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1 May 2020

Premium bond winners May 2020: could you have a surprise unclaimed prize?

NS&I has reversed its decision to cut the number of premium bonds prizes

Two lucky premium bond winners have secured the £1m jackpot in NS&I's latest monthly prize draw.

The two top £1m prizes went to savers in Inner London and Gloucestershire, while six other lucky winners received £100,000.

Many savers will be pleased to know that NS&I has reversed its decision to cut the number of premium bonds prizes on offer. Its original plan was to introduce the prize reduction from this month.

Here, Which? reveals the winning bond numbers, why NS&I has changed its plans on premium bonds, and how to check whether you've got an unclaimed prize.

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May 2020 premium bond winners

This month, the two £1m jackpot prizes were won by premium bond holders living in Inner London and Gloucestershire.

The Inner London winner is a man who currently has the maximum holding of £50,000 saved. His winning bond number (344ZE146007) was purchased in November 2018. He's the fifth premium bonds jackpot winner from Inner London.

A woman from Gloucester won the second jackpot prize. Her winning bond number (366AP817645) was part of her total holding of £34,000, and she bought the bond in August 2019. She is Gloucestershire's seventh premium bonds millionaire.

How many winners were drawn in May?

There were 3,578,134 prizes given out in the May draw, worth £102,274,950. Of these, 3,569,726 were worth £100 or less.

The table below shows the full breakdown of prizes:

Value of prizeNumber of prizes
£1,000,0002
£100,0006
£50,00013
£25,00025
£10,00062
£5,000124
£1,0002,044

Why has NS&I reversed plans to cut premium bonds prizes?

On 17 April, NS&I announced it would no longer be implementing planned changes to reduce the number of premium bonds prizes up for grabs.

It said the decision was taken in order to help support the thousands of NS&I savers who may be struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Two months earlier, on 17 February, it had said it would be cutting prize numbers by more than 170,000.

While there would still have been around 3.3m prizes, this change would have been enough to change the odds of winning a prize over the course of a year from 24,500 to 1, to 26,000 to 1, reducing the overall premium bonds annual 'rate' from 1.4% to 1.3%.

This is not a rate of interest, as cash held in premium bonds doesn't receive any interest, but rather the overall average growth received by all money held in premium bonds. That takes in the few people who win £1m, and the many thousands who receive nothing at all.

Other changes to its variable rate savings products have also been cancelled, but cuts to fixed-term accounts are going ahead.

Could you be a premium bonds prize winner without knowing it?

According to NS&I figures, there are currently more than 1.7m premium bonds prizes worth over £65m that are sat waiting to be claimed by their rightful owners.

Winners are notified each month if they've won a prize, but that may not have been possible in cases where people have changed their contact details or moved house without notifying NS&I. Prizes won by children are also often forgotten.

You can check to see whether you have any prizes to claim online, or using the NS&I prize checker app. You'll need your personal details and NS&I holder's number.

Another way to prevent prizes going missing is to opt for any winnings to be paid directly into your bank account.

The Which? Money podcast: are premium bonds worth it?

Last July, our experts on the Which? Money podcast debated whether premium bonds were really worth investing in.

You can listen to the episode below, or check it out on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.