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What are Premium Bonds, where can I buy the UK’s biggest savings product and how to check if I have won?

PREMIUM Bonds are the UK’s biggest savings product – one in three adults in the UK is invested in them.

But what are they, how do they work and how do you know if you have won?

 Premium Bonds can be bought from National Saving and Investments which offers a variety of savings products


Premium Bonds can be bought from National Saving and Investments which offers a variety of savings productsCredit: Alamy

What are Premium Bonds?

Premium Bonds are a way to save but are different from a savings account because they don’t offer interest.

Instead, you’re in with a regular chance to win a prize with as much as £1million up for grabs.

Premium Bonds can be bought from the government-backed National Saving and Investments (NS&I) which also offers a variety of savings products too.

You can put money in and take it out whenever you want.

You need to put in a minimum of £25 to get started and you can invest up to £50,000.

Each £1 you put in Premium Bonds is an entry in to the monthly prize draw.

Because Premium Bonds are government-backed, your money is safe and there’s no risk of losing your cash.

 You can put money into Premium Bonds and take out cash whenever you want 


You can put money into Premium Bonds and take out cash whenever you want Credit: Alamy

How do I check if I have won?

You can use the NS&I Premium Bond prize checker online to see if your numbers have come up.

You’ll need to know the numbers of your Premium Bonds which can be found on your Bond record or through your online account.

If you’ve lost track of your numbers you can ask NS&I for them.

There’s also an official app for iPhones and for Androids for checking prizes too, and even an App for Amazon Echo which means you can just as Alexa.

For this you will need to use your NS&I number rather than each Premium Bond number. It’s 11 digits long and will be on any communication you’ve had with NS&I.

You don’t always need to check your numbers as you can get prizes under £5,000 paid straight into your bank account, or automatically buying more Premium Bonds.

For higher value prizes worth more than £5,000 NS&I will contact you by post and if you sco0p the £1million jackpot, someone will pay you a visit to let you know!

NS&I will no longer be sending out prize cheques in the post from Spring 2021.

Anyone who gets their prize this way needs to provide their bank details to NS&I.

 Winnings can either be paid directly into your account or you can choose to reinvest it in more Premium Bonds


Winnings can either be paid directly into your account or you can choose to reinvest it in more Premium BondsCredit: Alamy

NS&I says that there are over 1.5million premium bond prizes yet to be claimed by their rightful owners.

This amounts to over £60million waiting to be paid out to the rightful winners.

NS&I is encouraging Premium Bond holders to reconnect with their old bonds, some of which date back to over 50 years.

To check if you’ve won, all you need to do is enter your holder’s number on the NS&I website here.

What are the Premium Bond prizes?

The draw is held each month and the winning number is pocked by a computer called ERNIE (which stands for electronic random indicator equipment).

There are three kinds of prizes as follows:

  • Higher value prizes of £5,000, £10,000, £25,000, £50,000, £100,000 and £1million
  • Medium value prizes of £500 and £1,000
  • Lower value prizes of £25, £50 and £100

How likely am I to be a winner?

The chance of winning a prize, with an individual bond, is 34,500 to one.

Each bond has an equal chance of winning and the more you buy, the more your chances improve.

NS&I says its annual prize fund interest rate is 1% which it calculates by working out the mean rates of return per bond purchased.

But research from MoneySavingExpert found that most people earn is significantly less than this headline rate, with plenty of savers earning nothing at all.

Most Premium Bond savers will find that their investments fail to keep pace with inflation, but it’s hard to find savings accounts that beat inflation too.

You can check your odds depending on how many bonds you have and how long you’ll keep them using this helpful calculator from MoneySavingExpert.

That makes it easier to see if Premium Bonds are right for you, or if you’d be better off with other forms of savings.

It’s also worth noting that  Premium Bond winnings are tax free.

Anyone who has used up their annual ISA limit and the personal savings allowance might want to look at Premium Bonds for savings.

Where can I buy Premium Bonds from?

You can buy Premium Bonds over the phone, online or by post.

Once you own some you can buy more via direct debit on the National Savings and Investments website.

You need to be over 16 to buy them.

Parents, grandparents and legal guardians can buy Premium Bonds on behalf of children under 16.

Make sure you keep any paperwork safe, so you can still track your bonds easily if you relocate.

Premium Bonds cannot be passed on if you die, but your heirs can get the cash value of the bonds, as long as they are sold by the executor within 12 months.

NS&I has slashed the rates on its savings accounts.

Check out these nine best savings accounts for children – from Halifax to Barclays.

We tried six savings challenges that saved us hundreds of pounds – here’s how you could too.

We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Money team? Email us at [email protected] or call 0207 78 24516. Don’t forget to join the Sun Money’s Facebook group for the latest bargains and money-saving advice.

People share how they would spend a Premium Bond prize if they won

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