Two lucky savers from Norwich and Cumbria have woken up as millionaires after hitting the jackpot in November’s NS&I premium bonds draw.
Both prize winners purchased their bonds back in 2010, but is this the luckiest year for savers?
Here, we explain who has won the £1m jackpot in November, and analyse whether newer bonds are actually more likely to win the big prizes.
Who won this month’s NS&I premium bonds draw?
Each month, ‘ERNIE’ – NS&I’s computer – generates two random numbers that are then matched against eligible bond numbers to determine the winners. This month, ERNIE has made millionaires in Norwich and Cumbria.
The good news for smaller savers is that both premium bond holders have considerably less than the £50,000 maximum.
The Cumbria winner (bond number 168TK729554) holds a total of £26,600, while the Norwich winner (176LR488412) has just £10,600 saved in premium bonds.
Overall, a whopping 3.1m prizes worth £97.6m were handed out in November’s draw.
This means that more than £20bn of prizes have now been awarded since the very first premium bonds draw, which was back in 1957.
- Find out more: premium bonds
Is 2010 the luckiest year for winners?
Both of this month’s winners bought their bonds fairly recently, in May and December 2010 – but our research shows it’s actually 2015 that’s been the ‘luckiest’ year so far.
Of the last 100 million-pound winners (going back to the November 2015 prize draw), 12 bought their bonds in 2015.
2010 and 2016 come joint second, with nine jackpot-winning bonds purchased in each year.
Are newer bonds more likely to win?
From the above figures, you might think that newer bonds get picked more often – and they do – but you don’t need to worry about any foul play.
NS&I says that just over three-quarters of the 80.6bn premium bonds were bought between 2010 and 2019.
So, why have bonds become more popular in the past decade? One of the reasons is that the amount you can hold has increased significantly, rising to £30,000 in 2014 and then £50,000 in 2015.
As NS&I is backed by the Treasury, it means 100% of your original investment is safe and you can get it back at any time.
Couple this with recent years’ low interest on savings accounts, and it’s easy to see why people are happy to take their chances with premium bonds.
It’s absolutely still possible to win with an older bond; all bonds are eligible for each month’s prize draw, regardless of their date of issue.
In July, a saver from County Durham hit the jackpot with a bond purchased in November 1956. Remarkably, it was purchased in the first few days that bonds became available.
- Find out more: what is National Savings & Investments?
How big are the premium bond prizes?
Premium bonds offer the dream of becoming a millionaire, but there are some fairly substantial consolation prizes on offer, too.
In this month’s draw, six winners scooped £100,000, while a further 11 won £50,000.
The vast majority of prizes (98%) are of £25, with more than 3.5 million savers set to enjoy a round of drinks on NS&I this weekend.
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What are your chances of winning?
As we mentioned, the NS&I’s computer ERNIE generates the winning bond numbers at random each month.
The likelihood of any individual bond winning a prize in the space of a year is 24,500 to 1 – and your chances of winning increase with each bond you purchase.
The chart below shows that if you have £10,000 in premium bonds, you’re 99.9% likely to win one of the above prizes at least once in the space of 12 months.
If you’ve got £1,000 in savings, however, your chances are a little less than one in two.
It’s worth bearing in mind that winning a premium bonds prize is not guaranteed, and you might find that you don’t win anything. As your cash won’t be earning any interest, this means it could be eroded by the effect of inflation over time.
Video: are premium bonds worth buying?
To find out more about saving with NS&I, check out our full guide on premium bonds and watch our 90-second video on the basics below.