Wicklow residents are among the luckiest holders of Prize Bonds, having won more than €470,000 in prizes last year. This is according to The Prize Bond Company DAC, which administers Prize Bonds on behalf of the National Treasury Management Agency, and which has published its 2018 Annual Report.
Wicklow’s total winnings were €470,750, with 8,781 prizes won in the county. A Prize Bonds customer can win a €1 million prize on the last draw of June and December, while a top prize of €50,000 is awarded in every other weekly draw. Other cash prizes awarded each week include prizes to the value of €1,000, €500 and €50.
Prize Bonds continue to grow in popularity with customers and strong sales in 2018 contributed to an almost 8.0% increase in the overall value of the fund to over €3.4 billion, the highest in the 61-year history of the Prize Bonds scheme. The year was also a milestone for the Prize Bond Company itself which marks 30 years since it first began the Prize Bonds operation in 1989.
Gross sales in 2018 were €574 million as customers continued to purchase Prize Bonds, attracted by the security of investment offered and chance to win a significant number of prizes. Repayments of Prize Bonds during the year totalled €328 million, an increase of 11% on last year’s repayments total (2017: €295 million). Overall, the fund value increased by almost 8.0% to over €3.415 billion, a new record in the history of the Prize Bond Scheme.
Currently over 4,600 prizes are issued weekly, and the number of prizes awarded in 2018 totalled 224,474 (2017: 302,064), while the value of prizes amounted to €16.4 million (2017: 21.3 million).
During 2018 a new improved website was launched, making it easier for customers to find out information about Prize Bonds and make repeat purchases online. Since the website launched, some 8.0% of sales are now completed online. Further service enhancements are planned in the coming years, including online visibility of all State Savings products held by a customer at any one time. With over 50% of Prize Bonds still purchased at a Post Office, new improvements in the purchase process for Post Office customers are also planned.
Mr. John Daly, Chairman of the Prize Bond Company said: “We are pleased to mark 30 years of the Prize Bond Company and report a very strong performance for Prize Bonds in 2018. Customers are investing with confidence in this unique State Savings product, and that is reflected in the figures released today. Gross sales of €574 million and an 8.0% increase in the value of the fund to more than €3.4 billion has made 2018 a record year for the scheme. Our new website has made repeat purchases online convenient for retail investment customers who are increasingly looking for digital platforms to view and manage their investments with State Savings. Being able to service Prize Bonds customers’ needs across a variety of channels, including the Post Office network, remains a key focus for the company in the year ahead.”
At the end of 2018, unclaimed prizes accumulated since the launch of the product in 1957 amounted to €2.74 million, which represents a small portion of the value of prizes awarded since the launch of the scheme. Unclaimed prizes are held indefinitely until claimed by a bond holder and every prize winner is contacted at the address last registered with the Prize Bond Company. Full details of all prizes are included in a database listed on www.StateSavings.ie for customers to check.