The first premium bond prize draw was held 65 years ago, when one lucky person won the top prize of £1,000 on 1 June 1957.
Millions of savers today enter a month’s draw hoping to win the £1 million jackpot – and Agent Million is the mysterious man whose job it is to deliver the good news to the winner every month.
Since the launch of Premium Bonds, Ernie (Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment), the machine that generates winning numbers, has paid out Over 562 million prizes worth £22.9 billion.
But this is the big prize that people really want. We polled the brains of Agent Million to find out what it’s like to hit the jackpot.
What are premium bonds?
Premium bonds are a way to save, but are different from a standard savings account because they do not offer interest.
Instead, you have a regular chance to win prizes, which range from £25 to a £1 million jackpot.
They are also popular because they are government-backed products, which means they come with very little risk.
Premium bonds can be purchased from National Savings and Investments (NS&I), and you can invest and withdraw money whenever you want.
You need to invest a minimum of £25 to get started and you can invest up to £50,000.
The more you invest, the higher the number of premium bonds you will have and the higher your chances of winning.
Every month, you can use ns&i premium bond rewards checker online to see if your numbers come through.
Do I have to invest a lot of money to have a chance to win?
No! Agent Million says the person with the smallest holding ever to win the jackpot was someone from Newham, London, who had just £17 in premium bonds.
The man had held their bond since 1959, and won in 2004, meaning they also hold the record for the longest wait time to win the top prize.
In June, NS&I (National Savings and Investments), which offers bonds, Premium bond award amount increased from 1% to 1.4% Increasing your odds of winning from 34,500-to-one to 24,500-to-one, and adding more than a million prizes to this month’s draw.
How does it feel to tell someone that they have won £1 million?
“The best bit of the job is the adventure,” said an agent Milian, who spoke to Sun On condition that he remain anonymous.
NS&I actually has a small team of “Agent Millions”—not just one—that travel the country each month to knock on the doors of the biggest winners.
Agent Milian told us she’s been playing the role for four years, and can be sent anywhere in the country to personally tell people they’ve won money.
“Essentially you’re going to change people’s lives,” she said.
“I always tell my winners, I think the best part about winning the jackpot is that it gives you so many options that you didn’t have before.”
Before knocking on his door, Agent Million only knows that person’s name, address and how much he had invested in premium bonds.
How do people react?
Tears, shock and offering a cup of tea are things that people almost always do when they get the news.
“You get to see such a wide range of people in different situations, and it’s just a pleasure,” says Agent Milian.
“At first, it’s a flick of wide eyes, and then there are always tears and then they’re asking you ‘Do you want a cup of tea or some cake?’
“Champagne’s out already!”
Agent Million will also of course come up with a lot of evidence that the person actually won, to make people believe that they Fraud,
What is a particularly memorable trip you have made?
“One of the best was the first person I went to [after things opened up a bit more] After EpidemicSays Agent Million.
Winner had been shielding for the past few years, so the agent was cautious about asking Milian to house it.
“So we started a conversation in the garden.
“The winner was with his spouse and ended in a flood of tears, and they couldn’t believe it, especially after such a hard time.”
Winning a million pounds inevitably changes people’s lives, and Agent Milian said people often want to spend money on basic things such as their own heating bills Without worrying about or repairing a broken fence, as well as fulfilling lifelong ambitions.
“Another woman I was talking to was married and had kids, but she always wanted to take flying lessons,” says Agent Milian.
“As she got older, that dream was put on the sidelines, but when she won, she said the first thing on her list was to take flying lessons.”
Do you have any advice for winners?
There is one piece of advice that Agent Million gives to every winner – and that is not to tell anyone they have won.
“One woman took it very literally and didn’t tell her husband for a week,” she says.
Giving the news can be so exciting that Agent Milian said she sometimes struggles to stay calm to herself — but holding her nerve helps other people feel calm, too.
Still, potentially changing one’s life is a very rewarding responsibility.
“It’s just awesome, an absolute privilege.”
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