How To Claim Your Missing Money

How To Claim Your Missing Money
Underwater by Andy Deitsch. Why?

There’s thought to be up to £77 billion in unclaimed money sitting in pensions, investments, bank accounts and many other places, so here are some links to help you claim what’s rightfully yours.

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1. Pensions

According to the Pension Tracing Service, there’s in excess of £5 billion in pension schemes going unclaimed.

During our working lives, we have an average of 11 jobs.  As a result, it’s easy to lose track of employee pensions, particularly after relatively short periods of employment. 

Individual pensions are just as easy to ‘mislay’.  Over the years, you may have been sold one or more arrangements.  Or you may have contracted out of the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme.

Unless you keep all your pension providers up to date with your current address, and whenever you change your name, it’s likely you’ll lose out.

To find out if you’re entitled to a share of unallocated pension money, contact the Pension Tracing Service

It’s free and impartial.  You can start the process online, although you’ll be sent documents that you need to sign in order for it to search on your behalf.

Another useful source is the Pensions Advisory Service.  It’s also free, providing lots of useful tips, advice and search tools.


2. Investments

If you think you might hold shares in a company, but you don’t have a record of them and you can’t find the share certificates, you should contact any or all of the three main company registrars: Capita; Computershare; Equiniti.

Each one will search its records for free.  If your shares are located, you’ll probably be charged a fee for a replacement certificate.  But it could be a small price to pay compared to the value of your holding.

If you draw a blank with the registrars, you could contact The Investment Association or the Association of Investment Companies who might be able to help.


3. Bank And Building Society Accounts

According to the Money Advice Service, there’s roughly £850 million sitting unclaimed in British bank and building society accounts.

With the Government actively encouraging us to consider switching, the likelihood of losing money along the way has significantly increased in recent years.

Fortunately, it’s easy to check using a free online service called My Lost Account.

It covers more than 30 banks and all 44 UK building societies.  It’ll help you trace any lost personal accounts.  It's particularly useful in instances where a bank or building society has closed or merged. 

Banks and building societies say they aim to respond within three months.


4. Premium Bonds

National Savings & Investments (NS&I) reports that there are more than 1.5 million unclaimed prizes worth more than £60m.

The My Lost Account service can tell you if you hold any Premium Bonds of which you may not be aware.

Whilst that’s useful information, you’ll really want to know if those missing Premium Bonds have won a prize over the years.

Stage two is to find out whether you hold a prize-winning number by visiting NS&I and filling in the online form.  NS&I says it’ll respond within one month.

It’s worth noting that Premium Bonds bought more than 30 years ago are likely to be individually numbered.  You may need to write to NS&I at Glasgow, G58 1SB.


5. Lost Insurance Policies

Many life insurance and savings policies can last for years, if not decades.  As a result, they’re easily forgotten.

Unclaimed Assets UK, which helps to trace lost money, estimates there’s around £2bn languishing in unclaimed life insurance.

To find out if a deceased person had a life insurance policy, it can be helpful to go through old bank statements or cancelled cheques to see if any premiums were paid.

You could also contact the people who dealt with their legal or financial matters and even past employers.


6. Lottery Wins

In September 2018, there was almost £12 million in unclaimed National Lottery prizes.

To check whether you’ve won an unclaimed lottery prize, go to the National Lottery website. 

If you click on the ‘check results’ tab, you’ll find a section on unclaimed prizes.  It allows you to input numbers for Lotto, EuroMillions, ThunderBall, Lotto HotPicks and EuroMillions HotPicks.

All prizes have to be claimed within 180 days.  After 180 days, any unclaimed prizes go to fund National Lottery projects.


7. Child Trust Funds

Tax-free Child Trust Funds saw children born between 2002 and 2011 given a government bonus of £250 each.  Incredibly, more than one million such bonuses were classified as ‘addressee gone away’, meaning they’re unclaimed.

According to The Share Centre, as much as £1 billion could be lost.

To find out if you, or more accurately your child might be one of them, simply submit a request via Gov.uk.  You’ll need a Government Gateway ID, which you will already have if you submit a tax return.


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