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News.

3 May 2022

Premium bond winners in May: could you have a prize you don’t know about?

NS&I says there’s nearly £78m in unclaimed prizes

Two lucky premium bond holders have become millionaires after winning the jackpot prizes in NS&I's May draw.

The £1m winners are from Greater Manchester and Wandsworth. Meanwhile, six other winners were picked for the next-best prize of £100,000.

Here, Which? reveals the jackpot-winning premium bond numbers, and looks at how many unclaimed prizes are waiting to be reunited with their rightful owners.

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May 2022 premium bond prize winners

The first winning bond (281HY160082) was purchased by the lucky winner living in Greater Manchester in September 2016, as part of a £50,000 total holding. 

The winner living in Wandsworth purchased their winning bond (092QC393046) in June 2003, and has a total holding of £49,000.

How many winners were drawn in May?

There were 3,415,068 premium bond prizes in the May draw, worth a total of £98,183,175. Of these, 3,406,999 were worth £100 or less.  

Value of prizeNumber of prizes
£1,000,0002
£100,0006
£50,00011
£25,00024
£10,000 58
£5,000116
£1,0001,963

Source: NS&I

Why do unclaimed premium bonds prizes exist?

Many premium bonds holders wait impatiently to find out whether they’ve won a prize in each month’s prize draw, so it can be hard to imagine how so many prizes can be unclaimed. 

‘We contact everyone when they win a Premium Bonds prize, but sometimes the good news doesn’t reach our winners,’ explains NS&I retail director, Jill Waters. 

‘This could be because customers have moved and haven’t updated their address, or because customers have changed some of their personal details, such as their name or the bank account that they use. Prize cheques can also go missing in the post.’

You’re unlikely to have an unclaimed prize 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, more than 2.1m premium bonds prizes are counted as being unclaimed. 

Premium bond holders who live - or used to live - in London account for more than 389,000 unclaimed prizes; that’s 18% of all unclaimed prizes. 

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

AreaNumber of unclaimed prizes
Northern Ireland26,662
North East50,961
Wales84,498
East Midlands 103,029
Yorkshire and the Humber112,186
Scotland121,260
West Midlands131,417

The location of unclaimed prizes broadly follows the rule that the more premium bond holders there are in each area, the more unclaimed prizes there are. 

For instance, we know 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. 

London and overseas premium bond holders are outliers, though. There may be more unclaimed prizes registered in London 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. Similarly, those who live overseas may be more difficult to reach when there’s news of a premium bonds prize.

What are the unclaimed prizes worth?

As you’d expect, the vast majority of unclaimed prizes are worth £25, as this is the most common prize value. NS&I says there are more than 1.6m unclaimed £25 prizes - some of which might well belong to the same premium bonds holder.

There aren’t currently any £1m jackpot prizes that have been left unclaimed - but there are five premium bond holders who are yet to receive the £100,000 prize that’s still waiting for them.

There are also eight lucky winners of the £50,000 prize that has been left unclaimed. 

The table below shows the latest count of unclaimed prizes, by value - using data from NS&I:

Prize valueNumber of unclaimed prizes
£100,0005
£50,0008
£25,00010
£10,00038
£5,00068
£1,0001,523
£5004,701

The £250 premium bond prizes were issued between 1957 and 1974, and are no longer available, but there are still a small number of these unclaimed prizes.

How to check for unclaimed premium bonds prizes

There are a few ways to check for an unclaimed prize.

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 or your NS&I number. 

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.