Millions of Premium Bonds customers who still receive their winnings through the post will have to provide their bank details from December, as National Savings and Investments begins to phase out prize cheques.

The Treasury-backed bank said that between the December prize draw and March 2021 it would begin paying winnings directly into customers’ bank accounts and would no longer pay out paper prize warrants after next February’s draw.

It said the change would be more secure, better for the environment and help it reduce the £67million in unclaimed winnings in cases where NS&I did not have an up-to-date address.

The move to go paperless will be the end of an era, with cheques payouts a staple since 1964, when they were first used to issue £25 prizes and the winning numbers will still drawn by the first ever version of Ernie - NS&I’s random number generator.

Letters will not be sent out until all customers had chosen to have their winnings paid into their bank account or reinvested into more Bonds.