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October premium bond winners 2018: should you buy premium bonds for children?

Find out who's won the £1m prize draw and whether it's worth getting premium bonds as gifts for kids

Two lucky premium bonds holders have become millionaires overnight in the latest NS&I prize draw, but if you were thinking of buying some for your children or grandchildren, you might want to think twice. Which? analysis has found under 16s have the worst luck when it comes to winning the coveted £1m jackpot.

Premium bonds can be bought as a gift for children by parents, legal guardians, grandparents and great-grandparents. Given that October is a popular time for birthdays and we’re getting closer to Christmas you might be considering investing in some as presents for your loved ones.

But Which? analysis has found that just five children under 16 have won the £1m jackpot in the past decade, and it’s actually those over 40 that are raking in the top prize most often.

Here we reveal this month’s lucky £1m jackpot winners, take a closer at which age group has been the luckiest over the last 10 years and if it’s worth buying premium bonds for children.

October’s premium bond winners

The first £1m winner from October’s premium bond prize draw is a man from inner London who purchased his winning bond (267FW537456) in February 2016 and currently has the maximum £50,000 invested.

The second jackpot winner is another man, this time from Dorset, who has won the £1m jackpot with a bond (173HT264915) gained from a £25 prize that was won in October 2010’s draw and reinvested into his premium bonds account. In total, he has £19,275 invested.

More than three million other prizes were given out this month, but over 90% of them were for £500 or less. You can see the full breakdown of prizes for the October draw in the table below.

Value of prize Number of prizes
£1,00,000 2
£100,000 5
£50,000 10
£25,000 20
£10,000 49
£5,000 99
£1,000 1,795
£500 5,385
£100 24,622
£50 24,622
£25 3,083,096

NS&I was unable to tell us the age of the latest winners as it could be used to identify them. But Which? has delved into the data for past winners over the last decade to see if your date of birth gives you a better chance of scooping the £1m jackpot.

Adults vs children: the luckiest age groups

Over the last 10 years, there have been 176 premium bond £1m jackpot winners.

Those aged 60-69 have been the luckiest over this period making up over a quarter of the £1m winners (48), according to NS&I.

Premium bond owners in the 70-79 age bracket were close behind – making up just over a fifth (37) of the lucky millionaires, followed by those aged 80 and over who racked up 35 jackpot wins in the last decade.

In contrast, and despite premium bonds being a popular gift for children, just five children have won the £1m jackpot in the past 10 years. These mini-millionaires were aged just 3, 9, 11, 12 and 13 when their winning bond numbers came up.

Why are some age groups luckier?

Premium bonds are picked at random by Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment (or ERNIE for short) and each £1 bond has a separate and equal chance of winning.

So, the only way to improve your odds in the premium bonds prize draw each month is to buy more bonds, but NS&I told Which? just 3.7% of under 16s have premium bonds compared to 96.3% held by those over 16.

Children under 16 had the lowest amount invested, on average, compared to all other age ranges we looked at for adults, which goes much of the way to explaining why they’ve had fewer £1m wins.

Age range No. of £1m jackpot wins Average value of premium bond holdings
0-15 5 £1,389
16-19 1 £1,626
20-29 4 £2,114
30-39 6 £1,983
40-49 15 £10,871
50-59 25 £2,800
60-69 48 £5,714
70-79 37 £13,654
80+ 35 £15,836

Source: NS&I

What happens when a child wins a premium bonds prize?

When premium bonds are bought for a child, a parent or guardian must be nominated to be responsible for the bonds until the child’s 16th birthday when responsibility will be handed over to them.

If a child wins a premium bonds prize, whether it be £25 or £1m, the nominated parent or guardian will be notified and will get to decide what to do with the winnings and where they end up.

They may choose to reinvest the money into the child’s premium bond account or have the cash transferred to another account which can be in the child’s or nominated parent or guardian’s name.

How premium bonds work

Watch our quick video to find out how premium bonds work, the odds of winning and much more about the ‘nation’s favourite savings account’.

Is your child missing out on a premium bond prize?

NS&I says there are currently 135,448 unclaimed prizes held by customers who were under 16 at the time of winning and of these, 63,933 are still not old enough to take over their account.

This group have unclaimed prizes, ranging between £25 and £50,000, worth a total of more than an incredible £1.8m.

Prize value No. of unclaimed prizes for a child currently under 16
£25 59,359
£50 3,535
£100 936
£500 82
£1,000 18
£5,000 1
£10,000 1
£50,000 1
Total 63,933

Typically premium bond prizes only go unclaimed when NS&I is not kept up-to-date with important personal details, such as a change of home address.

But the good news is that premium bond winnings never expire, so there’s no time limit on claiming a prize.

You can track down lost premium bond prizes by getting in touch with NS&I online, via post or using the app (available on both iOS and Google Play) and providing some personal details to make a claim.

How to buy premium bonds for children

Parents, legal guardians, grandparents and great-grandparents can buy premium bonds as gifts for their child, grandchild or great-grandchild aged under 16.

NS&I told Which? it’s now a lot easier if you’re buying for a grandchild or great-grandchild as you can apply online as well as by post. Once you fill in a few details, you will be sent a gift card in the post or an e-gift card online to pass on to the child. Parents and legal guardians can apply online, by phone or by post.

You can invest from £100 up to £50,000 in total and must nominate a parent or guardian to manage the bonds. Confirmation of transactions, prizes and payment for cashed in bonds will be sent to the nominated parent or guardian.

Should you buy premium bonds for children?

Premium bonds don’t pay any interest. Instead, bonds are entered into a monthly draw for the chance to win tax-free prizes ranging from £25 up to £1m.

The odds of winning any prize in the premium bond prize draw are pretty slim at 24,500 to 1, and you could win nothing at all for as long as you have them.

So your cash could be better off in a Junior Isa or children’s savings account if you’re keen to build up a nest egg for them.

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