The changes are part of NS&I's plan to attract younger savers
Premium Bond winners can now receive a text message to tell them when they have won, NS&I has announced.
Existing customers will have a choice of either text message or email notifications if they are lucky enough to win a prize.
However, the alerts will only tell them if they have won a prize.
If they want to find out how much they have won, they will have to log into their NS&I account, check the NS&I prize checker or app, or use an Alexa-enabled device.
Those buying Premium Bonds for the first time will be able to choose to have text message notifications when they set up their account.
Customers who do not want text messages or do not have access to a mobile phone will be able to opt for an email notification.
NS&I also announced that parents or guardians of children under the age of 16 who have had Premium Bonds bought for them will have the opportunity to have prizes paid directly into their bank account.
This is instead of receiving warrants, which are like cheques. The designated responsible parent or guardian retains control of the child’s account until the child’s 16th birthday.
Parents or guardians managing Premium Bonds on behalf of children can also choose to be notified via email or text message if a prize is won.
NS&I says the changes are part of its plan to attract younger savers and reduce the amount of paper warrants issued, as well as reducing its carbon footprint.
Jill Waters, NS&I retail director, says: “With technology evolving at an ever rapid pace, it’s important that we continue to listen to customer feedback and innovate our products and the way we communicate with our customers. By making continual improvements to Premium Bonds, we aim to support a strong savings culture and create an appealing experience that maximises the technology used by our new younger savers.
“By allowing children’s prize wins to be paid directly into a parent or guardian’s account we are making life easier, ensuring that they have access to their winnings faster. By providing the option of a text message notification, we are providing customers with different ways to find out if they have won a prize.
“With more and more people engaging with NS&I through digital channels, it’s important that we make our products as accessible and easy to use as possible.”
Are Premium Bonds worth investing in?
Premium Bonds are different to savings accounts as they do not pay interest, so when inflation goes up your money will gradually lose its value.
Instead, holders of Premium Bonds are entered into a monthly prize draw, giving them the opportunity to win between £25 and £1 million, tax free.
The more you buy, the greater your chances of winning. NS&I says that the average interest rate is the equivalent of 1.40% (1.30% from May).
While Premium Bonds give you the chance to win big, there is no guarantee. In fact, the NS&I says the odds of winning for each £1 bond number are 26,000 to one.
Even if you invest thousands of pounds you might not win anything for years, so if you are looking for a regular return, they definitely are not for you.
On the plus side, Premium Bonds can be cashed in at any time and as they are protected by the Government your investment is 100% safe.
NS&I recently cut interest rates on a number of its accounts, reducing the likelihood of winning prizes on Premium Bonds.
Premium Bonds are unlikely to provide the returns you could get with a top paying savings account.
At a rate of 1.40% that the NS&I says investors get on average, on a Premium Bond worth £1,000 the return over five years would be £72.
This compares to Gatehouse Bank’s five-year fixed rate bond at a rate of 2.10% which offers a return of £110 over the same period.
NSand I in lowering their rates have made chances of winning On Premium Bonds even more remote because instead of reducing the number of larger prizes they have systematically reduced the number of smaller prizes and thats after reducing the £50 prizes down to just £25 .
The chances of even winning £25 are now more remote than ever and virtually no £25 bond actually wins anything anyway