The new decade has started with a bang for two lucky premium bond holders who scooped the jackpot in NS&I’s latest prize draw.
The two top prizes of £1m went to one saver in Hertfordshire and one in Cheshire East, while six other winners have begun their 2020 £100,000 richer.
Here, we reveal the winning bond numbers picked in January, and take a look back at some of the most notable prize draw results in 2019.
January 2020 premium bond winners
This month, the two £1m jackpot prizes were won by bond holders in Hertfordshire and Cheshire East.
The Hertfordshire winner had £40,000 invested and bought his winning bond (244DT242763) in April 2015. During 2019, an incredible three out of the 24 jackpot winners were also from Hertfordshire.
The saver in Cheshire East becomes the ninth jackpot winner from the area. She bought her winning bond (278CW859665) in August 2016, and had the maximum of £50,000 invested.
More than 3.4m prizes were given out in January’s draw, but more than 90% of these were £100 or less.
The table below shows the full breakdown of prizes.
|Value of prize||Number of prizes in January’s draw|
How premium bonds work
Unlike traditional savings accounts, premium bonds don’t pay interest.
Instead, every £1 you save buys a unique bond number with a separate and equal chance of winning in the monthly draw, where prizes range from £25 to £1m and are paid tax-free.
In 2019 NS&I reduced the minimum investment for premium bonds to £25 from £100. You can save up to £50,000, and this money is 100% secure, as NS&I is backed by the Treasury.
While there’s no risk of loss, there’s no guarantee of any return either. This means they’re not a good option if you want to generate a reliable income from your savings.
Landing a prize is essentially a lottery, so you’ll only win big if you’re very lucky – and you might not win at all.
- Find out more: are my savings safe?
What are your chances of winning a premium bond prize?
Each month NS&I’s computer ‘ERNIE’ (short for Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment) generates random numbers that are then matched against eligible bond numbers to determine the winners.
The likelihood of any individual bond winning a prize is 24,500 to 1. The more bonds you buy, the better your chances of winning.
If you have £10,000 in premium bonds, you’re almost guaranteed to win a prize at least once over the course of 12 months.
But the amount you win could pale in comparison to your deposit.
If you hold the maximum £50,000, for example, winning two £25 prizes in a year would equate to a return of just 0.1%.
If you have bonds worth £1,000 or less, your chances of winning anything are much lower.
- Find out more: what is NS&I?
Premium bond prizes in 2019
While the less you hold, the less likely you are to win, 2019 saw some notable exceptions.
In January, a winner from Northern Ireland scooped the second-highest prize of £100,000 with just £2,000 invested, while a saver in Kent won £10,000 with just £100 invested.
In June’s draw, £50,000 went to a saver in Surrey who held just £30.
While it might seem that newer bonds win more often, all bonds are eligible for each month’s prize draw, regardless of their date of issue.
Several longstanding bond holders enjoyed big wins in 2019.
In January, a saver who’d bought their bond in 1964 won £5,000, while an East Sussex resident who had held premium bonds since they first became available in 1956 became a millionaire in NS&I’s July prize draw.
Throughout 2019, a total of 39,863,020 prizes were given away, which equated to a prize fund of more than £1.1bn.
- Find out more: how to find the best savings account