1.6 million Premium Bond prizes unclaimed – check if you've won
There are now more than 1.6 million unclaimed Premium Bond prizes worth more than £63 million, according to the latest figures – check now to see if you've won some cash you didn't know about.
Since we first reported on the scale of this last year, the total value of unclaimed prizes has risen by almost £3 million – and there's still five unclaimed prizes worth £100,000 each.
The increase doesn't mean that no prizes have been claimed in the past year – an unclaimed prize is defined as one that hasn't been claimed within 18 months of being won, so more prizes now come under this definition.
NS&I, which runs Premium Bonds, has also given MoneySavingExpert.com a breakdown of unclaimed prizes by value across the UK. Check our map below to see how many there are where you live.
For more on how Premium Bonds work – and whether they're worth it – see our Premium Bonds guide.
What are Premium Bonds?
Premium Bonds are effectively a savings account you can put money into, where instead of savers earning interest, tax-free prizes are awarded in a monthly prize draw – meaning there's no guarantee you'll get any return on your money. Prizes range from £25 to a whopping £1 million. In August 2019, 3,346,095 prizes were won, with a total value of £95,642,500.
It's worth bearing in mind that the nearest thing Premium Bonds have to an interest rate is their annual prize rate, which means 'on average' the annual return is 1.4% – but in reality, this is just a vague benchmark and there's no guarantee you'll win anything at all. See our Premium Bonds guide for full info.
How many prizes are unclaimed?
NS&I says it contacts every winner, but sometimes prizes go unclaimed for reasons such as the letter getting lost in the post or address details not being updated.
As of August 2019, NS&I says there were a total of 1,647,543 unclaimed Premium Bond prizes, worth a total of £63,062,725.
An unclaimed prize is defined as one that hasn't been claimed within 18 months of being won – so there will be other prizes won more recently that are also waiting to be claimed.
If you live in London or the south east of England, you could be owed one of almost 559,000 unclaimed prizes, while in Scotland there are more than 92,000 unclaimed. See the map below for a full breakdown of unclaimed prizes, based on the last known home address of the bond holder:
There are also another 201,914 prizes waiting to be claimed by people who are either living overseas or whose locations are unknown due to a lack of NS&I data.
How do I check if I've an unclaimed prize?
There's no time limit to claims, so you can go back as far as you like.
If you think you might have an unclaimed prize, the best way to check depends on what info you have about your Premium Bond account – confusingly, you'll have been given both a Premium Bond holder's number AND an NS&I number:
- If you know your Premium Bond holder's number... you can go to the NS&I website or download its prize checker app. Enter your holder's number and it'll tell you if you've any unclaimed prizes.
- If you don't know your holder's number, but have your NS&I number... you can use that number – which you'll find on any letters from NS&I – as well as your surname and password to log in to NS&I online and find your holder's number on the 'account details' page. NS&I's prize checker app also accepts your NS&I number.
- If you don't know your holder's number or account number... you can phone NS&I on 08085 007 007 or write to it and ask for a replacement bond record to be sent to you. You should give as much detail as you can, for example your full name, address details, when and where you bought your Premium Bonds and how much they're worth.
Alternatively, you can use NS&I's tracing service or the My Lost Account website, both of which can track down your Premium Bond details. They ask you to fill out info about yourself, including your name, address, an estimate of how many Premium Bonds you hold and how long you've held them.
How to claim your prize if you've won
If you find you do have an unclaimed prize, you'll need to write to NS&I to tell it at: NS&I, Glasgow, G58 1SB. Give as much information as you can, including:
- Holder's number.
- Current name.
- Any previous names.
- Current address.
- Any previous addresses where bonds may have been registered.
Prizes will then be sent to your home address as a warrant, which is like a cheque.
Unfortunately, you can't have unclaimed prizes paid directly into your bank account – but if you'd like to have future prizes paid straight to your bank, you can set this up as long as you're registered for NS&I's online and phone services.
How to claim on behalf of someone who's died
The process is slightly different if the bond holder has passed away – you'd first need to inform NS&I of the death and then follow the steps above.
Any prize money will be paid to whoever inherits the bond holder's estate.
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