National Savings & Invesments has started selling its flagship premium bonds online to holders of Switch/Maestro or Visa debit cards, some seven months after the move was first reported in IFAonline.
John Prout, sales director, told IFAonline last August the executive agency was looking to the internet to boost sales.
First-time online buyers of premium bonds will be forced to send in a written signature on paper the first time they order bonds online – although any transactions will be backdated to the day the order was first made.
However, a spokesperson confirms existing bondholders who already have a holder’s number will not need to provide the signature as their identity will already be known, and they will be able to start buying additional bonds straight away.
NS&I says the signature demand stems from anti-money laundering requirements, and the need for proof of identity.
Were digital certificates to be written into legislation as a full alternative, then it would be considered in future to enable immediate access to bonds also for first-time buyers, the spokesperson says.
Putting premium bonds online is part of a plan to reach a new audience and to make "the flagship product as accessible as possible," the spokesperson adds.
The minimum investment in premium bonds currently stands at £100, up to a maximum of £30,000.IFAonline
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