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Sales of prize bonds up 37% as value of fund hits record level


Sales of prize bonds increased by 37 per cent last year, while the value of the fund grew to €4.1 billion – its highest ever level.

The Prize Bond Company, which administers prize bonds on behalf of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) for retail investment customers, published its 2020 annual report on Friday.

It showed sales of prize bonds increased to €735.7 million, which was up from €537 million in 2019. The value of the fund, which is the total sum invested in prize bonds, was up 12.2 per cent from €3.7 billion in 2019.

The number of cash prizes won by customers increased by 13 per cent to 280,333 from 248,140 the year before. The value of prizes awarded rose by 9.1 per cent to reach €19.2 million.

Founded in 1957, the prize bonds draw is Ireland’s longest running prize draw. The unit price of a prize bond is €6.25 with a minimum purchase of four units, at a total cost of €25. All eligible prize bonds enter a weekly cash draw with more than 3,000 prizes.

Draws are held every week and the top prize is €50,000. There is a €250,000 prize awarded on the last draw of March, June, September and December.

The value of prize bonds cashed in by customers during the year, known as repayments, fell by 5.2 per cent to €283.1 million compared to the same period the year before as customers continued to hold their investments.

Following website enhancements, 16.7 per cent of all prize bond sales in 2020 were generated online compared with 11.3 per cent in 2019.

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Post offices remain the primary point of sale, with over 55 per cent of prize bonds purchased via the network in 2020. Further online services for customers are being rolled out, including the ability for customers to view all their state savings holdings, including prize bonds, in one location online.

Brian Fay, chairman of the Prize Bond Company, said: “With gross sales of €735.7 million for the year, customers are not only investing in prize bonds, but also holding their investments as evidenced by the decline in the value of bonds cashed in, down 5.2 per cent on the previous year.

“The chance to win prizes weekly remains a defining feature of the prize bonds product and part of its enduring popularity.”

At the end of 2020, unclaimed prizes, which are prizes not claimed after six months and which have accumulated since the scheme was established in 1957, amounted to €2.95 million.

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.



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