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Five little-known facts about Premium Bonds: A £17 jackpot winner and child millionaires

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak
Posted:
Updated:
06/04/2023

Premium Bonds are the nation’s favourite savings product, with more than 22 million of us holding them. But here are five interesting facts you probably didn’t know about them.

Premium Bonds are issued by the Government’s savings arm NS&I, with prizes free of UK income tax and capital gains tax.

Your money doesn’t earn any interest but each £1 bond is entered into a monthly prize draw where you can win between £25 and £1m, or nothing at all as the odds of winning stands at 24,000-to-one.

Instead, the interest that should be paid (3.3%, essentially a benchmark of the ‘average’ return you’ll get on your money) is used to fund a monthly prize draw. It can also be seen as a comparison of how it sits against normal savings accounts.

While there’s no guarantee you’ll win, 22.4 million Brits love them, as they flirt with the idea that they could win the life-changing £1m jackpot with a minimum £25 and maximum £50,000 investment. Each £1 saved gets you a unique bond number which is entered into the monthly draw.

You may think you know Premium Bonds, but here are five facts you probably weren’t aware of:

1) Saver with just £17 scooped £1m…and waited 45 years

A lucky – and very patient – saver from Newham, London, holds two Premium Bonds records in having both the lowest value holding and waiting the longest for the life-changing £1m jackpot.

The winning bond was bought in February 1959, with the total value of holdings standing at just £17.

Their bond came up in July 2004, meaning they waited more than 16,500 days for the news – that’s over 45 years.

A total of 10 people with each below £1,000 of holdings have won the coveted £1m prize.

2) £1m won in the first eligible draw

The rules mean you have to hold Premium Bonds for a full calendar month before you’re eligible for the prize draw. As an example, if you bought Premium Bonds between today and the end of April, you would be eligible for the June 2023 draw. And for 12 lucky winners, they triumphed in the first round.

This includes a saver from Gloucestershire who held £1,026, buying the winning bond in October 1995 which won in the December 1995 draw – just 61 days later.

The most recent ‘quick’ winner was a bond holder from Tyne and Wear who bought the winning number in May 2020 and scooped the £1m prize in July 2020 with a total holding of £35,000.

3) Child millionaires

Premium Bonds can be opened for children under the age of 16, with family members also able to buy them as a gift for little ones.

And so far, seven children have become millionaires overnight. With one winning in 2013, two in 2014, one in 2017, 2019 and two in 2020.

See YourMoney.com’s guide: Kids can win £1m too: A parent’s guide to buying Premium Bonds.

4) Big prizes left unclaimed

When it comes to winning, your money will be paid into your nominated account or reinvested, as per your instructions to NS&I.

But for the big £1m jackpot winners, Agent Million calls. They’ll actually come to your door to deliver the news which is why it’s so important to keep your contact details up-to-date.

Agent Million has been delivering the good news to savers since the £1m jackpot was introduced in April 1994.

However, other high level wins aren’t announced in this way. And there are currently five £100,000 prizes that remain unclaimed – won between February 2007 and June 2013:

Meanwhile, some of the oldest unclaimed prizes date back to 1957, when Premium Bonds were first launched:

5) The best or most memorable reaction to Agent Million’s visit

There have been around 20 Agents Million since the £1m jackpot was introduced in 1994, with there currently being five on the books, delivering the news to two lucky winners each month.

NS&I tells us that Agents Million all work at the firm and it is not a full-time role so they take it in turns visiting winners, and also means there aren’t any pesky holiday leave clashes.

In one memory shared by an Agent Million, they said: “I have had everything from tears, to hugs, to jumping up and down in sheer joy – of course, there’s been a few choice words from some winners over the years too.

“On one occasion, a jackpot winner was so excited that I had to step in front of them to stop them running out of their front door and broadcasting their win to the whole street. This one really stands out for me because the person was so elated by the win that their natural reaction was to shout about their win to the neighbours.

“We always encourage jackpot winners to keep the news to themselves for a little while whilst they process the win.”