Premium Bond prize rate increases to 3.3%

From the March draw you’ve got a better chance of winning.

After some massive base rate increases from the Bank of England, the Premium Bond prize rate is also on the up, moving from 3.15% to 3.3%.

Here’s what this means for your chance of winning, and how it compares to the latest best buy savings accounts.

What are Premium Bonds

Premium Bonds are effectively savings accounts held with the government. Rather than getting interest back on your savings, you are entered into a draw with a top prize each month of £1 million.

Other prizes vary between £25 and £100,000 and if you do win it’s all tax-free. You can read more about how they work here.

The new Prize Rate

From the March 2023 draw, the prize rate is 3.3%. This is up from the 3.15% rate set just last month and is the fifth increase in eleven months.

There will be the same number of prizes available (a total of 4.99 million), but total prize fund will be worth an extra £15 million (there’s now an estimated total prize fund of £329 million). This is down to a change in how many of each prizes are available.

The odds stay the same, so you’re just as likely to win as in recent draws, but if you do win you’ll probably win a bigger prize.

So while there are 240,000ish fewer £25 prizes, there are 120,000 more £50 and 120,000 more £100 prizes. And there are smaller increases for prizes between £500 and 100,000.

How much could you win?

Here’s how the new increased draw compares to the one at the start of February 2023. As you can see there are more “higher value” prizes, so if you win you’re likely to win more money than in previous draws, but you’re just as likely to win a prize.

Value of prizes in February 2023Number of prizes in February 2023Value of prizes in March 2023 (estimated)Number of prizes in March 2023 (estimated)
Total £314,347,875Total 4,989,652Total £329,316,825Total 4,989,652
Source NS&I

Previous prize rates

  • February 2023 – 3.15%
  • January 2023 – 3%
  • September 2022 – December 2022: 2.2%
  • May 2022 – August 2022: 1.4%
  • December 2020 – April 2022: 1%

What you’ll probably win

It’s hard to give an exact figure on your likely winnings as 3.15% on Premium Bonds doesn’t mean you get £3.15 back for every £100. That’s the average return if you have average luck.

In reality, it’s only those with close to the maximum £50,000 who are likely to get close to this rate (on average – it could be more or less). While those with less than a grand are likely to win nothing at all.

The MoneySavingExpert Premium Bonds calculator gives a good indication of the wins over a year. It won’t update to the 3.3% rate until after the March draw, but based on January’s 3% Prize Rate, you could expect to get the following:

  • £5,000 saved would get you on average £100 in prizes (2%)
  • £7,500 saved would get you on average £175 in prizes (2.3%)
  • £10,000 saved would get you on average £225 in prizes (2.25%)
  • £25,000 saved would get you on average £600 in prizes (2.4%)
  • £50,000 saved would get you on average £1,275 in prizes (2.55%)

Obviously these amounts and equivalent rates will increase based on a 3.3% prize rate, but expect them to also be still below the headline rate.

And there’s a good chance you’ll get nothing. Since the smallest prize is £25, you’d think you’d need £800 saved to get the prize rate. But it’s not that simple. With this rate change, the odds of a bond (not a person) winning something are 24,000:1. That means for every 24,000 bonds, only one bond will win a prize and 23,999 bonds won’t.

How they compare to savings accounts

The highest paying easy-access savings account right now with no limit on the balance is from Chip, paying 3.05%. Though that’s lower than the Prize Rate of 3.3%, that is a guaranteed return on all balances, and it could be easy-access account increase in light of the lastest premium bond hike.

And it’s also likely higher than what even someone with average luck on Premium Bonds will get. So if you want certainty or have smaller amounts, that’s a winner.

If you can put close to the full £50,000 in then you might get close to 3%, or perhaps more, in which case Premium Bonds could be worth considering. However, you can get higher rates on smaller amounts elsewhere.

Barclays pays 5.12% on up to £5,000 for Blue Reward customers, while the Regular Saver from First Direct offers 7% (though only on £300 a month). These are likely better bets for your initial deposits.

Plus, one-year fixes are around 4.2% – so if you don’t think you’ll need the money for a year then these blow Premium Bonds out of the water.

However it’s worth noting that any prizes won via Premium Bonds are tax free. With interest rates increasing it could be you’re closer to going over your personal savings allowance, so money in Premium Bonds could help you avoid tax.

Or if you’re (or about to be) an additional rate taxpayer then it’s an option instead or as well as ISAs.

What about future interest rises?

We’ve seen 11 successive interest rate rises from the Bank of England since December 2021, and it’s probable we’ll see some more increases to this base rate 2023. If that happens, it will mean some savings accounts will (eventually) react and move their rates up again.

This would mean that even more banks will beat this new Premium Bonds prize rate. Again, giving you the certainty of the return you get.

Of course, NS&I could also then increase the prize rate for Premium Bonds again – though there’s no guarantee it’ll happen straight away.

Buying Premium Bonds

When to buy

If you’re tempted by the increased rate, there’s one very important rule you need to know about. Your money needs to have been held in Premium Bonds for a full month before it’s entered into a draw.

That means this March draw will only be for anyone who saved prior to the end of Janaury 2023. If you have put any money in February 2022, you won’t have a chance of winning until April 2023.

This also means it makes sense to deposit money right at the end of a month than at any other time.

How to buy

You buy PBs from NS&I website or over the phone at a cost of £1 each, but you have to buy at least £25 worth. You have to be over 16 years old to buy Premium Bonds for yourself. If you are buying them for children, the account will be held by the parents/legal guardians until the child reaches 16.

5 thoughts on “Premium Bond prize rate increases to 3.3%

  1. Jacqueline Powner March 13, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have a premium bond that was given to me at birth it’s only a £1 one but was wandering if it was worth anything

  2. I have a few bonds from years ago how can I check if they have ever won a prize. I have changed addresses since they were first purchased and I thought that they had been lost in the moving, they have just been discovered again and I was just wondering about them.

    1. Inform NS and I of your latest address. You can check online if your PB’s have won anything.

  3. But Al-Rayan’s 2.1% is not actually guaranteed, nor more importantly is it tax free (although the recent “mini-budget” has made this less important now.

    1. It is actually tax free and always has been.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.