NS&I to close Post Office accounts
National Savings and Investments (NS&I) is to stop operating its accounts through the Post Office.
Customers will not be able to open an Investment or Easy Access Savings Account from 28 November, but premium bonds will still be available.
Investment Accounts will go through a transitional period after 28 November until May 2012. During which time no new accounts can be opened but those with existing accounts will be able to manage them at Post Offices and by post. But from May 2012 the accounts will become postal only and new accounts will be available again.
The Early Access Savings Account will be closed entirely in July 2012, but until then existing customers will still be able to operate their accounts either at the Post Office or by phone. In July, customers will be offered the choice of moving their money into a new postal Investment Account, a Direct Saver Account, or taking their money elsewhere.
Premium bonds will remain on sale at Post Offices for the foreseeable future.
A form of National Savings Certificate, premium bonds are effectively gilt-edged securities: you loan your money to the government and, in return, it pays you for the privilege with a guarantee it will return your capital at a specified date. Where premium bonds differ is that the interest payments (currently 1.5%) are pooled and paid out as prize money and you can get your cash back within a fortnight, with no risk. Launched by Chancellor of the Exchequer Harold Macmillan in his 1956 Budget, every single £1 unit has the same chance of winning and in May 2011, 1,772,482 winners (from a total draw of 42,539,589,993 eligible bond numbers) shared £53,174,500. The odds of winning are 24,000 to 1 and the maximum holding is £30,000 per person but it remains the only punt in which you can perpetually recycle your stake money.