8 Places You Can Instantly Find Money You Didn’t Know You Had


Today a homeless man has gone viral after discovering £300 in a ‘hidden’ bank account he didn’t even know he had. The man said the money has completely transformed his life, and now he’s inspired others to write the simple 5-minute check.

What you might not realize is that there are currently billions of pounds hidden away from people who don’t know they have them. And it’s easy to check.

Up to £77billion is currently unclaimed in forgotten investments, pensions, bank accounts and a range of other places in the UK – and most can be recovered within minutes – if you know where look for.

READ MORE: Everyone urged to check if they have a ‘hidden’ savings account after man finds £300 in his

For example, around 10 million people have lost bank accounts in Britain, costing £411 each. Known as “zombie” accounts, these are often the ones we forget when we switch bank accounts, but you can always get the money back.

To help you find it – and more – the shimmer ran through the best places to move lost cash below.

1. Occupational retirement savings

In fact, there is currently over £5billion in forgotten pension schemes, according to the Pension Tracing Service. There are also over 200,000 schemes in the UK and, with the average person changing jobs 11 jobs in their lifetime, it can be very easy to lose sight of where each pot goes. But there are ways to get the money back.

The Pension Tracing Service is free and unbiased, and you can start the process online, but you will then receive documents which you will need to sign and return.

Alternatively, you can try the Pensions Advisory Service, another free service offering lots of useful tips, advice and research tools. You can use it to find contact details for your own (or former) occupational or personal pension plan or find contact details for someone else’s plan if you have their permission.

Remember that if a close relative has died without receiving their pension, you may also be entitled to their pension. We have a complete guide on how to find and claim a lost pension, here.

2. Forgotten bank accounts

According to the Money Advice Service, there is currently £850m unclaimed in UK bank accounts – often because the person did not close their old one when they switched to another lender.

MoneySupermarket estimates that there are 10,181,820 such accounts in the UK and residents of Plymouth have the most money dormant – typically £1,938 per account. And women are the most guilty. While the men have £358 to lose, the women have £454 left untouched.

Fortunately, it’s easy to check using a free online service called My lost account. It is managed by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), the Building Societies Association (BSA) and National Savings and Investments (NS&I).

It covers over 30 banks and all 44 building societies in the UK and will help you find any lost personal accounts that have been listed as ‘dormant’. To start a search, you will need to fill out an online form here.

It is particularly useful in cases where a bank or building society has closed or merged. Banks and building societies say they aim to respond within three months. If you think you might have money somewhere but My Lost Account shows no indication of it, check your credit report instead as this will list all accounts – including joint accounts – currently open to your name.

3. Premium Bonds

According to NS&I, there are over 1.5million unclaimed prizes worth over £60million in the UK. The My Lost Account service can tell you if you have premium bonds that you may not have been aware of.

You can also find out if you’ve missed any prices by visiting NS&I and checking out its online price checker. For backdated winnings you can download a list of all unclaimed bond numbers here or contact NS&I directly – they will get back to you within a month.

Keep in mind that bonds purchased over 30 years ago are unlikely to have a premium bondholder number associated with them – you will likely only have individually numbered bonds. If so, you can write to NS&I to request one.

4. Lost insurance policies

Life insurance is just one of many policies that last for years – and can therefore easily be forgotten over time. In fact, a website called UK Unclaimed Assetswhich is run by Experian, estimates there’s £2bn of unclaimed life insurance – and it can help you track it all down for £25 per search.

The same goes for many other policies that you may not know you are paying for. Many of us will be clearing our direct debits this month as those New Year’s resolutions kick in. But, if you spot bounties you weren’t aware of or no longer need, you may be able to claim them.

If you spot a policy you never purchased, file a complaint with the company and demand every penny in return. This is especially the case if you no longer have the product – as this proves that you were not knowingly paying for it. A 2018 Mirror investigation found that hundreds of Currys PC World customers were paying for product insurance they were unaware of.

As of September 2018, there were nearly £12million in unclaimed National Lottery prizes, but all must be claimed within 180 days. To check if you have won an unclaimed lottery prize, go to National Lottery websiteclick on the “Check Results” tab and you will find a section on unclaimed prizes.

This lists all unclaimed big prizes and the site allows you to enter numbers for Lotto, EuroMillions, ThunderBall, Lotto HotPicks and EuroMillions HotPicks. After 180 days, any unclaimed prizes go to fund national lottery schemes, which are often UK charities.

6. Children’s Trust Fund

All children born between 2002 and 2011 received a government bonus of £250 each, with an additional £250 later if the parents were on low incomes, but over a million of these bonuses were classed as “gone recipient”, which means they have not been claimed.

The scheme, set up under Gordon Brown in 2005, gave parents a head start in saving for their child’s future, while ensuring that every child comes of age with a nest egg, no matter whatever its origin. However, while the average balance on these accounts is now £2,175, The Share Center estimates that up to £1million could be lost.

To find out if you, or more specifically your child, may be one of them, submit a request via GOV.UK – you will need a government gateway ID, which you will already have if you submit a tax return.

Steve Ferrari, Managing Director of Child Trust Funds at OneFamily, said: “As of last September, more than 75,000 children in Child Trust Funds will turn 16, with the average amount held in an account with OneFamily from this group at 2 £175, these children can look forward to a healthy nest egg to spend on their future endeavours.

“This group of kids turning 16 this month, and in the coming year, will have done particularly well, thanks in part to the strong return on investment of 108%, which more than doubled their initial investment. since their inception, but in addition they are the group that received an extra voucher at the age of seven.”

To track down a children’s trust fund, parents can use The dedicated HMRC page. Parents will need to provide both their own information as well as that of their child, and once it has been submitted they should receive the information on where the trust fund for the child’s child is. detained within 15 days. If not, here’s our guide to how to find a lost Child Trust Fund.

7. Piggy bank

A new £1 coin was introduced in 2017 to accompany the new £5 and £10 notes, meaning the old paper notes are now cancelled. However, if you hid any, you might be sitting on a small savings jar.

In August last year, more than 169 million old £1 coins were still in people’s money jars – but take them to your local bank or building society and you might put them in bank instead. If you have old banknotes, Bankofengland.co.uk also says they will exchange them for valid banknotes instead – you can do this by post or in person at the Bank of England in the City of London (from Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.).

Damaged banknotes will need to be sent to the Bank of England Treasury Center in Leeds – details can be found here. While you’re there, look for rare coins such as the Peter Rabbit or the Kew Gardens 50p. These are worth a mint on eBay.co.uk as collectors are willing to pay surprisingly huge sums for them.

8. lost legacy

It is not uncommon for people to die without a will or next of kin, and in cases where this happens the money goes to an official list and then to the treasury if unclaimed. If you know of a relative who died within the past 30 years and may have left unclaimed property, you can try to find them. This can be done for free using the government treasury attorney or for a fee through a private company.

Through it, you can check the names of those who died and left unclaimed property dating back to 1997. Relatives have 12 years to come forward to claim their inheritance. The ultimate term is 30 years, but that’s at the discretion of the treasury attorney and he won’t pay interest for the last 18 years.

Because the list is public, genealogy companies like Finders International, Title Research, and Fraser & Fraser also frequently check to see if there is anyone easily found who might be owed money.

They then contact people who might be in line for the money and offer to check if they are owed. This may incur a fee – either fixed or a percentage of the inheritance – if you end up receiving the money, but you’re usually free to check if you’re eligible. Alternatively, you can do your own research and file a claim yourself. Here’s our guide on how to do it.


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