• Written by ASIC

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is urging Australians to do a quick and free search on ASIC's MoneySmart website to see if a share of $1.1 billion of
unclaimed money is theirs.

'There are more than a million records of unclaimed money from dormant bank accounts, life insurance, shares and other investments waiting to be claimed and we're keen to reunite people with their money', said Peter Kell, ASIC's Deputy Chairman.

'Unclaimed money is transferred to the Commonwealth after it's been unclaimed usually for seven years.  The unclaimed money managed by ASIC is always claimable by the rightful owner with no time limit on claims.  In 2016, over $87m was paid out to more than 16,000 people', Mr Kell said.

'It's free, quick and easy to use ASIC's MoneySmart website to search for your name or family and friends, just visit moneysmart.gov.au', said Mr Kell.

There are vastly different amounts of forgotten money waiting to be claimed ranging from a few dollars to over a million.  The approximate amounts of unclaimed money available broken down by State and Territory are:

 Figure 1: Unclaimed money held by ASIC by State and Territory, approximate amounts (rounded), April 2017

 People may find they have unclaimed money if they:

  • have moved house without letting the bank or the institution know;
  • have not made a transaction on their cheque or savings account for seven years;
  • stopped making payments on a life insurance policy;
  • have noticed that regular dividend or interest cheques have stopped coming; or
  • were an executor of a deceased estate.
Once a person has found unclaimed money using ASIC's MoneySmart online search, they need to contact the relevant bank or other financial institution where the money is held if the money is listed as 'banking' or 'life insurance'. The institution will assess and lodge a claim with ASIC.  ASIC aims to process claims within 28 days of receiving all necessary claim documentation and release the funds back to the institution.

'If you find you have unclaimed money, ASIC's MoneySmart website offers free and impartial financial guidance and online tools to help you use it wisely and make the most of your money', said Mr Kell.

ASIC's unclaimed money infographic shows how much is there to be claimed around Australia.

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