Premium Bonds take a quantum leap as a new ERNIE is launched, while over £60 million worth of Premium Bonds prizes remain unclaimed

Alexa to check premium bonds prizes
ERNIE has moved into the quantum realm but over £60 million in prizes is still to be paid to winning Premium Bonds holders.

Since Premium Bonds were launched in 1956, a very special machine has won the affections of the British public, one representing the hopes and dreams of 21 million people across the UK. ERNIE, the Premium Bonds random number generator, is responsible for drawing over three million prizes each month, worth more than £90 million.

ERNIE, built by the team behind the Second World War code breaker, Colossus, started the very first Premium Bonds draw on 1 June 1957, taking 30 hours to generate the winning numbers, based on the signal noise created by neon tubes.

Today, after 15 years of loyal service, ERNIE 4 has been decommissioned and replaced with the fifth incarnation, using state of the art quantum technology to generate the growing volume of numbers that have to be produced every month.

The popularity of Premium Bonds has soared so much so that over 79 billion Bonds are now eligible to win any of the three million prizes each month with the draw taking just 12 minutes.

ERNIE 4 paid out 322 million prizes over the course its career, with a total value of more than £12 billion. ERNIE 4 was also responsible for the creation of 284 millionaires, from April 2004 to February 2019.

However, there are over 1.5 million prizes that are due to savers that are still waiting to be claimed, worth over £60 million, including four prizes of £100,000.

Jill Waters, NS&I’s Retail Director, said:

“ERNIE 4 brought prize-winning joy to people across the world, but there are still many prizes waiting to be united with their rightful owners. Prizes often become unclaimed as a result of people moving house, or forgetting that Bonds have been bought for them as a child, or executors are unaware the Bonds are held when someone dies.

“By opting to manage your Premium Bonds online you could reduce the risk of missing out on prizes as they can be paid directly into your bank account or they can be reinvested into your Premium Bonds account.”

The highest value unclaimed prizes

Prize value Location Current holding balance Winning Bond number Month and year of draw
£100,000 London £25 8LK522839 February 2007
£100,000 Greater Manchester £330 50PB780494 September 2010
£100,000 Lothian £10 10KZ370147 June 2013
£100,000 Hereford and Worcester £14 5FZ109702 August 2014

The earliest unclaimed prizes

Prize value Location Current holding balance Winning Bond number Month and year of draw
£25 South Yorkshire £100 VN199709 November 1957
£25 Lancashire £5 1EK846081 January 1959
£25 Lancashire £26 1AK014211 September 1959
£25 Derbyshire £5 1EK176684 June 1960
£25 Staffordshire £1 AK864669 July 1960

There is no time limit for claiming prizes and each unclaimed prize is held until the rightful winner can be tracked down. The oldest unclaimed prize dates back to November 1957 – the sixth-ever draw - where a Premium Bonds holder from South Yorkshire has a prize to the sum of £25 waiting to be claimed.

NS&I is calling for Premium Bonds holders to come forward to claim their prizes, and to sign-up to have their winnings paid directly into their bank accounts, or to have prizes auto-reinvested, to reduce the chances of prizes going unclaimed in future.

Alexa NS&I Premium Bonds prize checker

Over 2.3 million Premium Bonds holders in the UK now receive their prizes directly to their bank accounts, and a further 2.8 million have opted to have their prizes reinvested into their Premium Bonds account, increasing their chances of winning further prizes.

Ways to check if you have a prize owing to you:

  • Online at

The Premium Bonds prize checker is on the home page of the NS&I website at – customers simply need to enter their Premium Bond holder’s number into the search facility. Premium Bonds holders can also use the prize checker app, or check their prizes using Amazon Alexa.



  • In writing to NS&I

Alternatively people can write to NS&I, quoting their name and address, any former names and addresses, date of birth and, if known, their Premium Bond holder’s number.

Premium Bonds

National Savings and Investments


G58 1SB

Notes to Editors

  1. All Premium Bonds prizes are free of UK Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax.
  2. NS&I is one of the largest savings organisations in the UK, offering a range of savings and investments to 25 million customers. All products offer 100% capital security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury.
  3. The annual Premium Bonds prize fund rate is currently 1.40% and the odds of each individual Bond number winning any prize are 24,500 to 1.
  4. Pictures of Premium Bonds, including the Premium Bonds app and ERNIE are available in high-resolution jpeg format from the NS&I media team.
  5. Customers can buy Premium Bonds online at and over the phone by calling 08085 007 007. This is a freephone number and calls to it from the UK are free from both landlines and mobiles. Calls may be recorded. Customers can also buy by post. Existing customers can also buy by bank transfer and standing order.
  6. When reporting total unclaimed Premium Bonds prizes, NS&I defines unclaimed prizes as those that have not been claimed for a period of 18 months or more.
  7. Further information on NS&I, including press releases and product information, is available on the website at Follow us on Twitter: @nsandi or join the conversation on Facebook: Premium Bonds made by ERNIE