SAVERS are pouring money into Prize Bonds despite the amount they can win being pared back earlier this year.
Close to €200m more was spent on the State-backed bonds last year compared with 2019.
This took the value of Prize Bonds to a record €4.1bn.
Consumers bought €735.7m of the bonds last year.
This was an increase of 37pc on the total sales figure of €537m in 2019.
It meant the value of the Prize Bonds fund at end of 2020 reached €4.1bn, an increase of 12.2pc on 2019 and the highest in the scheme’s history.
The Prize Bond scheme was founded in 1957.
A sales surge was recorded despite the fund for Prize Bonds being cut in February.
Instead of two €1m top prizes a year for those with Prize Bonds, there is now four €250,000 top prizes a year. This is an effective cut of €1m in the top prize.
There are now 10 prizes of €1,000, and 10 prizes of €500. The remaining prize fund will be awarded in €50 prizes.
However, the Prize Bonds company said the number of cash prizes won by customers increased by 13pc to 280,333 last year.
Chairman of the State-owned Prize Bond Company Brian Fay said the rise in sales underscored the product’s “long-standing appeal as a unique and secure investment choice among retail customers”
He said holders of the bonds have a chance to win a large number of prizes each week while retaining the value of their investment.
The value of Prize Bonds cashed in by customers during the year, known as repayments, fell by 5.2pc to €283m compared to the same period in 2019
He said the value of prizes awarded rose by 9.1pc to reach €19.2m last year.
Some 17pc of sales were online last year. But the Post Office remains the primary point of sale, with over 55pc of Prize Bonds purchased via the network in 2020.
Currently, more than 4,000 prizes are issued weekly and a €250,000 prize draw takes place four times a year, in March, June, September and December.
Mr Fay said that at the end last, prizes not claimed after six months and which have accumulated since Prize Bonds was established in 1957 amounted to €2.95m.
He said 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.