Two Premium Bond holders have become millionaires after landing the jackpot prize in November’s draw.
National Savings & Investments (NS&I), which runs the Premium Bond accounts, has revealed that one jackpot winner is from Essex and holds more than £25,000 in bonds. They purchased their winning bond, which has the number 245PK699534, in May 2015.
The second winner is based in Hertfordshire, and holds £15,000 in Premium Bonds. They bought their winning bond in June last year, which has the number 460WE462342.
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Outside of the two jackpot winners, millions of Premium Bond holders will be receiving prizes ranging from £25 up to £100,000. What’s more, the number of prizes given out each month was raised in October, meaning that the odds of winning has improved to 24,000 to one. Last month, NS&I also increased the interest rate on its savings products to entice more savers in.
In total, just under five million prizes are being handed out by NS&I this month. Here, we explain how to check whether you’re in line for one, and whether Premium Bonds are really worth going for.
How to check if you’ve won a Premium Bonds prize
There are a few different methods for bondholders to check whether their number has been selected by ERNIE, the NS&I computer which selects the winners each month.
You can even state your NS&I number to a device that has Amazon’s Alexa service enabled, and check if your luck is in.
If you have registered online with NS&I then you will be sent an email, to notify you of your prize. However, if you haven’t done so then you’ll instead be sent a letter.
As a result, it’s a good idea to check that NS&I has the correct contact details for you, to ensure that you don’t miss out on a prize. Premium Bond prizes do go unclaimed, with some dating back decades, worth thousands of pounds.
Premium Bonds vs savings accounts
Back in October NS&I increased the prize rate on Premium Bonds from 1.4% to 2.2%. The prize rate effectively outlines what sort of return you are likely to get if you have average luck.
However, ultimately the return you get will come down to how lucky you are ‒ you could get a far better return, or you could hold the Premium Bonds forever without winning a prize.
Those looking for a more reliable return on their money might want instead to use a traditional savings account. If you want access to your money, then the top easy access account for those opening an account with £1,000 comes from HSBC, and pays 3%.
You can get a better return if you are willing to lock your money up for a longer period too. With Oxbury Bank savers can enjoy a rate of 4.65% for a one-year bond, while a two-year bond from the Bank of London and the Middle East has an anticipated profit rate of 5%.
It has an anticipated profit rate, rather than a normal interest rate, because it is a Sharia-compliant account. See our article on Sharia finance to get a better understanding of how these accounts work.
John Fitzsimons has been writing about finance since 2007, and is a former editor of Mortgage Solutions and loveMONEY. Since going freelance in 2016 he has written for publications including The Sunday Times, The Mirror, The Sun, The Daily Mail and Forbes, and is committed to helping readers make more informed decisions about their money.
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