NS&I faces calls to scrap 'online only' policy as elderly savers will be blocked from new savings bond

Katie Morley
The bond could be the start of a new online-only era for NS&I -  John Stillwell

The Government’s savings arm is facing a backlash after blocking millions of elderly savers from its new market-leading bond by only offering it online.

A market leading bond due to be launched this month will become the first by National Savings & Investments not let savers apply via post or over the telephone. Instead it will only accept applications through its website.

The decision, which will result in a cost saving for NS&I, comes despite the majority of over 65s who bought its pensioner bonds in 2015 having done so over the phone or by post.

The latest bond is a three year fix which will pay 2.2 per cent on deposits up to £3,000.

Last night experts called on NS&I to change its mind and reverse the decision, which it said was "out of touch" and risked excluding elderly people who do not have access to the internet.

Elderly savers may not be able to access the new bond if they don't have access to a computer Credit: NS&I

Sir Steve Webb, a former pensions minister and head of policy at Royal London, said:"So much of modern life is geared around the assumption that everyone is online, but older people and those in rural areas are much less likely to be online. This is a very out of touch decision. NS&I should change its mind and offer the bond over the phone or through post offices."

Baroness Atlmann, another former pensions minister, added: "People who would - pensioners who have savings need some extra income which is good but then they may not - think should offer it at least over the phone. Money saving issue. Depending - costs a lot more to administer by phone and post. Should recognize it needs to help older savers as much as they can - need to look after them and treat them reasonably well, casualties of unsustainable.

A spokesman at NS&I said: “The majority of customers invest online so it was reacting to customer demand, and also from a taxpayer perspective it is a cheaper way of running the product. “Pensioner bonds were offered in January 2015: they were available online, by post and on the telephone. One-year paid 2.8pc and 3-year paid 4pc."

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