Four of the biggest premium bond myths debunked


  • About 23 million people hold NS&I Premium Bonds
  • The biggest myths range from old ties bringing bad luck to Ernie not being random.
  • We look to see if there is truth behind the myths

Over the decades, many myths have emerged around the premium bond draw. Around 23 million savers have the country’s most popular savings product.

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

Although a win is not guaranteed, the monthly prize fund equates to a return of 4.65 percent (it falls to 4.4 percent from March 2024 after a recent reduction).

There are two coveted £1 million prizes each month, which is why many savers are waiting for the premium bonds.

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

Nearly 23 million savers have called National Savings & Investments home for their next eggs.  Two £1 million prizes are up for grabs in each monthly draw

Nearly 23 million savers have called National Savings & Investments home for their next eggs. Two £1 million prizes are up for grabs in each monthly 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 customers even asked if they should cash in their old premium bonds and buy new ones, hoping that would help them win a prize.

Savings experts say it’s not about how long you hold the bond, but how much bond you hold, because increasing the amount you hold can help increase your chances of winning a prize.

Premium Bond Winners

Price Area Bond value
£1,000,000 Warwick County £5,000
£1,000,000 Nottingham £31,020
£100,000 Inner London £5,000
£100,000 Manchester £1,950
£100,000 Buckinghamshire £10,000
£100,000 West Yorkshire £50,000
£100,000 South of Scotland £30,000
£100,000 Lincolnshire £22,000

More winners from January 2024

See the list of winners for January 2024

The reason it appears that newer bonds have a better chance than older ones is that more than 95 percent of eligible bonds were purchased since the year 2000.

Even though premium bonds have been on sale for more than 60 years, that’s why newer bonds seem to gain more frequently.

An NS&I spokesperson said: “Every pound invested buys a unique bond number. Each number has a separate and equal chance each month to win a prize, and the more bonds you buy, the more likely you are to win.

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

One of the biggest myths about premium bonds is that the Southeast regions are the luckiest when it comes to winning prizes.

Over the past 29 years, National Savings and Investments has created 512 Premium Bond millionaires.

Of these, 28 winners of the £1 million jackpot were based in Surrey, 23 in Kent and 22 in Essex.

Our analysis shows that Surrey, Kent and Essex account for 13 percent of all Premium Bonds jackpot winners since 1994..

NS&I insists that if it appears more prizes are being won by holders in some areas of the country, it is likely because there are more bondholders in that area than in other areas from the United Kingdom.

The South East is home to the largest number of UK bondholders.

NS&I states: “If it appears that more prizes are being won by holders in a certain region of the country, this may be because there are more bonds held in that region than in other regions of the country. United Kingdom. »

Myth 3: You must hold the maximum to win

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

In October, Our analysis found that half of the biggest premium bond prizes of £1 million, £100,000 and £50,000 were won by those who held the maximum £50,000..

Buying more bonds can certainly help increase your chances of winning a prize, but if you hold a smaller stake, it is still entirely possible to win a prize.

The smallest ever jackpot win was £17 and that winner was based in Newham, London. While 12 people holding £1,000 and under won the £1 million jackpot, showing small holdings can still win big.

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

“In the most recent draw (December 2023), one of the Essex jackpot winners has £14,600 in Premium Bonds.

“In the November draw, one of the West Mids jackpot winners holds a £5,050 stake in Premium Bonds.

Myth 4: Ernie is not random

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

But some people think the way winners are selected isn’t as random as Ernie’s name suggests.

NS&I says: “Each month the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) carries out an independent check to ensure that ERNIE’s results are random. GAD then issues a certificate confirming that it has no reason to believe that the drawing is not random.

“We publish the numbers and pay the prices when this certificate has been issued by GAD at the end of each month.”

Other conspiracy theories about premium bonds have been investigated…

In November 2022, we put a number of conspiracy theories about premium bonds to NS&I.

This included numbers that could not win twice; cashout warnings resulting in winnings; ghost owners win “unfairly”; links starting with a letter are failures; having bigger blocks gives greater chances of winning; newer bonds win more frequently and some regions are much luckier.


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