Clock ticks for pensioner bonds
Savers have until tonight to snap up market-leading pensioner bonds which offer up to 4% interest.
The bonds, which went on sale on January 15, have proved hugely popular, with £10 billion worth being snapped up by 825,000 people in the first eight weeks since their launch.
Savers need to be aged 65 years old or over to take out the bonds, which are available through National Savings and Investments (NS&I) and will close for sale at 11.59pm. Customers can buy the 65-plus Guaranteed Growth Bonds online or over the phone.
The bonds, which have been released as savers continue to be hammered by low interest rates, enable people to save into a one-year bond paying annual interest of 2.8% and a three-year bond paying a yearly rate of 4%. There is an investment limit of £10,000 per bond per person.
The stampede when the bonds first went on sale meant that NS&I's website initially struggled under the weight of demand.
NS&I is a Treasury-backed body, meaning that the money invested with it is guaranteed as being completely secure.
The rates on the bonds have been significantly higher than other similar deals on the market generally, according to financial information website Moneyfacts.
Both the one-year and the three-year 65-plus bonds have been at the top of Moneyfacts' "best buy" tables.
Rachel Springall, a spokeswoman for Moneyfacts, said: " Even though Isas provide shelter from tax, the majority of the top three-year deals pay just 2%, so it's clear to see why the 65-plus bonds have been so popular on rate alone."
Banks have also seen evidence of the impact of the bonds. The British Bankers' Association (BBA) has previously reported seeing a sharp fall in the amount of cash held in personal deposits with high street banks as savers rushed to get their hands on the bonds.
When the bonds initially went on sale, a pot of up to £10 billion was put aside for them, leading some savings experts to predict that the bonds could be a case of "blink and you'll miss them".
But in February Chancellor George Osborne announced that the bonds would be kept on sale until tonight.
It is expected that by extending the sale, more than a million older savers have benefited and around £15 billion-worth of bonds could be sold.
More information about how to apply for the bonds can be found at nsandi.com.