THOUSANDS of people could be missing out on Premium Bond prizes worth a combined £8.2million.
That’s because more than 180,000 Premium Bond prize cheques – known as “warrants” – sent in the post have never been delivered.
Alamy More than 180,000 Premium Bond prizes have been lost in the post
In the past year alone, 2,431 prizes worth a combined £66,900 went undelivered, according to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by MoneySavingExpert.com.
The consumer group says the issue is that some people have moved home and not updated their address.
In other cases, there’s a problem with the post itself, which means letters are sent back to NS&I, which doesn’t automatically resend them, according to MoneySavingExpert.com.
And these figures are only about lost cheques. In total, there are 1,579,333 unclaimed Premium Bond prizes as of March 2019, worth more than £61.3million.
Are you a Premium Bond winner?NS&I says that there are over 1.5million Premium Bond prizes yet to be claimed by their rightful owners.
This amounts to over £61million waiting to be paid out to the rightful winners.
If you are registered with NS&I online then it will inform you via email as to whether you have been successful.
Alternatively, if you are not registered online, a letter will be sent to your home address.
But if you have moved house, or changed email address you might well have an unclaimed prize ready for collection.
To check if you’ve won, all you need to do is enter your holder’s number on the NS&I website here.
Megan French, consumer expert at MoneySavingExpert.com, said: “An astounding £8million of Premium Bond prizes have been returned to NS&I, meaning bona fide winners are missing out on the cash they’re owed.
“The prizes are paid by cheque as default, so if you’ve previously won but not asked for your cash to go into your bank account or be reinvested, it’s worth checking if you actually received and cashed your winnings.
“Plus, as a whopper £61million of Premium Bond prizes are currently sitting unclaimed, it’s also worth checking if you’ve won.”
How to check if you’ve got an unclaimed Premium Bond prize
If you know your Premium Bond holder’s number you can check for unclaimed prizes using NS&I’s Premium Bond prize checker tool.
You can also check using the tool in the Premium Bonds iOS and Android apps.
If you don’t know your Premium Bond holder’s number you can find it by logging into your online account service.
Your holder’s number has either ten or nine digits or eight digits followed by a letter.
If you still can’t find your Premium Bond number you can write to NS&I and ask for it.
How to reclaim lost prizes
Once you know if you’ve won a prize but not received it, you’ll need to write to NS&I to reclaim the cash.
Alamy You can switch your prizes to be paid directly into your bank account rather than getting cheques in the post
If your details have changed since you won the prize, you also need to tell NS&I your old address and current details and sign your letter.
NS&I’s postal address is as follows: NS&I, Glasgow, G58 1SB.How to prevent Premium Bond wins from going missing
You should make sure your postal address is updated with NS&I if you have moved since buying your Premium Bonds.
This means that if you are sent prize cheques in the post they should go to the correct address.
You could also switch any prize win payouts so that they’re paid directly into your bank account rather than being issued to you in the post.
To do this you need to register online for NS&I’s online and phone service.
Once done, log in to ‘Your profile’ in the top menu and click ‘Paperless options’. Click ‘Change’ for your Premium Bonds then select ‘Paperless’.
Remember to click ‘Save’ when you’ve finished. Or you can ask NS&I to set this up for you over the phone on 08085 007 007.
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