Soaring living costs mean that many of us could do with a cash boost right now, yet there’s billions of pounds sitting in forgotten pensions and savings waiting to be claimed.
It can be easy to lose track of savings accounts and pension pots over the years, especially if you’ve moved home frequently, or have signed up to pensions with several different employers.
Here’s what to do if you think a share of the forgotten savings mountain could be yours.
How to track down lost savings accounts
If you think you might have a savings account you’ve forgotten about, your starting point should be to see if you can locate any paperwork showing your account details, as you may be able to find your money by giving the savings provider this information.
If you’re struggling to find any, or have drawn a blank with the account provider, get in touch with www.mylostaccount.org.uk and complete their online search form. You should receive a response letting you know if your savings have been located within three months of submitting your form.
This service, which is free to use, has brought the three tracing schemes of UK Finance (UKF), the Building Societies Association (BSA) and National Savings and Investments (NS&I) together into a single website. This means that anyone with a lost account with a bank, a building society, NS&I need only complete one application form.
How to locate lost pensions
If you’re trying to track down a forgotten pension, again your starting point should be to try to find as much paperwork and information about the scheme you signed up to.
Helen Morrisey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown said: “Hundreds of thousands of pensions have gone missing. People lose track of their pensions when they change employer or move to a new home. They don’t keep their contact details up to date and so the provider cannot communicate with them – over time these pensions are forgotten about, and people miss out on retirement income.”
If you think you have lost track of a pension, then contact the government’s pension tracing service at Gov.uk. You will need either an employer name or the name of pension provider, but as long as you have either of these pieces of information, the pension tracing service should be able to help you find your retirement savings. According to a Freedom of Information request made by Hargreaves Lansdown, almost 207,000 calls have been taken by the government’s pension tracing service over the last four years alone.
What happens to forgotten savings and pensions?
Any savings that are considered ‘dormant’, which officially means no transactions have been made on the account for 15 years or more, are moved into the Dormant Assets Fund. This was set up in 2008 to distribute unclaimed assets from banks and building societies to social and environmental initiatives across the UK.
However, if your money has been moved into the Fund, you can still claim it back at any time, and should do so using the methods above.
The Dormant Assets Fund used to be only for dormant bank and building society accounts, but it is in the process of being expanded to include dormant assets from the pensions, insurance, investment and wealth management sectors too.