Find Lost Bank Accounts in the UK
It is believed that there is over £15 billion that exists in accounts and investments that people have forgotten about over time. The process of reclaiming this money is not that difficult. It is certainly worth spending ten minutes or so to try and find out whether you have one of these accounts.
What Is A Lost Asset?
A lost asset is a bank account or investment that has not been used for a period of time. There are vast amounts of money in these lost accounts and if they remain dormant for fifteen years, then the money is donated to the governments Big Society Fund that is used for social and community causes. If your account has been dormant for longer than fifteen years, you will still be able reclaim the money that was in the account, even if it had been paid into the Big Society scheme.
How Do I Know If I Have A Lost Asset?
The nature of a lost account generally means that people are not aware if they have them or not.
There are two main things that will indicate that an asset has been lost from the point of view of the provider.
- Letters and statements have been returned. This is an indication that the account holder has moved but not provided them with their new address. If this is the case the provider will try and get in touch with the account holder using any other contact details they have.
- There has been a long period of inactivity. The period given before an account is considered to be lost will depend on what type of account it is.
Current accounts will be considered to be dormant if there has been no activity in twelve months. For savings accounts the period of time can be as long as five years.
If you think that you may have a lost account, then you don’t have a lot to lose by trying to track it down.
Is There A Tool To Trace Lost Bank And Savings Accounts?
There are tools that you can use to trace lost accounts. One of the most user friendly of these tools is My Lost Account. It is also one of the most popular, with over 8000 claims made each month.
My Lost Account is a joint venture between the Building Societies Association, National Savings and Investments and the British Bankers Association. It allows you to complete just one form to search accounts that are offered by all of these providers.
You can fill out the form that will allow any lost accounts to be found online. This is the preferred method because it means your query can be dealt with more quickly. It also means that you only have to fill the form out once.
Banks and building societies will respond to your search within three months so don’t worry too much if you do not hear anything straight away. The service is completely free to use.
If you believe that you do have an account with a bank or building society, but they can’t find any record of it, then you can use their internal complaints procedure to make an appeal. If you follow this process but are still not satisfied, then you can refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman.
How Can I Trace Lost Premium Bonds?
The My Lost Account service can also be used to help you find old Premium Bonds. You will also be able to use it to find any other accounts that you have with National Savings and Investments.
You can search for lost accounts by filling in the online form, or requesting a paper version if you wish. If any account is found, then NS&I will inform you in writing. They will get back to you within one month of your claim being submitted.
If you do find that you have Premium Bonds which were lost, then you can check the NS&I website to see if any of these have been winners.
How Can I Find Hidden Pensions And Investments?
Money in pensions and investments can also be reclaimed if it has been lost. More details about the two most popular search tools can be found below.
The Pension Tracing Service
This is a service that is provided by the Government and can help track down any pensions that you may have paid into in the past. Losing contact with a pension company may affect your entitlement to certain benefits once you are retired, and so it is important to stay in touch if you can, or find details of accounts that you may have lost. This service has the details of more than 200,000 pension schemes.
Unclaimed Assets Register
This service is run by Experian and can be to trace pensions, investments and insurance policies. Filling out a single form means the service will search through all the providers that are signed up to the service. There are more than 75 providers signed up currently and this gives access to over 4.5 million records.
If the service finds an account in your name, then you will be informed of the name of the company that it is held with. You can then make a claim with this company directly. There is a fee of £25 that is charged for making a search with the register.
Can I Claim Assets Of Relatives That Have Passed Away?
You are able to claim money in the accounts of relatives who are now deceased. If you believe that there may be accounts out there that belonged to your relatives that have recently passed away, then you should contact banks and building societies directly.
If accounts are found, then you may be asked to prove your identity and your relationship to the deceased. The process will always run more smoothly if a will has been left, but this is not always essential.
Releasing the funds from an account of someone who has passed away can take some time, and so you will need to be patient. Generally speaking, the more money that is involved, the longer the whole process can take.