The website selling the Government’s new market-leading pensioner bonds has been struggling under the weight of demand from savers clamouring for better returns on their cash.
A pot of up to £10 billion has been put aside for the 65-plus bonds, which have now gone on sale through the website of National Savings and Investments (NS&I).
But there were complaints of people struggling to access the site and get through on the phone as the stampede for the bonds got under way.
The deals, which have been released at a time when savers continue to be hammered by low interest rates, enable people aged over 65 years old to save up to £10,000 each in a one-year bond paying annual interest of 2.8 per cent and a three-year bond paying a yearly rate of four per cent.
Couples can jointly hold £40,000, assuming that each partner holds £10,000 in a one-year bond and £10,000 in a three-year bond.
NS&I said it expects the bonds to be available for a period of months, but some financial experts warned that the bonds “could be a case of blink and you’ll miss them,” predicting that they could all be snapped up within weeks or even days.
Martin Lewis, founder and editor of MoneySavingExpert.com, pointed out that as few as half a million over-65s will be able to get their hands on the bonds if everyone uses their maximum allowance.
He said: “My guess is this won’t be open for more than six to eight weeks, so go quick if you want it.”
The bonds are available by post as well as by phone and via NS&I’s website. NS&I has encouraged people to apply online as the “quickest and easiest” way to invest.
Some people vented their frustration at their struggle to get through to NS&I on the MoneySavingExpert website’s forum.
One user said: “I just had the email from NS&I and the page link to apply is unavailable and the phone is continually busy.”
Another added: “This is a joke, have been trying both phone line and website since they were announced. Getting nowhere”
And another NS&I customer commented: “Have just tried to login to NSANDI account, got right through entering my number and name, the password page came up, entered the required digits. All fine but no ‘Next’ box to click. Frustrated as I cannot even see my other NSANDI products.”
Asked about the problems on the website, a spokeswoman for NS&I, which is backed by the Treasury, said: “We are aware of an issue affecting some customers.
“We are sorry for the inconvenience and grateful for people being patient.”