The Post Office is to stop selling premium bonds from 1 August after National Savings and Investments (NS&I) pulled the plug on a 46-year face-to-face sales arrangement. From August, anyone wanting to buy premium bonds will have to do so directly from NS&I. They can buy online at nsandi.com or by phoning 0500 007 007 at any time of day or night. Alternatively they can apply by post by completing an application form that can be requested by phoning the above number, or downloaded from the website and returning the form to NS&I. Existing bond holders can buy more by making a direct transfer from their bank account as long as they have their 'premium bond holder's number' to hand. Natural stepJane Platt, chief executive at NS&I, said: "The majority of our customers already use direct channels to buy their Premium Bonds, and so moving to 100% direct sales is a natural next step for NS&I." She added: "After such a long-standing relationship we know it's important that we help our customers with the transition. We'll be writing to those who have recently bought Premium Bonds through the Post Office to let them know about the end date on counter sales and to assist them with using our direct channels for purchases from 1 August." NS&I explained that the move was part of its contribution to help reducing the cost to the taxpayer of government borrowing. In a statement, the National Federation of Subpostmasters said: "This is very disappointing news, particularly for our elderly and more vulnerable customers who rely on face-to-face support from subpostmasters with handling these types of transactions." Earlier this month, the maximum amount that can be invested in premium bonds rose from £40,000 to £50,000, meaning the limit has risen by £20,000 in little over a year. Only one year ago was the former upper limit of £30,000 increased to £40,000, at which point a second £1 million prize was also introduced.
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