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3 Aug 2020

Premium bond winners in August: are newer bonds luckier?

Find out how often those with newer premium bonds become millionaires

Two lucky premium bond holders have just become millionaires in NS&I's premium bonds August prize draw.

The £1m jackpot prizes went to savers in Cumbria and Outer London, while seven other winners received the next-best prize of £100,000.

Last month saw a man from Tyne and Wear win the top prize after the bonds he bought in May were entered into the draw for the first time - but are newer bonds luckier?

Here, Which? reveals the winning bond numbers and looks at whether newer bonds are more likely to be picked for the jackpot prizes.

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August 2020 premium bond winners

The first winner of August's prize draw is a woman from Cumbria with the bond number 174SW09538. She purchased the winning number in November 2010 and has £5,900 in premium bonds.

The second winner is a man from Outer London who secured the top prize with the bond number 332BQ973008. The winning bond was purchased in June 2018 and form part of a £20,300 total pot.

How many winners were drawn in August?

There were 3,782,170 prizes given out in the August draw, worth a total of £108,107,000. Of these, 3,773,268 were worth £100 or less.

The table below shows the full breakdown of prizes:

Value of prizeNumber of prizes

NS&I recently revealed some dramatic changes to its net financing target, which has increased from £6bn to £35bn for the 2020-21 tax year. This target is set by HM Treasury.

Unlike a bank, NS&I provides a source of funds for government borrowing - which is why all money you save is 100% backed by the Treasury. In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, the UK government needs more money - much more money - from savers, hence the huge change to NS&I's target.

This is potentially good news for savers; as NS&I will be wanting to attract more money to fund government spending, we're unlikely to see any reductions in terms of premium bond prizes.

In fact, it's possible that NS&I could decide to make premium bonds even more attractive - perhaps with more prizes or an even more reduced minimum buy-in.

Which is the 'luckiest' year for premium bonds?

Despite premium bonds being around since 1956, only four of the last 146 jackpot-winning premium bonds (since June 2014) were purchased before the year 2000; two winners bought their premium bonds just this year.

However, according to our analysis it seems that the 'luckiest' years for buying premium bonds are 2014 and 2015, with 14 and 15 winners respectively. Bonds bought in 2010, 2012 and 2016 have all resulted in 11 jackpot winners.

The graph below shows how many £1m jackpot prizes have been won with bonds purchased in the past 20 years.

Are newer bonds really luckier?

So, why is it that bonds bought more recently seem to win more? Put simply, there's more of them.

In 2014, the maximum amount of premium bonds you could hold was increased to £30,000 and jumped again in 2015 to £50,000 - the current investment limit.

Premium bonds have also opened up to a wider audience. In February 2018, the minimum investment amount was reduced from £100 to £25, so premium bonds have become a viable option to those who don't necessarily have a lot of money to save.

As for the draw itself, it's completely random. NS&I's special computer, affectionately known as ERNIE (Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment) generates random numbers, which are then matched up against the corresponding premium bond numbers.

The random nature of the draw is why some people will find they regularly win prizes, while others won't win anything at all.