Have you ever been too busy to keep track of all your financial paperwork?
If so, you may have money from old bank accounts, insurance policies or shares waiting to be collected. You may even find a small fortune from a deceased relative waiting for you to claim.
There is a simple way to claim your stake in the unclaimed money held by ASIC or other agencies. Go to www.moneysmart.gov.au and search your name. It’s quick, easy and free.
There are amounts of between one dollar and just under a million dollars owed to individuals and businesses. The highest amount currently unclaimed is $990,000 from a Commonwealth Bank account in Western Australia.
Do your friends and family a favour and search using their names too. When searching try your maiden name or any other names you have used in the past, as well as different spellings of your name, in case the bank or company had spelt your name wrongly on their system.
Sometimes companies hold money for their customers, but if they can’t get in contact with them after a period of time, the money becomes unclaimed. Money in bank accounts and life policies becomes unclaimed when there is no activity on the account or policy for a given time.
Australians currently have $636 million in unclaimed money from banks, credit unions, building societies, life insurance companies, friendly societies, company dividends or proceeds of company takeovers. In the past two months ASIC has added $6.8 million worth of new records, and paid out $14.4 million to people and companies who have found their lost money.
There is currently almost $94,000 in unclaimed money from the Defence Force Credit Union, and $84,000 from the Australian Defence Credit Union. If you search for unclaimed money and find you have some money with either of these credit unions, contact the credit union. They will assess if you are the rightful owner of the money and notify ASIC. ASIC will then release the money so the credit union can pay you.
Australian Defence Credit Union Limited: 1300 13 23 28
Defence Force Credit Union Limited: 03 8624 5888
To check if you have any lost superannuation, use the Australian Taxation Office’s SuperSeeker website at www.ato.gov.au/superseeker. There is $13 billion in super waiting to be claimed.
State governments also hold unclaimed money from deceased estates, share dividends, salaries and wages, to name a few. You can find out how to search for that money on www.moneysmart.gov.au.
There are companies that may write to you saying they have found some lost money and asking you to pay them to reunite you with it. Remember, you can use ASIC’s online search at www.moneysmart.gov.au for free.
There is some information that ASIC can’t publish online for privacy reasons, so if you don’t have any luck online, ring ASIC’s Infoline on 1300 300 630 and they will do a more comprehensive search for you.
For more information about unclaimed money, visit ASIC’s consumer website, MoneySmart at www.moneysmart.gov.au or call 1300 300 630.
Australian Securities and Investments Commission