Plea over 'forgotten' Premium Bonds
Britons are being urged to check their forgotten Premium Bonds as £44 million worth of prizes are still unclaimed.
The two largest prizes where no-one has come forward are both worth £100,000 and belong to female bond holders in London and Manchester, said Treasury-backed provider NS&I (National Savings and Investments).
More than a third of the UK population collectively has more than £45 billion invested in Premium Bonds across the UK. Every eligible bond is entered into a monthly prize draw and investors forgo interest in order to have the chance to win tax-free prizes.
However, NS&I is giving prize winners an extra nudge to come forward as many people have lost track of their bonds, perhaps because they have had them since childhood or have moved house without updating their contact details.
Bond holders can make themselves easier to trace by signing up online at nsandi.com. They can opt to have any cash paid directly into their bank account and be notified of their win by email. Across the country, there are in excess of 898,000 unclaimed bonds, with a total value of more than £44 million.
There is no time limit for claiming prizes and each one is held until the winner comes forward. The oldest unclaimed prize is worth £25 and was bought by a man from South Yorkshire in 1957.
Jill Waters, NS&I's operations manager, said: "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."
The five biggest unclaimed Premium Bond prizes in the UK, including the winning bond number, the prize value, the gender of the bond holder, the last known location, the present bond holding and when the draw took place, are: 1: 8LK522839, £100,000, Female, London, £25, February, 2007; 2: 50PB780494, £100,000, Female, Greater Manchester, £280, September 2010; 3: 3VT019901, £50,000, Female, Kent, £128, November 2007; 4: 1JK051177, £25,000, Male, London, £50, October 1991; 5: 38HZ060777, £25,000, Male, West Midlands, £2,000, March 2003.