There’s £40m down the back of the sofa...

Millions of pounds are left forgotten in bank accounts, pensions and Premium Bonds winnings ' and down the back of the sofa.
Millions of pounds are left forgotten in bank accounts, pensions and Premium Bonds winnings ' and down the back of the sofa.
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Are you sitting on hidden treasure worth £10,000s? This isn’t about a forgotten lottery ticket stuck to your fridge or a sepia map in the attic to Long John Silver’s hoard.

It’s a more mundane, but far larger – there’s £15bn sitting in lost bank accounts, savings, pensions and investments.

It may be yours or a deceased relative’s, and is relatively easy to claim. So check my top ten need-to-knows...

1. Trace old Premium Bonds

The name’s Bond, forgotten Bond. There’s £44m in Premium Bond prizes sitting unclaimed, owed to 900,000 people. To get these, follow a simple two-step process.

First track down what bonds you own. If you don’t have them, trace for free at www.mylostaccount.org.uk. Then nip onto www.nsandi.com and use its prize checker.

2. Bank accounts reunited

There’s £500m languishing in forgotten bank accounts and savings. While the accounts go dormant, you’re still entitled to the cash if you claim. If you think some could be yours, use free one-stop shop www.mylostaccount.org.uk to get it back.

3. “I found a £21,000 pension”

Pensions are almost always big money. Yet with many frequently moving jobs and pension confusion, it’s not surprising schemes get forgotten. To get it back, use the Pensions Tracing Service at www.gov.uk/find-lost-pension.

4. Find old investments

If you think you’ve lost an investment, trace for free by contacting the Investment Management Association (www.investmentuk.org ) or calling The Association of Investment Companies (020 7282 5555).

If that doesn’t work, there’s a £25 service from Unclaimed Assets Register (www.uar.co.uk) that you can use to search 85 financial services companies.

5. Find deceased relatives’ lost assets too

If a family member has died and you’re responsible for the estate, or you’re the beneficiary, you may be able to reclaim the above.

You’ll need to put their name (as the account holder) on search forms. To get the cash, you’ll need their will to prove who the right person to get the money is.

If there wasn’t a will, you should be able to get the cash if you’re the rightful heir under intestate rules. More help at www.bba.org.uk

6. Save £1,000s on forgotten direct debits

It sounds cuckoo, but many have regular payments dripping out of accounts for things they don’t use or need. If you bank online, spend five minutes today interrogating all direct debits and standing orders – if not, pop into your bank and ask staff for them.

7. Reunite yourself with lost Tesco vouchers

Millions of Tesco Clubcard holders lose or forget to use vouchers. You can claw back two years (possibly more) of unused vouchers by logging into Tesco’s Clubcard section.

8. Flog it

Stock control’s a core part of what any shop does to stay profitable. They treat assets as cash, ensuring they’re utilised. We should adopt a similar system. If you’ve things you’ve not used or worn in a year, consider flogging them to release the assets.

Selling via www.ebay.com usually pays best.

For old mobiles use my comparison tool www.mobilevaluer.com and for books, try webuybooks.co.uk or www.Amazon.co.uk’s Trade-In.

9. Don’t lose out on cash every time you pay

When you pay on a credit card, even if it makes no interest from you, the retailer pays the card company a fee.

There’s a way to get this type of cash in your pocket instead. Switch to a cashback credit card with a direct debit to repay in full each month and effectively this money becomes yours.

10. Check down the back of sofas, jackets and bags

No joke, over £40m of ‘lost cash’ is allegedly stuffed down the back of cars, sofas and wardrobes. Last time I suggested having a rummage, one of my site users said: “After reading, I thought, ‘why not’. Checked a handbag I’d not used since Christmas and found a purse with £80 in it. Very pleased!”