Premium Bonds March 2020: who won the jackpot?

Premium Bonds March 2020: who won the jackpot?

Find out which lucky savers have scooped the March 2020 Premium Bonds jackpot

Brean Horne
Mon, 03/02/2020 – 12:54

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Two lucky Premium Bondholders have scooped the jackpot in the March 2020 prize draw. 

The first eligible Bond number – 250KD320334 – belongs to a woman living in Norwich.

She purchased her winning Bond in July 2015 and has a total holding of £50,000. She is just the third jackpot winner from the East Anglian City. 

This month’s second millionaire is a man based in Cambridgeshire.

With a total holding of £15,700, this lucky saver purchased his winning Bond in July 2018. He is the fourth jackpot millionaire from the area. 

For the March prize draw a total of 3,516,240 prizes worth £100,505,875 will be paid out. 

The table below shows the number of prizes that will be awarded at each value. 

Value of prize Number of prizes
£1,000,000 2
£100,000 6
£50,000 12
£25,000 25
£10,000 60
£5,000 120
£1,000 2,010
£500 6,030
£100 27,565
£50 27,565
£25 3,452,845

Almost 2 million prizes go unclaimed

Currently, there are more than 1.7 million Premiums Bonds prizes worth over £65 million that are still waiting to be claimed. 

Cambridgeshire, for example, has 15,042 unclaimed prizes worth a total of £510,125.

There are six prizes worth £1,000 won between September 1986 and September 2014.

The oldest unclaimed prize in the county is £25 and was won in October 1966 with a total holding of just £1.  

While in Norwich, there are 8,117 unclaimed prizes in Norwich worth a total of £284,500.

The largest unclaimed prizes is £1,000, with seven unsuspecting Premium Bond holders having won this amount between October 1996 and March 2017.

The oldest unclaimed prize in Norwich is worth £25, with Bond number CW056200 winning in December 1971 as part of a holding worth £3.  

How to claim a Premium Bonds prize

You can log into the NS&I website to check if you’ve won a prize.

It’s also possible to find out using the Prize Checker app, which is available on iOS, Android and through Alexa-enabled devices. 

More recently NS&I has introduced text and email notifications which you can sign up to as well. 

How to track down lost Premium Bonds

If you think you have an unclaimed Premium Bond prize, you can use NS&I’s tracing service or the My Lost Account website to help you track them down.

You’ll need to provide details such as your full name, address and an estimate of how many Premium Bonds you hold and how long you’ve had them.

 

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Five credit card myths that could be ruining your credit score

Five credit card myths that could be ruining your credit score

Avoid these five common myths about credit cards to protect your credit score

Brean Horne
Mon, 03/02/2020 – 11:51

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Commonly held misconceptions about credit cards could be putting credit scores across the UK at risk, according to new findings from TotallyMoney.

The financial experts found that 59% of adults wrongly believe that it’s essential to use your credit card every month or risk losing it.

While only 18% of adults knew that spending over 25% of your credit limit could damage your credit score.

Shockingly, over 54% of adults didn’t know that paying off an outstanding balance in full each month could boost their credit score.

Five credit card myths to avoid

Avoid these five credit card myths as they could be putting your credit score at risk. 

1) It’s OK to max out your credit card

Maxing out your credit cards or going close to your credit limit may suggest a heavy reliance on credit for everyday living which could increase your risk of building up debt you can’t repay.

As a rule of thumb, you should keep the balance on your credit card to 25% of your total credit limit.

2) Interest isn’t added if you make minimum repayments

Although the minimum repayments are set by your credit card provider, you will incur interest if you don’t clear your balance.

Interest is only waived during an interest-free offer or by paying off your balance in full each month.

Failing to clear your balance can have a negative impact on your credit score. It could also take up to 26 years to clear your credit card debt on average, if you just made minimum repayments. 

3) Your credit score doesn’t affect the credit deals available to you

A high credit score suggests to a provider that you are a trustworthy person to lend to.

If you seem like a reliable borrower, you’re more likely to access favourable offers and products.

 4) You have to use your credit card every month

You don’t have to use your credit card every month.

The most important thing is to keep your credit usage to under 25% of your total credit limit and clear your balance each month. 

5) You’re more likely to be approved for credit from your bank

Banks do not take how long you’ve been a customer with them into consideration when you apply for credit.

Their decision will be based on your credit history, and how reliable you are as a borrower.

While it may be tempting to stick with your bank for ease, it’s important to shop around if you’re looking for a new credit card.

See what offers are available and if you could get a better deal elsewhere.

Try using an eligibility calculator before applying as this will help give you an idea of the cards you’re most likely to be approved for.

How to improve your credit score

It’s important to keep on top of your credit score as it affects your ability to take out anything from a loan to a mobile phone contract or even car insurance.  

Follow these three simple tips to help improve your credit score.

1) Check your credit report regularly

It’s important to monitor your credit history regularly. This will help you identify any errors that might be affecting your score.

If you spot any inaccuracies of your file, try to get them sorted as soon as possible.

Regularly checking your credit score will also help you identify any instances of fraud.

2) Register to vote

Registering to vote is a quick and easy way to boost your credit rating.

All you have to do is sign up at GOV.UK/register-to-vote.

3) Stay on top of your repayments

Clearing your credit card balance each month as well as keeping on top of other repayments such as a personal loan, will help improve your credit score.

It shows lenders that you are reliable with credit and can manage your debts.

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Thousands of leaseholders have been mis-sold homes and unfairly charged by developers

Thousands of leaseholders have been mis-sold homes and unfairly charged by developers

An investigation by the competition watchdog has found that leaseholders are paying escalating ground rents and excessive fees

Stephen Little
Mon, 03/02/2020 – 10:13

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A government investigation has uncovered “troubling evidence” of potential mis-selling and unfair contract terms in the leasehold housing sector.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) says it is concerned that leasehold homeowners have been unfairly treated by housing developers.

It found that some homeowners were often misled by housing developers that the property was a leasehold and what this meant.

By the time people find out the realities of owning a leasehold, including ground rent charges, they were often unable to pull out of the purchase, or faced significant difficulties trying to do so.

The CMA says homeowners are having to pay escalating ground rents, which in some cases can double every 10 years. This increase is often built into contracts, meaning people can often struggle to sell their homes and find themselves trapped.

The probe found that some homeowners are being charged excessive and disproportionate fees for things like the routine maintenance of a building’s shared spaces or making home improvements.

People have also been misled about the cost of converting their leasehold to freehold ownership.

Some people were told the freehold would cost only a small sum, but later on this price had risen by thousands of pounds with little to no warning.

Andrea Coscelli, the CMA’s chief executive, says: “We have found worrying evidence that people who buy leasehold properties are being misled and taken advantage of.

“Buying a home is one of the most important and expensive investments you can make, and once you’re living there you want to feel secure and happy. But for thousands of leasehold homeowners, this is not the case.

“We’ll be looking carefully at the problems we’ve found, which include escalating ground rents and misleading information, and will be taking our own enforcement action directly in the sector shortly.”

What is the difference between leasehold and freehold?

The freeholder of a property owns the land outright, including the land it is built on. Most houses are freehold, but some are leasehold.

The difference with a leasehold property is that you own the property and its land for a fixed period of time depending on the agreement you have with the landlord – effectively making you a tenant.

Leaseholds usually last between 99 and 125 years, sometimes going up to 999 years.

There are currently four million leasehold properties in the UK, of which 1.4 million are houses.

Taking action

Homeowners can challenge leasehold charges, but the process is often difficult and costly, meaning few people decide to go through with it.

The CMA says it is now completing the necessary legal work to launch direct enforcement action against companies it believes have broken consumer protection law.

This could result in firms signing legal commitments to change how they do business. If they fail to make the required changes, the CMA could take action through the courts to make them comply with the law.

Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, says: “We have long called for action to be taken to help leaseholders who have been misled and treated unfairly.

“For too long, house builders and developers have not been transparent enough about what it actually means to buy a leasehold, which in turn has meant many owners have been faced with escalating ground rents and unreasonable fees, leading them into financial difficulty.

“Our research shows three in five leaseholders feel they were mis-sold and therefore it’s vital enforcement action takes place as soon as possible to give some hope to those who are currently trapped with no easy route out.”

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