We’ve all done it, admit it. There you go setting up a shiny new savings account with that £450 million inheritance, then you just completely forget about it (as you do). The number of times Anna’s lost a couple of million is, for a top notch savings website expert, frankly embarrassing.
At least she’s not alone. According to NS&I - or National Savings to us oldies - 7.66 million people think they have investments or savings they’ve lost track of. And two fifths of those forgetful types haven’t even bothered to track down their savings even though they know they’ve lost them.
The most common reasons for doing so are not because they’re so rich they can’t be bothered, but something more mundane: lost account details; or forgetting which accounts they’ve opened in the past; or money saved for children without the kids getting all the details when they grow up.
The amount of money sitting in ‘dormant’ accounts is quite shocking. Some banks and building societies try quite hard to track down lost savers (some do the bare basics) but if they get nowhere, accounts are marked as dormant - and interest rates normally plunge.
So it is a good idea to get hunting for any mislaid savings - you get your money back and, of course, you can usually place this somewhere with a better rate of interest. The first job is to hunt down any paperwork you’ve got – we find that odds-and-sods draw in the kitchen is a good place to start.
There’s a free tracing service online, operated by the banks, building societies and NS&I, to reunite you with your dormant cash. Go to www.mylostaccount.org.uk/ for more information. You can fill your details online, but be aware searches can take three months.
The service isn’t perfect as it only checks dormant accounts. Your accounts might be ‘active’ so won’t show up. For that, you’ll need to contact your bank, building society or NS&I directly - giving as much information as you can, including maiden names, old addresses and postcodes.
Forgetful NS&I customers have been reunited with £450 million via its own tracing service and mylostaccount - and that’s a lot of money. And better still, it didn’t cost them a single penny as the mylostaccount and NS&I tracing services are free. Beware any other services that charge you an upfront fee or commission for doing this for you, as you can get this for free.
Once you’ve got your money back, don’t forget to use our free Rate Tracker or our Best Buy tables to find a nice, new interest-bearing home. And might we recommend our shiny new Rate Tracker Concierge service for the most forgetful of our loyal followers? If you’ve got (or just found) £250,000 or more, we can put it in the best accounts, to suit your financial needs, and also spread your cash between best buy interest rates for the maximum FSCS Compensation Scheme protection.
That way, you won’t lose your cash if you lose your marbles and you won’t lose your cash if your bank loses its marbles. All you have to do is remember who we are. We’re SavingsChampion.co.uk if you’ve already forgotten!