2.6 million Premium Bond prizes are still going unclaimed

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NS&I Premium Bonds offer savers the chance to win extra cash, tax-free, every month through randomly generated prize draws. However, a number of lucky bondholders might be missing out on their winnings, as there are approximately just over 2.6 million Premium Bonds prizes worth more than £88.8million collectively going unclaimed, an NS&I spokesperson has said.

Winners are usually notified when they win a Premium Bonds prize, however, some people may move or change their contact details without updating NS&I, which can lead to unclaimed prizes. Especially those who opt to receive prizes via cheque.

Taking January’s million-pound winners’ locations, there are currently 20,225 unclaimed prizes worth £617,125 from Bondholders in South Yorkshire.

According to NS&I, the largest unclaimed prize is £10,000 and is from the September 2019 prize draw. The oldest unclaimed prize in South Yorkshire is from November 1957 with a value of £25.

In Wiltshire, where the second million-pound winner is based, there are 20,587 unclaimed prizes with a total value of £604,475 in this area alone. The largest unclaimed prize is £5,000 and is from the October 2014 prize draw. The oldest unclaimed prize is from February 1961 and is worth £25.

Premium Bonds prize checker

The quickest and easiest way Premium Bonds holders can check to see if they’ve won a prize in the draw is by using the NS&I official prize checking tool, or their Alexa-enabled device.

Savers will need their Premium Bonds holder’s number to use the website and their NS&I number or holder’s number to check via the prize checker app. At the same time, they can also check for any unclaimed prizes owed to them.

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However, the best way to ensure prizes are claimed is for savers to opt to have them paid directly into their bank account or automatically reinvested into more Premium Bonds, according to NS&I.

The NS&I spokesperson said: “Customers can choose to have their prizes paid directly to their bank account, which reduces the number of prizes that go unclaimed and means they can benefit from their wins more quickly.

“More than nine in 10 prizes are now paid directly to customers’ bank accounts or automatically reinvested into more Bonds.”

Savers can find out how to change the way they receive their prizes by visiting the NS&I webpage, here.

How do Premium Bonds prizes work?

To win prizes, savers must buy Premium Bonds and each investment must be at least £25. These can be bought online through the NS&I website, over the phone, or by post.

Prizes are then generated at random during a prize draw at the start of every month.

Prizes are split into three value bands – higher, medium, and lower – and each band receives a percentage share of the monthly prize fund.

Prizes in the higher band range from £1million (only two of these can be won) to £5,000, while the medium and lower bands afford people the chance to win between £1,000 and £500, and £100 and £25, respectively.

The prize fund rate was increased at the start of January from 2.2 percent to three percent, adding an extra £80million to the prize pot and more chances to win.

The odds have remained fixed at 24,000 to one, with the changes meaning that customers simply have more opportunities each month to win high-value prizes, with more than three times as many prizes worth £100,000, £50,000, £25,000, £10,000 and £5,000 now available.

But, while every bond has an equal chance of winning, NS&I say the more bonds people have, the higher their chances are of securing the jackpot.

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