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Premium bond winners in November: could you have a prize without knowing it?

NS&I says there's almost £73.5m in unclaimed prizes

Premium bond winners in November: could you have a prize without knowing it?

Two lucky premium bond holders have become millionaires in NS&I’s November prize draw, taking place on premium bonds’ 65th anniversary.

Both of the jackpot winners are from Bristol, and will each receive the top prize of £1m. Six other winners were picked for the next-best prize of £100,000.

While millions of premium bond holders eagerly check to see if they’ve won a prize every month, some could have prizes waiting for them without realising it. At its latest count, NS&I told us there were more than 2m unclaimed premium bonds prizes that hadn’t yet been matched up to their winners, totalling almost £73.5m.

Here, Which? reveals the winning bond numbers, and how to find out if you have an unclaimed prize.


November’s  2021 premium bond prize winners

This month, the two £1m jackpot prizes went to premium bond holders living in Bristol.

The first winner bought their winning bond (332GB855665) in June 2018 as part of an overall holding of £38,000.

The second winning bond (209DZ100774) was purchased as part of a £25,004 overall holding back in July 2013.

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How many winners were drawn in November?

There were 3,304,532 premium bond prizes in the November draw, worth a total of £95,005,275. Of these, 3,296,727 were worth £100 or less.

Value of prize Number of prizes
£1,000,000 2
£100,000 6
£50,000 10
£25,000 22
£10,000 55
£5,000 110
£1,000 1,900
£500 5,700
£100 30,871
£50 30,871
£25 3,234,985

Source: NS&I

What causes unclaimed prizes?

Each time you win a premium bonds prize, NS&I will contact you by letter or email.

However, these alerts can get lost – if you move house, or change your email address without updating your NS&I account, for instance. If your prize isn’t claimed within 18 months, it’s recorded as being unclaimed.

This won’t happen if you’ve opted to automatically receive your prizes via bank transfer or reinvestment – but anyone who receives their prizes by cheque might want to find out if there’s anything they’ve missed.

Where are the most unclaimed prizes in the UK?

According to the latest NS&I data, which goes back up to and including the March 2020 prize draw, more than 2m premium bonds prizes are counted as being unclaimed.

Premium bond holders who live, or lived, in London seem to be most likely to have an unclaimed premium bonds prize, accounting for 19% of all unclaimed prizes.

The table below shows how unclaimed prizes are spread out across the UK and overseas, using data from NS&I.

Region Number of unclaimed prizes
Northern Ireland 26,039
North East England 49,057
Wales 81,056
East Midlands 99,177
Yorkshire and the Humber 107,942
Scotland 118,091
West Midlands 125,863
South West England 162,666
North West England 181,422
East England 182,694
Unknown/Overseas 213,666
South East England 314,863
London 379,332

It broadly follows that the more premium bond holders there are in each area, the more unclaimed prizes there are.

For instance, we know that south-east England is home to the most premium bond holders, so it makes sense that this is where 15% of unclaimed prizes are registered to.

This isn’t the case with London, though. Instead, there may be more unclaimed prizes here due to the fact that people are more likely to rent and move home more often, therefore making it more likely that they haven’t kept NS&I up-to-date with their current address.

What are the unclaimed premium bond prizes worth?

As you might expect, the majority of unclaimed premium bond prizes – almost 1.5m – are worth £25, as that is the most commonly-won prize.

While it’s always nice to be reunited with money you didn’t know you had (as anyone who’s ever found a stray £10 note in a jacket pocket will know), £25 won’t change your life. But some premium bond holders are missing out on much bigger sums.

There are 37 unclaimed prizes worth £10,000; nine prize winners missing out on £25,000; another nine missing out on £50,000. Most alarmingly, there are five premium bond holders who would be £100,000 richer if they checked for an unclaimed prize.

Interestingly, several premium bond holders with these large unclaimed prizes have very small amounts invested. One of those with an unclaimed £100,000 prize lives in London, and has a total holding of just £25; another lives in Scotland with a holding of £10; another is from the West Midlands with just £14 saved.

Someone in Wales, who has £3 invested in premium bonds has a £25,000 prize they don’t know about yet.

It might be that these premium bond holders think it’s not worth checking for winnings, as they have little likelihood of winning a prize – but it just goes to show that you don’t always have to have £50,000 invested to win big. 
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How to check for unclaimed premium bonds prizes

If you think you might have missed out on a premium bonds prize, there are a few ways you can check.

If you’re registered for online and telephone banking with NS&I, you can call or use its online chat service to request someone to look for any unclaimed prizes.

NS&I also has an online prize checker tool, which works on its website and mobile app. To use it, you’ll need to know your holder’s number. This should be on previous correspondence you’ve received about your premium bonds. It will either be nine or 10 digits long, or eight digits followed by a letter.

You can also find your number by logging in to the NS&I website. Here, you should also be able to see your prize history – so you can check for any you might have missed.

Finally, you can write to NS&I to ask about a missing prize. You’ll need to include your name, holder’s number and current address, as well as any previous names or addresses your premium bonds might have been registered to. You should also include your signature.

You should send this letter to: NS&I, Sunderland, SR43 2SB.

Please note that the information in this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute advice. Please refer to the particular terms & conditions of a provider before committing to any financial products.

Categories: Money, Savings & Isas

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