NS&I has urged premium bond holders to check their numbers to see if they are one of the 898,000 with an unclaimed prize. The total amount outstanding is £44m.
Prizes stay unclaimed for years
NS&I has launched a campaign to encourage premium bond holders to check their eligibility as the amount of unclaimed prize money reached £44m (up from £43m in December 2012).
Premium bond prizes have no time limit and some of the outstanding numbers go back to the 1960s. The oldest unclaimed prize dates from 1957, the year after premium bonds were first launched.
There is a premium bond prize checker on the NS&I website that bond holders can use to check their numbers.The biggest prize NS&I offers each month is £1m.
In a typical month there are also five prizes of £100,000, nine prizes of £50,000 and 18 prizes of £25,000. Most prizes are smaller, but awarded in large numbers. There are 1.5m prizes of £25 awarded each month.
Tax-free saving opportunity
Premium bonds are a popular way of keeping money safe, with NS&I enjoying a 100% government guarantee. Our comprehensive guide can give you advice on the safety of your savings.
It’s important to note that, unlike savings accounts, premium bonds don’t pay interest on the amount you have invested.
Any return is in the form of prizes, generated from a fund which is currently paying 1.5%. The minimum investment is currently £100 and the maximum £30,000. Your chances of a win are estimated to be around 24,000 to 1.
A big attraction of premium bonds is that any prize you win is completely tax free. Bonds can be held by anyone aged over 16 and relatives can invest in bonds on behalf of children.