Prize bond sales fall as fund reaches record high of €3.6bn

Number of prizes and value of winnings rose last year

Prize bonds are a form of State savings products offered by the NTMA and are ultimately part of the Republic’s national debt.

Prize bonds are a form of State savings products offered by the NTMA and are ultimately part of the Republic’s national debt.

 

Gross prize bond sales last year fell by more than 6 per cent to €537 million but the value of the prize bonds fund rose to a record high of €3.655 billion.

The Prize Bond Company, which administers the bonds on behalf of the National Treasury Management Agency, said that the value of the prize bonds fund rose 7 per cent on 2018, the highest in the scheme’s history.

The company said it has seen an increase in sales “in recent weeks, which has since steadied to normal levels of purchasing”. The company declined to set out the extent of the increase in sales.

Both the volume and value of prizes last year rose compared to 2018. The number of prizes awarded increased by 10.5 per cent to 248,140 while the value of prizes awarded rose by 7.2 per cent to €17.6 million. The average prize was worth €70.90, down from the €73.06 average recorded last year.

Prize bonds are a form of State savings products offered by the NTMA and are ultimately part of the Republic’s national debt. The unit price of a bond is is €6.25 with a minimum purchase of four units required, at a total cost of €25.

More than 5,000 prizes are issued weekly and a €1 million prize draw takes place twice a year, in June and December.

About 11 per cent of prize bond sales last year were generated online while 55 per cent were purchased via the post office network. The value of bonds cashed in by customers fell by 9 per cent to €298.7 million as customers opted to retain their bonds.

At the end of 2019, unclaimed prizes which have accumulated since prize bonds were established in 1957 amounted to €2.86 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.