Independent Scotland would lose access to NS&I products
Residents of an independent Scotland will lose the ability to buy government-backed National Savings and Investment products, including premium bonds, unless they have a UK bank account.
Although this would not affect existing customers, NS&I has confirmed that someone contacting the organisation from Scotland looking to open an account would be refused, unless they held a UK bank account.
A spokesperson says: “This does not mean that, in the event of a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum, we would ask those who are already NS&I customers living in an independent Scotland to close their accounts with NS&I.
“We currently have some customers who live overseas and do not have a UK bank account. For instance, a customer in Australia might hold premium bonds from childhood spent in the UK or a British expat in France might have an NS&I product dating back to when they lived in the UK.”
Issued by NS&I, premium bonds are unique in that they do not pay interest and never reach maturity. Instead, each £1 bond has a slight chance each month of winning a sum varying from £25 to £1 million, if their number is selected by a powerful computer.
From 1 June 2014 you can invest up to £40,000 in premium bonds. This is set to rise to £50,000 in Spring 2015.
This article was written for our sister website Money Observer
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.