Great news from ERNIE: Premium Bonds maximum investment increased to £40,000

  • Second monthly £1 million prize to return from August 2014
  • Option to buy additional Bonds by bank transfer

From Sunday 1 June 2014 the amount that customers can invest in Premium Bonds will increase to £40,000, up from the current maximum of £30,000 (1) . As customers increase their investment above £30,000, it will give them more chances to win tax-free prizes from ERNIE (2) .

The change follows the Chancellor’s announcement in the Budget that NS&I would help support savers by increasing the Premium Bonds investment limit from £30,000 to £40,000 from June and increase the number of £1 million prizes from one to two as from the August draw. A further increase to £50,000 will take place in 2015-16. Anyone investing an additional £10,000 will have 10,000 more chances to win and Bonds bought in June will have their first chance to win in the August draw.

The last time the maximum investment limit for Premium Bonds went up was in May 2003 when it increased from £20,000 to £30,000. The total amount invested in Premium Bonds has increased from £19.7 billion in 2003 to £45.7 billion today – an increase of 131%.

Over 21 million people hold Premium Bonds and they continue to remain popular with savers for a variety of reasons: they offer a chance to win tax-free prizes, they can be easily bought and managed online or by phone, and, of course, due to the excitement that ERNIE brings each month when he creates a new millionaire.

Julian Hynd, Retail Director, NS&I, said: “Premium Bonds are one of the nation’s favourite ways to save. Raising the maximum amount that can be invested is good news for customers because the more they invest, the greater their chance of winning a tax-free prize. I’m sure many of the 600,000 customers who currently have the maximum holding of £30,000 will want to invest more.

“The way that our customers now manage their money is changing, so for customers who already hold Premium Bonds, they can now buy more by making a transfer from their bank account directly to us, if they wish to do so. Customers can also sign up to have their winnings paid directly into their account – taking away the hassle of a trip to the bank to cash in any winnings.”

Premium Bonds facts

  • Since the first Premium Bonds prize draw in June 1957, over 290 million tax–free prizes have been paid out
  • Each month ERNIE, our Blackpool-based random number generator, produces numbers that deliver prizes ranging from £25 up to the £1 million jackpot
  • In May 2014, ERNIE paid out over 1.8 million prizes, together amounting to over £51 million in value. The overall value of prizes paid out each month is based on the prize fund rate and the number of Bonds in the draw. This means the more money invested in Premium Bonds, the higher the overall value of prizes awarded for a given prize fund rate
  • Like all NS&I products, Premium Bonds offer investors 100% capital security because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury. Investors can cash in their Premium Bonds at any time

Some myths about ERNIE

  • Can Bonds be left out of the draw?

No. ERNIE just generates random numbers. No numbers are entered or stored in ERNIE, so no eligible Bonds can be left out of the draw.

  • Does changing numbers change your luck?  

Sadly not! If you cash in and buy new Bonds you will have to wait another calendar month for your new numbers to enter the draw. And meanwhile ERNIE might have picked your old number.

  • Why do people in the South East of England win more often?

Because there are more Bonds held there compared with the rest of the UK.

  • Why do old Bond numbers never win?

They do win. But there are so many more new Bond numbers in the draw that it is less likely – over 87% of eligible Bonds have been bought since the year 2000.

How to buy Premium Bonds

  • Direct transfer from your bank account if you already have some Premium Bonds and know your holder’s number, a quick and easy way to buy more Bonds is to make a transfer from your bank account
  • Apply online – visit the NS&I website at www.nsandi.com
  • Apply by phone – call any time on 0500 500 000
  • Apply by post – complete an application form available from NS&I by posting it back to us
  • Apply at your local Post Office – over the counter

Notes to Editors

  1. Premium Bonds were introduced in November 1956 and the first draw took place on 2 June 1957. Premium Bonds customers will only be able to increase their holding above £30,000 from 1 June 2014 and not before.
  2. ERNIE – Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment.

National Savings and Investments is one of the largest savings organisations in the UK, offering a range of savings and investments products. All products offer 100% security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury.

For further information, interviews with Julian Hynd and digital images, contact the NS&I Media Team. An ISDN line is available for interviews: 020 7602 4522.