Are Premium Bonds Worth It? Discover the Hidden Benefits

Have you ever wondered what Premium Bonds are and why they’re so popular? Premium Bonds are a unique savings product offered by the UK’s National Savings and Investments (NS&I). Instead of earning interest, your bonds are entered into a monthly prize draw where you can win tax-free cash prizes. But what makes them so intriguing? Let’s dive into the world of Premium Bonds and uncover their magic.

What are Premium Bonds?

Premium Bonds are essentially a savings account where the interest is decided by a lottery. You buy bonds, each worth £1, and each bond is then entered into a monthly draw where it could win anything from £25 to £1 million.

Brief History of Premium Bonds

Introduced in 1956 by Harold Macmillan, Premium Bonds were designed to encourage saving while also providing excitement through the possibility of winning big prizes. Since their inception, they’ve become a beloved part of British culture.

Purpose and Popularity

The main allure of Premium Bonds lies in their prize draw system. It’s a risk-free way to save money with the added thrill of potentially winning large sums. Over 21 million people in the UK hold Premium Bonds, highlighting their widespread appeal.

How Premium Bonds Work

Purchasing Premium Bonds

You can buy Premium Bonds directly from NS&I online, by phone, or through the post. The minimum purchase amount is £25, and the maximum holding is £50,000 per person.

The Prize Draw Mechanism

Each month, ERNIE (Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment) randomly selects winning bonds. ERNIE has been the trusted name behind the draw since the very beginning, ensuring fair and random outcomes.

Interest Rates vs. Prize Money

While you don’t earn traditional interest on Premium Bonds, the prize fund rate, which is the annual rate of interest used to generate the prize money, is currently 1%. This means the value of all prizes awarded each month is equivalent to 1% of the total amount invested in Premium Bonds annually.

Advantages of Premium Bonds

No Risk to Capital

One of the biggest advantages is that your money is 100% secure. Unlike other investments, you can’t lose the money you put in, making it a safe place to store your savings.

Tax-Free Prizes

All prizes from Premium Bonds are tax-free. This can be a significant advantage over other forms of savings and investments where interest earned may be subject to income tax.

Flexible Investment

You can withdraw your money at any time without penalty. This flexibility makes Premium Bonds a convenient option for savers who might need access to their money at short notice.

Disadvantages of Premium Bonds

Lower Returns Compared to Other Investments

Although there’s the potential for big wins, the average return on Premium Bonds is often lower than other investments. If you don’t win any prizes, your money doesn’t grow.

No Guaranteed Income

Unlike traditional savings accounts or fixed-income investments, there’s no guaranteed return. You might go months or even years without winning a prize.

Inflation Impact

Since there’s no interest, your money can lose value over time due to inflation. This means that while your capital is safe, its purchasing power may decrease.

How to Buy and Manage Premium Bonds

Buying Options

You can purchase Premium Bonds online through the NS&I website, over the phone, or by post. The process is straightforward and user-friendly.

Managing Your Bonds

Once you own Premium Bonds, you can manage them through the NS&I online service. This allows you to check your holdings, update personal details, and view your prize history.

Cashing In Premium Bonds

You can cash in your bonds at any time. The process typically takes a few days, and the money will be transferred directly to your bank account.

Who Should Consider Premium Bonds?

Suitability for Different Types of Investors

Premium Bonds are ideal for those who prioritize capital security and enjoy the chance of winning tax-free prizes. They are particularly suitable for risk-averse savers and those looking for a fun way to save.

Comparisons with Other Saving Options

When compared to traditional savings accounts, Premium Bonds offer security and potential for high returns, but without guaranteed interest. They can be a good complement to a broader savings strategy.

Winning with Premium Bonds

Prize Tiers and Odds

The prize tiers range from £25 to £1 million. While the odds of winning are approximately 24,000 to 1 per bond per month, having more bonds increases your chances.

Real Stories of Winners

There are countless stories of individuals who have won substantial prizes, adding a layer of excitement and hope to holding Premium Bonds. These stories often inspire others to invest.

Maximizing Your Chances

The more bonds you hold, the higher your chances of winning. While there’s no guaranteed strategy, spreading your investment over time can keep your chances consistent.

Tax Implications

Tax-Free Status Explained

All prizes from Premium Bonds are completely tax-free, which can be a significant advantage for higher-rate taxpayers.

Reporting Requirements

There are no reporting requirements for Premium Bond prizes, making them hassle-free in terms of tax paperwork.

Premium Bonds vs. Traditional Savings Accounts

Key Differences

Traditional savings accounts offer guaranteed interest rates, while Premium Bonds provide the potential for tax-free prizes with no guaranteed returns. This makes them quite different in terms of risk and reward.

Pros and Cons of Each

While savings accounts are predictable and safe, Premium Bonds add an element of excitement and potential for higher, albeit uncertain, returns. Your choice depends on your financial goals and risk tolerance.

Premium Bonds for Children

How They Work

Parents and grandparents can buy Premium Bonds for children under 16. The bonds are held in the child’s name, but managed by the parent or guardian.

Benefits for Children

Premium Bonds can be a great way to introduce children to saving. They offer a safe and fun way to start building a financial future.

How to Buy for a Child

You can purchase Premium Bonds for children through the same methods as for adults. The application process will require details of both the purchaser and the child.

Frequently Asked Questions about Premium Bonds

Common Queries Answered

People often wonder about their odds of winning, how to buy, and the safety of their investment. These common questions are easily answered by NS&I’s comprehensive resources.

Misconceptions Clarified

A common misconception is that Premium Bonds are a form of gambling. In reality, they are a secure savings product with the added bonus of prize draws.

The Future of Premium Bonds

Potential Changes

As with any financial product, changes in interest rates and economic conditions can impact Premium Bonds. It’s important to stay informed about any updates from NS&I.

Current Trends and Predictions

Currently, Premium Bonds remain popular, and their future looks bright. Predictions suggest they will continue to be a preferred choice for risk-averse savers.


Premium Bonds offer a unique blend of security and excitement. While they may not provide guaranteed returns, the possibility of winning tax-free prizes makes them an appealing option for many savers. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just starting out, Premium Bonds can add an interesting dimension to your savings strategy.


Q. Are Premium Bonds a good investment?
A. Premium Bonds are a safe investment with the potential for tax-free prizes, but they may not offer the highest returns compared to other investments.

Q. How often are Premium Bond draws held?
A. The draws are held monthly, with ERNIE selecting winning bonds at random.

Q. Can non-UK residents buy Premium Bonds?
A. Currently, only UK residents can purchase Premium Bonds.

Q. What happens to my Premium Bonds if I move abroad?
A. You can retain your Premium Bonds if you move abroad, but you won’t be able to purchase more while residing outside the UK.

Q. How do I check if I’ve won a Premium Bond prize?
A. You can check your prize winnings online through the NS&I website or via their mobile app.

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