Bonus Bonds FAQ: Call for 804,000 Kiwis to redeem Bonus Bonds after scheme winds up

Approximately 804,000 Kiwis have money sitting in Bonus Bonds and are yet to provide their account details to have them redeemed, ANZ says.

Launched by the Government through the Post Office in 1970, bondholders didn't receive interest. Investment returns were instead returned to bondholders as prizes. Each eligible Bonus Bond gave bondholders one entry into the monthly prize draw, where the top prize was $1 million.

The scheme started to wind up in October 2020. Bondholders had the option to either redeem their Bonus Bonds before the wind-up or keep their money locked in, where they would be entitled to a share of the reserves, after expenses, when the scheme was wound up.

ANZ said on Tuesday it's now waiting on around 804,000 bondholders to get in touch with their account details. This includes people who may have purchased Bonus Bonds a long time ago, or received them as a gift.

To help bondholders understand the process, Newshub asked ANZ to answer basic questions about getting the money back. 

Q1. Why did Bonus Bonds end?

After over five decades of Bonus Bonds, ANZ Investment Services (NZ) Ltd announced on August 26, 2020 that it would stop accepting new investments. ANZ managing director retail and business banking, Ben Kelleher, said low interest rates "continued to reduce the prize pool".  

Q2. How much do bondholders receive?

Bondholders who stayed in the scheme through the wind-up process will be paid $1.10 per Bonus Bond, ANZ NZ managing director of personal banking Ben Kelleher, confirms.

"Another small payment may be paid next year if there are remaining funds to be distributed," Kelleher said.

Q3. Is there a deadline for getting Bonus Bonds redeemed?

Unclaimed money will be passed to the Treasury, ANZ said. A date has not yet been set.

Anyone who thinks they have Bonus Bonds is encouraged to contact ANZ "now or early in the New Year".

Q4. What's the process for getting Bonus Bonds credited to an account?

For those who haven't already, bondholders are asked to get in touch with ANZ to confirm their bank account details for funds to be paid into.

"This is because even though we hold account information for many bondholders, we need to be sure payment is made to the account the customer wants the funds paid to," Kelleher said.

Q5. How long does it take for Bonus Bonds to be credited to accounts?

For those among the 232,000 bondholders who have already provided their account details, ANZ said it expects to make a payment by Christmas.

For bondholders still to get in touch with their details, an ANZ spokesperson said payments will "continue to be processed weekly, until completion of the wind-up."

Bondholders could talk to the team about what form of identification is required, and what information is available already, Kelleher said.

Q6. What is the process for people who think they have Bonus Bonds, but have no records?

There may be people who have forgotten about Bonus Bonds they received as a child, or as a gift.

Anyone who thinks they may have Bonus Bonds stashed away are encouraged to contact ANZ.

"If you don’t have any records please think about any past addresses that you lived at, any name changes (such as maiden names) or the name of the person who may have purchased them for you and give us a call," Kelleher said.

Bondholders can contact 0800 266 374, or visit the Bonus Bonds website for more information.