Two premium bond winners have taken home million-pound prizes this month. But more than 1.4m prizes remain unclaimed from the NS&I to date.
Winners from Wiltshire and Barnet were made millionaires today in the latest NS&I premium bonds prize draw. But not all winners step forward to claim their prizes – including five who are owed £100,000 each.
Which? looks at this month’s winners, examines the number of unclaimed prizes and explains how you can check whether you’re owed winnings.
Who won the £1m premium bonds jackpot?
Two women were chosen for the premium bonds £1 million prizes this month by the NS&I’s random number generator, Ernie.
One of the jackpot winners currently lives in Wiltshire, and this is the third time the county has struck it lucky in 2018. The Wiltshire winner holds £50,000 in premium bonds, including winning bond number 269AV661906.
The other jackpot winner hails from the London Borough of Barnet and holds £20,000 in premium bonds, with bond number 177KW885582 scooping the top prize.
More than three million other prizes were also awarded this month, and more than 74bn bonds were eligible for the draw. Every bond has an equal chance of winning, with bond numbers drawn at random.
- Find out more: how do premium bonds work?
How many prizes are unclaimed?
To date, over 1.4m prizes, worth more than £58.6m in total, have never been claimed. And among them are some eye-watering sums.
Five premium bond holders are entitled to a £100,000 prize, including one registered in Australia. These prize winners all hold relatively small amounts, suggesting they may have forgotten to check their winnings – or even forgotten they own premium bonds.
A further six £50,000 prizes remain unclaimed, as well as six worth £25,000.
Our table sets out the biggest unclaimed prizes currently recorded by the NS&I.
Some unclaimed prizes have languished for so long that it seems unlikely their winners will ever step forwards, including one £25 prize from the second year that premium bonds were offered, 1956.
Below are the 10 oldest premium bond prizes that are yet to be claimed, all of which have now been outstanding for more than half a century.
Are you owed an unclaimed prize?
If you hold any amount of premium bonds – even the current minimum investment of £100 – you should check to make sure you haven’t missed out on a prize.
To see if you’ve won:
- Use the prize checker on the NS&I website, which is updated by the second working day of each month. All you need is your bond holder’s number.
- Use the prize checker app (downloadable from the App Store and Google Play) to check your NS&I number.
- Write to the NS&I to request your prize history at NS&I, Glasgow G58 1SB. You’ll just need to include your name, address and NS&I number or bond holder’s number.
You can’t check winnings using only the bond number, or if you’ve lost all your documentation. In this case, you’ll need to write to the NS&I to request your Bond record – which should show all the information you’ll need.
But keep in mind that if you’ve won a million pounds, you’re likely to know about it already.
A representative from the NS&I, known as ‘Agent Million’, visits each jackpot winner in person before results are announced. If you’re lucky enough to hear a knock on your door, just make sure to ask for identification of anyone claiming to represent NS&I.
How to avoid missing out on prizes
If you register for online and phone service with NS&I, you can choose to have your winnings paid straight into your bank account. Prizes are deposited by the seventh working day of each month.
To use this option, the NS&I needs your current banking information, so make sure you update your details if you switch accounts.
Alternatively, the NS&I will send you a warrant, which is similar to a cheque. All warrants are sent within 10 working days, but may take a few more days to reach you.
You’ll also need to make sure the NS&I has the most up-to-date address details for you.
If you believe you’ve won a prize but you haven’t received it, you’ll need to contact the NS&I. Those who nominated to be paid directly into their bank account can call up the NS&I helpline on 0808 500 7007.
Alternatively, you can write to the NS&I by post to claim a prize. Make sure you include your NS&I number or bond holder’s number, the winning bond number, the amount you believe you’ve won and the month and year you won.
- Find out more: premium bonds