How to trace lost bank accounts, pensions and premium bonds

How to trace lost bank accounts, pensions and premium bonds
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Some £850m is languishing in old current and savings accounts proving how easy it can be to lose track of our money! The internet is littered with unregulated sites that offer tracing services for a fee - but our recommendations can genuinely help you trace your money.

Finding forgotten bank accounts and savings

To find an old bank account, search your home for paperwork and cheque books. Any information you find - even if you don’t find an account number - can be taken to your bank or building society who may be able to help.

You can also use Mylostaccount which brings together the tracing schemes of the British Bankers’ Association (020 7216 8909), the Building Societies’ Association (020 7520 5900) and NS&I (including old Post Office Savings Bank accounts). Simply fill in the online application form and they’ll respond within three months.

You can also check if one of your relatives had an account frozen in the Second World War via Restoreuk (020 7216 8909).

Tracing pensions

An employee typically accumulates a dozen pensions over a working life, so it's easy to lose track - this explains why £400 billion worth of retirement savings go unclaimed.

Free help is at hand with the Pensions Tracing Service (0345 6002 537). It won't find the money for you but it will give you details of the pension scheme administrators so you can write to them and find out how much you may have. The service has information on more than 200,000 schemes.

From March, it should be easier to view your pension pots – including your State Pension - in one place with the launch of the Pensions Dashboard. So far, 11 providers including Aviva and Standard Life have signed up to the project which will be managed by the Association of British Insurers. Read our guide to the new dashboard.

Recovering investments

You can recover lost investment trusts by contacting The Association of Investment Companies (020 7282 5555 or emailing enquiries@theaic.co.uk. For help in finding unit trusts and OEICS, you can contact the Investment Association on 020 7831 0898 or email enquiries@theinvestmentassociation.org.

To hunt down old life insurance and endowment policies use the free website Policy Detective. Another avenue to try is the Unclaimed Assets Register (0844 481 81 80) which holds 4.5m records from around 75 different providers. However, there is a £25 fee per search.

If you have share certificates contact the share registrar whose name appears on the certificates. If you think you own shares but don’t know what you own, you can contact each of the three main share registrars – Capita Registrars (0871 664 0300) , Computershare (0870 703 0143) and Equiniti (0871 384 2030).

How to check if you've won!

  • Lotteries There is currently an unclaimed Lotto prize of £8.1m and several of £1m! The rules say that if you've won, you have six months (180 days) from the date of the draw to claim. Miss the deadline, and the money goes to good causes. Check your tickets via National Lottery
  • Premium bonds There's no limit for claiming NS&I bond prizes and currently there's £52m up for grabs including two prizes of £100,000. Search for outstanding prizes using the prize checker at NSandI or call free on 0500 007 007.
     
  • For more money-saving tips, pick up the latest copy of Yours magazine