Two top prizes per month
3,000,000+ prizes per month
Value of prizes paid per month
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People are fascinated with Premium Bonds and we get a lot of requests for information. Here are some of the more frequently asked questions
Premium Bonds timeline – a brief history
For information about Premium Bonds Prize Fund rate changes and the odds of winning a prize, view our list of historic interest rates.
Minimum purchase is just £1, with a maximum of £500.
Generates the first winning numbers in front of an excited crowd in Blackpool.
Is introduced and able to produce 65,000 numbers per hour – a big advance on the 2,000 that ERNIE 1 could manage.
Is introduced, able to generate 330,000 prizes every hour.
The minimum purchase for all customers is now £100.
The introduction of the £1 million jackpot prize leads to the creation of Agent Million.
Is introduced, able to generate 1,000,000 numbers per hour.
The NS&I website allows Premium Bonds purchases for the first time.
Maximum holding limit for Premium Bonds is increased to £50,000.
Every eligible £1 Bond has the same chance to win a prize in every monthly draw. Newer Bonds seem luckier because over 95% of those currently held have been purchase since 2000.
Premium Bonds only become ineligible once they are cashed in, or when the owner dies. In the instance where a Premium Bonds holder passes away, the individual managing their estate can choose to manage the Bonds, and these are eligible to win prizes up to 12 months after the date of the holder’s death.
ERNIE’s randomness applies only to the Bond generation itself – who holds those Bonds and where they’re based is down to customers themselves.
We’ll give you a unique Bond number for every £1 you invest. Every number has a separate and equal chance each month of winning a prize. So the more Bonds you buy, the better your chances of winning.
While 2.3% of our Premium Bonds holders have the maximum £50,000 invested (as of December 2018), their total investment makes up 33.6% of the £78 billion held in Premium Bonds, from which the prize fund is calculated.
Buying more Bonds will improve your chances of winning a prize, but there’s no guarantee what size prize that will be – back in 2004, one Premium Bonds customer had just £17 invested when she won the £1 million jackpot.
(Information correct as of December 2018. Percentages rounded to one decimal place.)