individual Bond number winning any prize are 24,500 to one.
Since 2011, Premium Bonds holders have been able to have their prizes paid directly into a UK bank account in their name. In the September draw, nearly three-quarters of the 3,856,040 prizes were paid directly into bank accounts or reinvested.
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Ian Ackerley, NS&I chief executive, said: “Paying Premium Bonds prizes directly into customers’ bank accounts is quicker, easier and more secure for everyone.
“It will also mean that we can reduce the number of Premium Bonds prizes that go unclaimed where we don’t have a current address for the winner. Customers can also continue to have any prize wins reinvested into more Premium Bonds up to the £50,000 limit to increase their chances of winning in future draws.
“There is an understandable affection for prizes being received by post, but since March, nearly half a million customers have switched from receiving paper warrants to having their prizes paid directly into their bank account or automatically reinvested.
“As well as being beneficial to our customers, this change will allow NS&I to manage Premium Bonds prize distribution more cost-effectively and with a much lower environmental impact.”
NS&I said that to ensure the swift and easy transfer of prizes, Premium Bonds customers will need to ensure NS&I has their up-to-date UK bank account details along with an email address or UK mobile phone number, so they can be notified of any prize wins.
NS&I is urging customers to do this as soon as possible. It said customers who have not previously registered to manage their account online should register for NS&I’s online and phone services at www.nsandi.com/online-registration.
Customers without internet access should call NS&I on 08085 007007 to either provide their bank details or register to manage their savings, including Premium Bonds, with NS&I.