Four of the biggest myths about premium bonds – but is there any truth to them?

  • About 23 million people have NS&I premium bonds
  • The biggest myths range from old links being unlucky to Ernie not being random
  • We look to see if there is any truth behind the myths

Over the decades, many myths have emerged surrounding the Premium Bond Prize draw. About 23 million savers own the country’s best-loved savings product.

Bonds are tax-exempt, and unlike lottery-style drawings, you never lose your original stake.

While winning is not guaranteed, the monthly prize fund equates to a return of 4.65 percent (It decreases to 4.4 percent as of March 2024 after the latest reduction).

There are two coveted £1 million prizes each month, which is why many savers insist on premium bonds.

We look at some of the most common myths about premium bonds and ask National Savings & Investments if there’s any truth behind them.

Nearly 23 million savers call the National Savings and Investments Corporation home for their nest egg.  There are two £1 million prizes to be won in each monthly prize draw

Nearly 23 million savers call the National Savings and Investments Corporation home for their nest egg. There are two £1 million prizes to be won in each monthly prize draw

Myth 1: Only new bonds win prizes

It has become a popular myth that new premium bonds have a better chance of winning prizes than older bonds.

Some NS&I clients even wondered whether they should cash out their old premium bonds and buy new ones in the hope that would help them win the prize.

Savings experts say the key thing is not how long you hold bonds, but how much bonds you hold, as increasing the amount you hold can help boost your chances of winning a prize.

Premium Bond Winners

prize region Bond value
1,000,000 British pounds Dorset 5000 pounds sterling
1,000,000 British pounds Wandsworth 10,000 pounds sterling
£100,000 Brighton and Hove £4,745
£100,000 North East Scotland 10,000 pounds sterling
£100,000 Essex 25,000 pounds sterling
£100,000 cleveland £175
£100,000 Foreign London £20,000
£100,000 Inner London 1000 pounds sterling

More winners in February 2024

View the list of winners for February 2024

The reason newer bonds are more fortunate than older bonds is that more than 95 percent of eligible bonds were purchased since 2000.

Although premium bonds have been on sale for more than 60 years, this is why newer bonds frequently win.

An NS&I spokesman says: ‘Every £1 investor buys a unique bond number. Each number has a separate and equal chance each month of winning a prize, and the more bonds you buy, the greater your chances of winning.’

Myth 2: Some regions are luckier than others when it comes to prizes

One of the biggest myths regarding premium bonds is that areas located in the Southeast are the luckiest when it comes to winning prizes.

In the past 29 years, National Savings and Investments has created 512 Millionaire Premium Bonds.

Of these, 28 winners of the £1m jackpot are in Surrey, 23 in Kent and 22 in Essex.

Our analysis shows this Surrey, Kent and Essex account for 13 per cent of all Premium Bond jackpot winners since 1994.

NS&I insists that if it appears as though bondholders are winning more prizes in certain areas of the country, it is likely because there are more bondholders there than in other parts of the UK.

The South East is home to most UK bondholders.

“If it looks as if bondholders are winning more prizes in a particular area of ​​the country, it may be because there are more bonds held there than in other parts of the UK,” NS&I says.

Myth 3: You must have maximum retention to win

The maximum holding of Premium Bonds is £50,000, and some NS&I clients are convinced that you can only win the prize if you hold that amount of Premium Bonds.

in October, Our analysis revealed that half of the premium bond prizes of £1m, £100,000 and £50,000 were won by those with the maximum £50,000.

Buying more bonds may certainly help boost your odds of winning the prize, but if you have a smaller holding, it’s still entirely possible to win the prize.

The smallest jackpot amount ever won was £17, and this winner was based in Newham, London. While 12 people with £1,000 or less won the £1m jackpot, showing that smaller properties can still win big.

NS&I says: “In the three draws between August and October this year, people with possessions worth £50 or less won more than 29,000 prizes, including three who won high-value prizes of £10,000 or more.

“In the last draw (December 2023), an Essex jackpot winner received £14,600 worth of premium bonds.

“In the November prize draw, one West Mids jackpot winner has a £5,050 premium bond.

Myth 4: Ernie is not random

Ernie – which stands for Electronic Random Number Index Equipment – is NS&I’s proprietary random number generator. It is responsible for drawing over five million prizes every month.

But some people believe the way award winners are chosen is not as random as Ernie’s name suggests.

“Every month, the Government Actuary Department (GAD) conducts an independent check to confirm that the ERNIE output is random,” NS&I says. “GAD then issues a certificate to ensure that it has no reason to believe that the draw is not random.”

“We publish the numbers and pay the awards when that certificate is issued by the GAD at the end of each month.”

Other iconic Bond conspiracy theories investigated…

In November 2022, we placed… A number of conspiracy theories surrounding NS&I’s premium bonds.

This included the numbers being unable to win twice; Cash warnings that lead to wins; Ghost owners win ‘unfairly’; Letter starter bonds are useless; Having larger blocks gives a greater chance of winning; Newer bonds win more frequently and some areas are much luckier.

(tags for translation) Daily Mail

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