Premium bonds are a form of investment offered by National Savings and Investment (NS&I), a savings bank owned by the UK government.
Instead of earning interest on their investments, bondholders participate in a raffle at the start of each month, with tax-free prizes worth between £ 25 million and £ 1million.
Although the Aggregate Annual Prize Fund currently operates at an interest rate of 1.00%, the raffle format means that there is no guarantee that you will earn this from your savings.
The odds of winning £ 1 for a Bond are 34,500 to 1, so while it can be a fun way to save, it is unlikely to provide you with regular income. Here’s how to check if your holdings have won a prize each month.
How to check if you’ve earned Premium Bonds
If you own Premium Bonds and want to check if you won a prize in the last monthly draw, you can use the NS&I online prize checker here.
Alternatively, you can download the free app from iOS or Android, while Amazon Alexa devices can also check for you, “remembering” the last six sweepstakes.
To verify your obligations, you will need your unique cardholder number, which can be found on your bond file or by logging into your account on the NS&I website. It will be either nine out of ten digits or an eight digit number with a letter at the end.
Results are usually accessible from the second day of the month, although this can be pushed back if the month begins on a weekend or a holiday. In January 2022 for example, the results were available from Wednesday 5.
Prizes have no time limit, so you can claim as far back as the original 1957 draw.
However, according to MoneySavingExpert, as of November 2021, there were over two million unclaimed Premium Bonds prizes worth a total of almost £ 75million.
To reduce the risk of leaving prizes unclaimed, premium bondholders can choose to pay them directly to their bank account or automatically reinvest them in other bonds.
NS&I says nearly nine out of ten prices are now paid this way, and you can find more details here.
How to buy premium bonds
You can buy Premium Bonds for yourself or for a child under 16 online here, or you can call NS&I free of charge on 08 085 007 007, 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily. You will need to have your debit card details handy.
Alternatively, you can apply by mail to NS&I, Sunderland SR43 2SB, using an application form which you can find and print here.
Each bond costs £ 1, but you have to pay a minimum of £ 25 for each investment. The maximum amount you can hold in Premium Bonds is £ 50,000.
If you think it is possible that you have premium bonds, but you are not sure, there is a tracking service on the NS&I website.
To check if you have any obligations, you must fill out a form with your personal data and send it. If you have premium bonds, you will be contacted.
January 2022 Premium Bond Winners
A total of 3,352,872 prizes were paid out in the January 2022 draw, with a combined value of £ 96,395,075, out of 115,674,095,010 eligible numbers.
Two premium bond holders from Hertfordshire and Lancashire received a welcome New Years windfall by winning the £ 1million jackpot.
In addition, there were six winners of £ 100,000, 11 of £ 50,000, 22 of £ 25,000, 56 worth £ 10,000 and 112 worth £ 5,000.
The total paid by National Savings and Investments (NS&I) since the very first draw in June 1957 now stands at £ 22.5 billion, out of 549 million prizes.