There’s an estimated £850 million lying unclaimed in lost bank accounts. If you think some of it’s yours, don’t let it go to waste! It’s simple and free to check whether you have long-lost bank or building society accounts or savings with National Savings and Investments (NS&I). You can also check online for unclaimed Premium Bond prizes.
- How to trace lost accounts
- Using my lost account
- Tracing lost Ulster Savings Certificates
- Checking for unclaimed Premium Bond prizes
- What to do if you have a complaint about the bank or disagree with their response
How to trace lost accounts
If you’re trying to locate an old bank account, your first step is talk to the bank or building society.
If your bank can’t help you, or you just can’t remember which bank or building society the account was with, read on to learn how to use ‘my lost account’.
What is a ‘lost’ account?
A lost account is one that your bank or building society has marked as inactive, because:
- There’s been no account activity. Usually for at least three years.
- They haven’t managed to contact you. Usually because of a change of address.
Using my lost account
Often accounts go missing because people change their address or change names. When you search, be sure to give any previous names too
There’s a free service to help you find lost accounts, called my lost account.
It’s an online service, but if you prefer you can apply on paper.
It was set up by the British Bankers’ Association, the Building Societies Association and National Savings and Investments (NS&I).
It can help you find any lost account with any UK bank, building society or NS&I, as well as with some overseas banks with branches in the UK.
If your account is held overseas, you’ll need to get in touch with the bank or savings institution holding the account.
It only tracks down inactive accounts that haven’t been used for at least three years.
Who can trace my lost account and when you should do it
Money in a lost account is always yours by law, even if you wait many years to claim it.
You’ll usually use mylostaccount.org.uk to trace your own account. Executors of wills can also use the service.
You could also use mylostaccount.org.uk if:
- You’re not sure which bank or building society your account is with.
- You’re not sure if an account exists at all.
What to expect
Once you put your details into my lost account, it helps you track down any accounts you own.
There are around half a million lost accounts in the UK, so the search can take up to three months to complete.
If a lost account is found, you’ll need to prove that you are who you say you are, and that you have a legal right to the money.
Then your account can be reopened, or you can reclaim the money.
You’ll also get any interest you’re due (if it was in an interest-bearing account).
Tracing lost Ulster Savings Certificates
If you’ve lost track of an Ulster Savings Certificate, you need to fill in a form and send it to the Northern Ireland Department of Finance and Personnel.
Checking for unclaimed Premium Bond prizes
There’s no time limit on claiming a Premium Bond prize, so if you think you might have forgotten about one head straight on over to the Premium Bond prize checker on the NS&I website.
You’ll just need your Premium Bond holder’s number.
If you’ve lost this number there are still ways you can search for your prize.
What to do if you have a complaint about the bank or disagree with their response
If you disagree with how a bank or building society has dealt with your lost account, ask for a copy of their complaints process and make a formal complaint.
This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.