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1 Feb 2021

Premium bond winners in February 2021: how much do you need to save to win a prize?

Premium bond holders can invest up to a maximum of £50,000

Two lucky premium bonds holders have won a £1m jackpot in NS&I's February 2021 prize draw.

The millionaires are from Inner London and North Yorkshire, while five other winners secured the next-best prize of £100,000.

Here, Which? reveals the winning bond numbers, while taking a look at whether you need to save more to win a prize following NS&I's reduction to the prize fund in December 2020.

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February 2021 premium bond prize winners

This month, the two £1m prizes went to premium bond holders in Inner London and North Yorkshire.

The Inner London winner is a man who purchased his winning bond (398WP403111) in June 2020. He has a total of £50,000 invested in premium bonds.

The second winner is a man from North Yorkshire. His winning bond (304HM348661) was bought in June 2017 as part of an overall holding of £50,000.

How many winners were drawn in February?

There were 2,960,195 prizes given out in February's prize draw, worth a total of £85,105,550. Of these, 2,953,218 were worth £100 or less.

The table below shows the full breakdown of prizes:

Value of prizeNumber of prizes

Source: NS&I

Could NS&I add prizes to reach its funding target?

According to provisional data, £9.5bn was withdrawn from NS&I between October and December 2020, bringing it below the funding target the government had set for the organisation earlier in the year.

NS&I is a government department and an executive agency of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, offering several government-backed savings products which, in turn, provide funding for the government.

It receives a funding target each year and thanks to the increased government spending brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, the target for 2020-21 target was massively increased from £6bn to £35bn.

However, since NS&I's rates were so much more generous than most other providers throughout most of 2020, savers flocked to the provider and it exceeded its target.

As a result, in December 2020, NS&I cut nearly £30m-worth of prizes from its monthly prize draw, and also made sweeping cuts to its savings products.

But, if savers continue to pull their money at the same rate, it could be that NS&I will have to make its offering more attractive again - one easy way to do that would be to increase premium bond prizes once more.

What is the premium bond prize rate?

The current 'prize rate' for premium bonds is currently 1% - down from 1.4% following the reduction to the prize draw.

It's important to note that this is not an interest rate. Money held in premium bonds does not receive interest; the only way your savings will grow is if you're lucky enough to win a prize. Instead, this rate describes the collective growth of the millions of premium bonds, evening out those who win £1m, and those who win nothing at all.

How much do you need to win a premium bonds prize?

Premium bond winners are picked at random each month, by NS&I's random number generator called ERNIE (Electric Random Number Indicator Equipment). As such, any £1 bond entered into the draw has as good a chance as any of being picked - no matter how much you have saved.

But, of course, having 50,000 numbers in the draw gives you much more of a chance of getting chosen than, say 100.

According to the online tool from premiumbondcalculator.com, with average luck you need to have at least £2,000 in premium bonds to win £25 over the course of a year, with a probability of 50.1%.

If you bump it up to £10,000, it says you could win £75 over a year, with a 96.9% chance of winning £25 or more.

With a maximum holding of £50,000, the calculator says you could expect to win around £450 over the course of one year, with a virtual certainty of winning £100 or more. As for winning £1m, your chances of hitting the jackpot are just 0.00121%.

But this is all just based on probability - it's also quite likely you'll win nothing at all. Or, you could win £1m (but, mathematically speaking, you probably won't).

Has anyone won £1m with less than £1,000?

Despite your chances of winning a prize increasing with the more you save and the longer you save it for, each £1 bond has exactly the same chance of being drawn as any other - so you can win big with a small amount of savings.

In March 2020, a man from Cambridgeshire won the £1m jackpot from a total bond holding of just £25, which he invested in July 2018. In January 2015, a woman from Leeds won the jackpot and had £400 in premium bonds.

But these wins are in the minority. Looking at jackpot winners since 2014, one in five had the full £50,000 invested; nine in 10 had savings of £10,000 or more.