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$1.1 Billion in Forgotten Money

Forgotten about that old bank account?

"There are more than a million records of unclaimed money from dormant bank accounts, life insurance, shares and other investments waiting to be claimed and we're keen to reunite people with their money"

Peter Kell, Deputy Chairman of ASIC

In April,  The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) urged Australians to do a quick and free search on ASIC's MoneySmart website to see if a share of $1.1 billion of unclaimed money is theirs.

'Unclaimed money is transferred to the Commonwealth after it's been unclaimed usually for seven years. The unclaimed money managed by ASIC is always claimable by the rightful owner with no time limit on claims. In 2016, over $87m was paid out to more than 16,000 people', mentions Peter.

'It's free, quick and easy to use ASIC's MoneySmart website to search for your name or family and friends, just visit www.moneysmart.gov.au'.

There are vastly different amounts of forgotten money waiting to be claimed ranging from a few dollars to over a million. The approximate amounts of unclaimed money available broken down by State and Territory are:
Figure 1: Unclaimed money held by ASIC by State and Territory, approximate amounts (rounded), April 2017
People may find they have unclaimed money if they:
  • ​Have moved house without letting their financial institution know;
  • Have not transacted on their cheque or savings account for seven years;
  • Stopped making payments on a life insurance policy;
  • Notice that regular dividend or interest cheques have stopped coming; or
  • Were an executor of a deceased estate.

How do I claim?

Once a person has found unclaimed money using ASIC's MoneySmart online search, they need to contact the relevant bank or other financial institution where the money is held if the money is listed as 'banking' or 'life insurance'. The institution will assess and lodge a claim with ASIC. ASIC aims to process claims within 28 days of receiving all necessary claim documentation and release the funds back to the institution.

Mr Kell advises that, 'If you find you have unclaimed money, ASIC's MoneySmart website offers free and impartial financial guidance and online tools to help you use it wisely and make the most of your money'.

Source: ASIC Wednesday 26 April 2017  

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