Martin Lewis on tracing dead relative’s Premium Bonds
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Premium Bonds are issued by the National Savings and Investment company, or NS&I as it is commonly known. Each month, a prize draw takes place which creates two lucky millionaires alongside a whole host of other prize winners. Savers invested with Premium Bonds will hope to be in with a chance to win each month, and with the August 2021 results released, many will be waking up significantly richer.
With winners announced, many who hold older Bonds may be wondering if they could secure winnings.
Bearing this in mind, Express.co.uk peeled back the curtain and spoke to Agent Million, the anonymous person who tells lucky Britons about their jackpot win.
Agent Million explained the process, and said: “The only rule you have to bear in mind when it comes to Bonds is that they have to be eligible to participate in the prize draw.
“Each individual number is entered into the draw and has an equal chance to win.
Premium Bonds: Your old Bonds could still win the jackpot – check prize draw now (Image: PA)
“When you purchase Premium Bonds, if you purchase them, say, throughout the month of January, then you have to hold them for February – and then they will enter the draw from March.
“They will remain in that prize draw and can generate prizes until such time as a person repays them – or in other words cashes in the money.”
The “repayment” process is a simple one, and if someone invests a certain amount, this is the exact sum they will receive back.
This is because there is no interest rate on Premium Bonds, with the prize rate fund going towards ensuring NS&I can pay out winnings each month.
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But those holding Bonds which date back a number of years will be pleased to note they could still be in with a chance.
Agent Million continued: “Older Bonds can still win, which is the important thing to stress.
“We don’t programme any numbers into ERNIE, and ERNIE just merely generates numbers, that is what he is designed to do.
“He isn’t looking from a list, or anything like that, it is just automatically generated.
“There is an equal chance for older Bonds to win, just as much as there is for newer ones.
Premium Bonds: Express spoke to Agent Million, the anonymous NS&I worker (Image: Getty)
“But the only thing I will say, is that obviously we at NS&I have been going since 1956 – a lot of those original Bonds will have been repaid.
“And some of the original owners of those Bonds will have sadly passed away during this time.
“So, those Bonds are repaid and never reissued to anyone else again.
“The number of older Bonds in existence is definitely getting smaller over time, and as people are buying new ones.”
Back in July 2004, NS&I shared a woman from Newham won the £1million jackpot in July 2004 with a Premium Bonds holding of £17, where the winning Bond was purchased in February 1959.
For a number of years, the minimum purchase amount for Premium Bonds has been £25.
However, many may hold less than this if they have older Premium Bonds, as Agent Million explained.
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They added: “Yes, people can still win and take part. If a £1 unit were to generate more than one prize in a prize draw then you would be allocated the highest prize.
“For example, if a £1 unit generated a £500 and also a £25 prize in the same draw, you would be allocated the £500 and the £25 would be ineligible in this instance.
“But it isn’t a case of one £1 unit winning and then it can’t win any more, it can go on to win prizes in following months.”
For those who do have, Bonds, particularly older holdings, Agent Million concluded by urging people to check.
They said it could be worthwhile for individuals, as many may find they could secure winnings years after their purchase.
The two lucky winners this month are from Devon and Wales, with the winning numbers 404KX510146 and 202ZQ082477, respectively.
Britons can check whether they have won by using NS&I’s dedicated prize checker, via Amazon Alexa, their smartphone or on the website.