Instead of earning interest on their investments, holders of the bonds are entered into a random draw at the start of every month, with tax-free prizes worth between £25 and £1 million.
While the overall annual prize fund currently operates at an interest rate of 1.4 per cent (having recently increase from 1 per cent), the prize draw format means there is no guarantee that you will earn this from your savings.
The odds of any £1 Bond winning are currently 24,500 to 1, so while it can be a fun way to save, it’s unlikely to offer you a regular income – here’s when the draw is made each month, and how to check if you have won a prize.
When are Premium Bonds drawn?
The results of the latest Premium Bonds draw are usually accessible from the second day of the month, although this is pushed back if the month starts with a weekend or bank holiday.
However, the results themeslves are drawn on the first day of the month, and NS&I releases the details of the highest prize winners – anyone who has won more than £5,000 – at midnight.
You can see the list of August’s big winners here, with details including the winning bond number, area the holder lives, how much the winner is holding in Premium Bonds and which prize the bond has won.
If you hold bonds and want to check if you’ve won a prize in the latest monthly draw, you can use the NS&I online prize checker here from the second day of the month.
To check on your Bonds, you will need your unique holder’s number, which can be found on your bond record or by logging into your account on the NS&I website. It will have either nine of ten digits, or be an eight digit number with a letter at the end.
Prizes don’t carry a time limit, so you can claim as far back as the original 1957 draw.
However, according to MoneySavingExpert, as of November 2021 there were more than two million unclaimed Premium Bonds prizes, with a total value of almost £75 million.
To reduce the potential for leaving prizes unclaimed, Premium Bonds holders can opt to have them paid directly in their bank account or automatically reinvested into more Bonds.
NS&I says that almost nine in ten prizes are now paid this way, and you can find out more details here.
Who won the August 2022 Premium Bonds?
The first winning bond, 469BR534389, was bought in August 2021 by someone from Dorset, who holds £45,000 in Premium Bonds – they are the 11th winner from the county.
August’s second top prize winner comes from Buckinghamshire, and holds £22,875 in Bonds. Their winning Bond carries the number 155HJ070561, and was purchased in April 2009.
A total of 4,851,791 prizes were paid out in the August draw, which carry a combined value of £138,680,375 and were drawn from a total of 118,868,883,242 eligible numbers.
As well as the two £1m bonds, there are 10 winners of £100,000, 19 of £50,000, 40 of £25,000, 100 worth £10,000 and 197 valued at £5,000.
The total paid out by National Savings and Investments (NS&I) in the 65 years since the very first draw in June 1957 now stands at £23.2bn, from 577 million prizes.
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 on 08085 007 007, from 7.00am to 10.00pm every day. You’ll need to have your debit card details ready.
Alternatively, you can apply by post at NS&I, Sunderland SR43 2SB, using an application form that you can find and print here.
Each Bond is £1, but you need to pay in a minimum of £25 for each investment. The maximum amount you can hold in Premium Bonds is £50,000.
If you think there is a chance that you could have Premium Bonds, but you are not sure, there is a tracking service on the NS&I website.
To check if you have any bonds you need to fill out a form with your personal details and send it off. If you do have Premium Bonds, then you will be contacted.