Premium bonds checker

The premium bonds checker is a quick way of checking whether you’ve won the premium bonds. Results are updated monthly and prizes range from £25 to £1 million. Using your unique bond number, the premium bonds checker will tell you if you’ve won a prize and if so, how much.

Premium bonds are one of the UK’s biggest savings product. The chance of winning up to £1 million of tax free cash every month has attracted around 22 million people to invest to date.

However with the launch of the personal savings allowance in 2016 meaning most people aren’t liable for tax on their savings anyway and such steep odds on winning, are premium bonds still a good idea?

The following information explains what premium bonds are, how they work and whether saving your money this way is worth it.

What are premium bonds?

Premium bonds is a form of savings account by government backed National Savings & Investment (NS&I). However instead of your money earning interest, every pound invested buys you a bond. Each month, your bonds are entered into the premium bond prize draw where you could win up to £1 million.

Although there are many prizes to be won, NS&I bonds are a bit of a lottery. Prizes are calculated on an average rate of 1.4% which is due to drop to 1.3% in May 2020. This means if you’re lucky, you could achieve the equivalent of 1.4% against the money invested, but there’s also a good chance you may not win anything at all.

So, whether premium bonds is a good idea for you will depend on your reason for investing the money in the first place.

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How do they work?

When you place your savings in NS&I bonds, every pound invested buys you a unique bond number. The minimum amount for each investment is £25 which in turn buys you 25 bonds. You can continue to buy more premium bonds up to the maximum limit of £50,000.

Every month your bond numbers are placed into the prize draw where each has an equal chance of winning. This means the more bond numbers you have, the greater your chance of winning.

Prizes can be checked using the premium bond checker and are awarded completely tax free. The size of the prize varies from high, medium to lower value. As you might expect, the percentage of lower value prizes awarded is far greater than those that fall into the medium or high category:

  • Higher value prizes (5% of the prize fund) - £5,000 - £1 million
  • Medium value prizes (5% of the prize fund) - £500 to £1,000
  • Lower value prizes (90% of the prize fund) - £25 - £100

You can choose to take your money out at any time by cashing in all or some of your bonds. The process usually takes up to eight working days unless you have informed the NS&I to cash your bonds in after the next prize draw.

premium bond checker

When are premium bonds drawn?

Once you have had your premium bonds for one full month, they will be entered into the following month’s prize draw. Typically, the draw takes place at the beginning of the month and the premium bonder checker is usually updated on the second working day of each month.

What are the premium bonds odds?

With a 1 in 24,500 chance of winning a prize for every £1 bond you hold, the premium bond odds on winning aren’t great. What’s more, even if the odds were in your favour, 90% of prizes awarded are for between £25 to £100, so your earning potential isn’t fantastic.

Unfortunately, the odds on winning will only get worse as the NS&I is reducing the annual prize fund interest rate from 1.4% to 1.3%. This means that from May 2020, your odds of winning the premium bonds will change from 1 in 24,500 to 1 in 26,000.

What is the premium bonds checker?

The premium bonds checker gives you quick and easy access to the winning bond numbers. In addition to checking this month’s premium bond winners, the prize checker also lets you check numbers over the last 6 months and the 1,667,922 unclaimed prizes dating back to 1957.

All you need to use the premium bond checker is your bond numbers and the checker will do the rest.

Alternatively, NS&I will let you know if you have won by email, text or post. You then have the option to have your winnings reinvested into more bonds, paid directly into your account or paid by cheque.

NS&I Premium bond checker

The NS&I prize checker app

In addition to using the online premium bonds checker, there are also a number of apps you can use to check the winning numbers. This includes the:

How to buy premium bonds

You can buy premium bonds online, by phone or post, or by transferring funds from an NS&I account. Only debit cards are accepted online or over the phone, not credit cards and cheques should be made payable to the NS&I for those who prefer to buy bonds by post.

Also, if you have NS&I bonds in place, you can buy more by bank transfer.

Premium bonds for children

You can buy premium bonds for children or grandchildren however if they are under 16 and not your children, you would need to nominate a parent or guardian on your application. The person nominated will then be able to manage and cash in the bonds on behalf of the child.

How to cash in premium bonds

You can cash in your premium bonds at any time online, over the phone or by post. If you’re cashing in some of your bonds, you can either decide which bond numbers you would like to cash in, or the NS&I will cancel them for you starting with the oldest bonds first.

Once you have cancelled, the money should be with you within eight working days.

How safe are premium bonds?

Premium bonds are safe as they’re issued by government owned NS&I and backed by the Treasury. Also, your capital is safe and will never be lower than the amount you initially invested. However, although your premium bonds are safe, any interest you get depends on luck and whether you win.

So, your premium bonds are as safe as you can get however your potential to grow your investment isn’t.

Are premium bonds worth it?

Premium bonds can be worth it if you’re a high rate tax-payer, have money to invest or fancy your chances winning £1 million. However, they may not be a good idea if you want a regular income from your capital with guaranteed returns and worried about the impact of inflation.

As the NS&I say themselves, if you want to win big and have £25 to invest, then NS&I bonds may be worth a gamble however if you want guaranteed interest, a savings account or ISA may be preferable.

Buy premium bonds

Premium bonds contact details

check premium bondsIf you are thinking about buying bonds or wish to cash existing ones in, the premium bonds contact details are as follows:

Phone – 08085 007 007

Online -

 Post – NS&I, Sunderland, SR43 2SB

Frequently asked questions

How do I check if I have premium bonds?

If you know your bond number, you can check whether you have won by using their online premium bonds checker. Alternatively, if you have a letter from the NS&I with your NS&I number on, you can use that to log into their online system to check.

Failing that call the NS&I on 08085 007 007 and they will help.

How do I check my old premium bonds?

To check your old premium bonds, you can use the online premium bond checker. As well as providing information on the month’s winners, it also lets you check against unclaimed prizes since 1957.

Is there a list of unclaimed premium bonds?

Yes, you can find a list of unclaimed premium bonds on their online checker. To check whether you have won, all you need is your bond numbers.

Are old premium bonds ignored by the prize draw?

No old premium bonds are not ignored by the prize draw. Every £1 you spend has a unique bond number and all bond numbers are entered into the prize draw every month. Therefore, all numbers have an equal chance of winning but the more bonds you have, the greater your chance of winning.

How long does it take to cash in premium bonds?

When you cash in your bonds, it usually takes up to eight working days to receive the money.

Who is premium bonds’ ERNIE?

ERNIE is the premium bonds Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment. Basically, it’s the machine that picks the winning numbers.

Updated 18th August 2022
by Ashley Shepherd
Ashley Shepherd

Ashley is the founder and managing director at Over50choices. With over 30 years’ experience in financial services, he has held senior roles in building societies, banks and insurance companies.

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