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You could be entitled to a slice of a £850k pie!

We've been in touch with the UK organisation (NS&I) who handle the Premium Bonds for the UK government and look what we've found...

There is a pot of unclaimed prize money worth £850k just waiting to be reunited with its owners.

The unclaimed prizes range in value from £1,000 to £25 and relate specifically to bonds purchased by residents in Wales.

bond bookThe problem is, the NS&I (National Savings and Investments) can't find the owners because the contact information they hold is out of date. That's not their fault, it is the bond holders responsibility to keep them informed about changes to contact details, address etc.

Recent NS&I research revealed that one in four people (26%) who moved house in the last 12 months forgot to pass on their change of address details to all their financial providers so you can imagine how over the years the sum has grown to the huge value it is today.

Each time a bond wins, the NS&I will contact the owner. Where things go wrong is when the bond owner has moved without telling them. It's also possible that bond holders pass away without leaving a clear instruction as to what should be done about their investment. Think about it for a second, your grandparents may have purchased a bond worth only one pound (a couple of dollars). It's easy to imagine how such as small sum can get lost over the years. It could be worth MUCH more now!

There is no time limit on claiming. Each unclaimed prize is held until the winner can be tracked down

That £1 bond could now be worth £1000 because every single bond is eligible to win, even if it was bought in the 1950's. At the time of writing, that means your grand parent's £1 might net you $1,747.00 USD, or $2,007.00 Canadian dollars or a whopping $2,360.00 Australian dollars! The oldest unclaimed prize dates back to the first draw in June 1957.

bond drawThe largest unclaimed prize held outside the UK is £25,000 for a Canadian resident, who if they only knew of their luck could be $50,195.00 dollars
better off!

Incidentally, the NS&I told us there is no reason under UK law why (for example) a Canadian or Australian citizen should not own premium bonds. However, United States citizens are not allowed to own bonds of other countries.

So if you are a US citizen with a family connection to the UK (or a British dependency) it’s still worth checking but you might want to seek advice if you find you DO own bonds and especially if they’ve won!
It’s also worth mentioning that for UK residents the winnings are tax free, this is unlikely to be true if you live else where.

How to find out if you are eligible

NS&I notifies customers of their winnings by writing to them directly. Note: customers who have kept NS&I informed of their new address details are unlikely to have any unclaimed prizes outstanding.

bonds winnerPremium Bond prize checker:

Customers who own Premium Bonds and think they may have any unclaimed prizes can use the online Premium Bond prize checker on the NS&I website at: Click here to go there now Just enter your Premium Bond holder's number, it's easy.

Tracing Service

Anyone with lost or forgotten savings and investments with National Savings and Investments (NS&I) can check on them through their Tracing Service. This service is provided free-of-charge to make it easier for customers to track down and re-unite themselves with forgotten accounts, bonds, certificates and other long-lost products. Since the launch in November 2001, NS&I has reunited approximately 27,000 people with a cash windfall of £26 million. NS&I has also traced money for people now living in Australia, Thailand, Canada, USA and Italy.

There is no time limit on claiming back any money. The money - which remains 100% safe is the property of the customer and NS&I does not benefit in any way from holding on to dormant savings.

Customers can use the one-stop service to trace their dormant NS&I products
by completing a simple form and sending it to one central contact point. NS&I will then look through its records to re-unite the customers. The customers will be contacted once the trace has been completed, usually within one month.

So, what are you waiting for?

There thousands of bonds waiting to be claimed and you might own some of them. Get in touch with the NS&I as soon as you can! Their website: even includes much more information on Premium Bonds including their history and current values along with details of other savings products. You can also write to them:

Premium Bonds
National Savings and Investments
United Kingdom

One last thing...
If you're one of the lucky winners please let us know!
Best of luck - Ed Welsh -

First published: 2012-07-29