Two lucky Premium Bond holders are starting the New Year as millionaires after scooping the jackpot in the first draw of 2023.
National Savings & Investments (NS&I), which runs the popular Premium Bond accounts, has revealed that the jackpot winners are from South Yorkshire and Wiltshire. Nearly five million prizes are being paid out this month, totalling nearly £300 million - a new record.
January’s prize draw sees the Premium Bond prize fund rate increased to 3% from 2.2%, with an extra £80 million in the prize pot compared to last month.
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In fact, the changes mean the prize fund rate has tripled from 1% to 3% in less than a year, with the odds of each £1 Bond number winning a prize improving from 34,500 to 1 in May last year to 24,000 to 1 currently.
There are two £1 million jackpots up for grabs every month, plus hundreds of other prizes ranging from £25 up to £100,000.
NS&I revealed that one of January’s jackpot winners, from South Yorkshire, holds £4,625 in Premium Bonds. They purchased the winning bond, which has the number 461RN328709, in July 2021. The win makes them the 17th Premium Bond jackpot winner from the Yorkshire region.
The second £1 million winner holds £50,000 in Premium Bonds - the maximum that can be held in Premium Bonds - and purchased their winning bond, which has the number 399PD449641, in June 2020. They are the 10th Premium Bond millionaire from Wiltshire.
Jill Waters, NS&I retail director, said the 3% prize fund rate is the highest it’s been in 14 years, meaning “a bigger prize pot and more higher value prizes that all Premium Bonds customers have a chance to win”.
How to check if you’ve won a Premium Bond prize
It’s easy to check whether you’ve landed a prize in the January draw.
You can even say your NS&I number to a device that has Amazon’s Alexa service, to see if your luck is in.
NS&I contacts all winners to let them know if they have won a prize - if you have registered online then you will be sent an email. Alternatively, you may be notified by a letter in the post.
This means it’s a good idea to make sure that NS&I has the correct contact details for you, to ensure you don’t miss out on a prize. Many Premium Bond prizes go unclaimed, with some dating back decades, worth thousands of pounds.
For example, in South Yorkshire, there are 20,225 unclaimed prizes worth £617,125. Meanwhile, in Wiltshire, there are 20,587 unclaimed prizes with a total value of £604,475.
Premium Bonds vs savings accounts
This month the prize rate on Premium Bonds rose from 2.2% to 3%. The rate effectively outlines what sort of return you are likely to get if you have average luck.
However, this is not the same as an interest rate on a savings account. You are not guaranteed to earn a 3% return on your Premium Bond holdings - ultimately the return comes down to how lucky you are, so you could get a far better return, or you may never win a prize at all.
Those looking for a more reliable return on their cash may prefer to use a traditional savings account. If you want access to your money, then the top easy access accounts include Barclays Rainy Day Saver (5.12%), Santander Edge Saver (4%), Zopa Smart Saver Access Pot (2.86%) and Newbury Building Society (2.8%).
If you’re willing to lock your money up for a longer period, you could get 4.3% with the FirstSave 1 Year Fixed Bond, or 5% with Nationwide’s Start to Save two-year account.
There are also some high-paying regular saver accounts on the market, with First Direct paying as much as 7%.
Ruth is passionate about helping people feel more confident about their finances. She was previously editor of Times Money Mentor, and prior to that was deputy Money editor at The Sunday Times.
A multi-award winning journalist, Ruth started her career on a pensions magazine at the FT Group, and has also worked at Money Observer and Money Advice Service.
Outside of work, she is a mum to two young children, a magistrate and an NHS volunteer.
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