Premium Bond savers set for better payouts as prize rate hits 14-year high

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Premium Bond savers are set for better payouts after National Savings & Investments (NS&I) raised its prize fund to 3.15 per cent starting from its draw next week.

This marks the fourth rise in the Premium Bond prize fund since interest rates started to climb just over a year ago.

The latest rise means an extra £15 million paid out in prizes compared to last month, bringing the total to £314.3 million.

The odds of each £1 Bond winning a prize will remain fixed at 24,000 to 1, but more prizes above £50 will be paid out.

National Savings & Investments (NS&I) has raised its prize fund to 3.15 per cent starting from its draw next week

National Savings & Investments (NS&I) has raised its prize fund to 3.15 per cent starting from its draw next week

The changes mean that the number of prizes worth £50 to £100,000 will increase from next month’s draw on February 2.

The 3.15 per cent prize rate is an average return and savers may do better or worse than this 

Some 870,000 NS&I savers will also benefit from a boost to its Direct Saver, Direct Isa and Income Bonds.

Premium Bonds: How do they work?

Customers buy bonds that are denominated at £1 each, but must now buy at least £25 in one go.

Every month, each bond is entered into a lottery.

There is a 24,000 to 1 chance of each £1 bond winning a prize. Check the winning bonds each month with our Premium Bond tables.

Customers can cash their bonds in whenever they like, so they can be treated as similar to an easy access savings account, but savers have to wait a couple of days to get cash out of Premium Bonds.

All prizes are tax-free.

> Should I buy Premium Bonds or open an easy access savings account? 

Meanwhile, around 80,000 under-18s will gain from a rise in their Junior Isa rate.

The rate of NS&I’s second-most popular account, Direct Saver, goes up to 2.6 per cent from 2.3 per cent.

It’s the highest rate paid since the account was launched in March 2010.

This puts the easy-access account just behind the top payers on internet-based accounts and a top rate if you want to run the account by phone.

You can check the best deals currently on offer in This is Money’s independent best buy savings rate tables.

Income Bonds, popular with pensioners because interest is paid out monthly, have also risen to 2.6 per cent.

It is the highest rate since 2008. Just a year ago, these  accounts paid only 0.35 per after a low of just 0.01  per cent for the 12 months to November 2021.

Its Direct Isa is up to 2.15 per cent from 1.75 pc, while its Junior Isa rises from 2.7 pc to 3.4  per cent. It’s the latest move from the Government-backed bank to hit its financing targets.

State-owned savings bank NS&I plans to bring in £6 billion, plus or minus £3 billion, in its financial year to the end of March.

At the halfway stage to the end of September, it had reached a total of £3.4 billion. 

Latest figures from the Bank of England show it saw £281 million leave in November, the first time it has seen an outflow since September 2021 and the largest since March that same year.

NS&I deleted my granny’s Premium Bond… and took back the winnings!’ Upheld complaints against NS&I double

 

 

Savers with some of the very first Premium Bonds have won Ombudsman cases, as successful NS&I customer complaints.

One woman with a 1960 Premium Bond was told she was never the rightful owner, while another customer saw NS&I delete his late grandmother’s Premium Bond and order him to repay £2,500 of prize cash. 

These grievances are also part of a wider trend of complaints against NS&I that has seen customer cases upheld by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) more than double in 2022.

> NS&I deleted my Gran’s Premium Bonds: How complaints have risen 

Ian Ackerley, NS&I chief executive, said: ‘The changes will provide a welcome boost for savers with more Premium Bond prizes and some of the highest interest rates in over a decade.’

The amount in Premium Bonds stands at nearly £200 billion as punters hope for a big win.

February’s draw has 4,989,652 prizes ranging from £25 to £1 million up for grabs.

This is an increase of 2,949 prizes compared with last month’s draw, which had 4,986,706 cash prizes.

This equates to £15,145,525 in extra cash available in next month’s draw.

There will be fewer £25 cash prizes, as part of NS&I’s strategy to cut smaller prizes while raising bigger ones.

This time round the number of £25 prizes drops by 241,741 to 2.37 million from 2.6 million in this month’s draw. 

The number has plummeted from 3.5 million in December’s draw. 

The largest increase for next month comes in prizes of £50 and £100, both up 121,077 to 1.28 million apiece.

The number of £500 prizes will rise to 37,719 while it will pay 605 more £1,000 prizes, a total of 12,573.

The number of £5,000 prizes will rise by 61 to 1,177 while there will be 31 extra £10,000 pay outs, up to 590.

The total of £25,000 prizes increases by 12 to 236, while there will be 117 winners of £50,000, up from 111.

The £100,000 prize rises by three to 59 while the jackpot of £1 million stays the same at two each month.

Price increases from January to February’s Premium Bond draw

 Value of prizes

£1 million

£100,000

£50,000

£25,000

£10,000

£5,000

£1,000

£500

£100

£50

£25

Total

£299,202,350 

January no. of prizes 

2

56

111

224

559

1,116

11,968

35,904

1,159,432 

1,159,432

2,617,902

Total 

 4,986,706

February no. of prizes

2

59

117

236

590

1,177

12,573

37,719

1,280,509

1,280,509

2,376,161

Total

4,989,652 

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