For the first time since their introduction 63 years ago, National Savings & Investments (NS&I) has reduced the minimum investment level on its popular Premium Bonds and the new minimum is now the lowest it’s been since 1993.
Savers can now deposit just £25, down from the previous minimum of £100, for a chance to win monthly prizes of between £25 and £1,000,000. Rather than earning interest, each £1 bond receives a unique number and will have an equal chance to win a prize in each monthly draw. The current odds for each £1 Bond number to win a prize is 24,500 to 1.
Introduced in 1956, this popular savings lottery has many of us gripped as, according to NS&I, one in three people in the UK now hold Premium Bonds.
And soon all adults will be able to buy Premium Bonds for children, not just parents, guardians or grandparents. So, aunts and uncles, godparents or just friends can buy Premium Bonds for children under the age of 16. Apparently over the last 10 years, ten children have won the £1m prize.
When they were first introduced, the maximum holding allowed in Premium Bonds was just £500 and the maximum prize available was £1,000, which was a lot considering the average weekly pay was £10 a week but with average house prices at just under £2,000, it wouldn’t have been enough to buy your dream home.¹ Today, the maximum holding is £50,000 and, as mentioned above, the maximum prize is £1,000,000 and there are two chances to win this jackpot each month.
In the February 2019 draw, 78.9bn bonds were eligible to receive one of 3.2m prizes worth £92.1m.
There is a possibility that you may not win any prizes – but you never know, you could just win the £1m!
Ultimately, it comes down to what is more important to you, the excitement of possibly winning big or regular interest. With interest rates at their current low level, the risk that you might win no prizes at all has less impact than when interest that you might earn elsewhere is more meaningful. But for those who rely on earning at least something each month or year, Premium Bonds may not be the right option.
Best buy easy access accounts offer rates of up to 1.55% whilst if you are able to tie your money up, you can earn between 2.15% AER fixed for 12 months, up to 2.62% AER fixed for five years. Take a look at our easy access best buy table and our fixed rate bond best buy tables for more information.
¹ Source: SunLife – 70 years of British house prices. August 2016.
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