The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is urging Australians to do a quick and free search on its MoneySmart website to see if a share of unclaimed money totalling $1.1 billion is theirs.
There are vastly different amounts of forgotten money waiting to be claimed, ranging from a few dollars to over a million.
“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,” said ASIC’s Deputy Chairman Peter Kell.
“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,” Mr Kell said.
Often people will find they have unclaimed money if:
- they moved house without letting a bank or institution know
- have not made a transaction on a cheque or savings account for seven years
- stopped making payments on a life insurance policy
- were the executor of a deceased estate
New South Wales leads the way with $380 million in unclaimed money, with $319 million in Sydney alone. Victoria has the next most money being held with $197 million, while Queensland is third with $112 million.
You can complete a quick and easy search on the moneysmart.gov.au website by just entering your name and starting the search.
If you do find some money that is yours, the next step is to find the nature of the money that is owing to you and contact the relevant bank or financial institution. They will assess and lodge a claim with ASIC. If the claim is successful, ASIC will release the funds back to the financial institution within 28 days and you will be able to gain access to the money after this time.
Have you ever discovered lost funds on the ASIC site? If you did, what did you do with your unexpected windfall?
Do the search at moneysmart.gov.au