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08 Apr 2013
Adam Bate

How to find your lost and unclaimed money


It's easy to lose track of old bank and savings accounts, premium bonds, pensions and life insurance policies. Find your lost and unclaimed money.

Bunch of 20 pound notes

A change of address is one of the most common reasons people lose track of their cash over the years.

Death and failing to inform beneficiaries of financial accounts and policies is another.

But it doesn't pay to be complacent: according to the Unclaimed Assets Register there is between £15 and £20 billion in the UK waiting to be restored to its rightful owners.

Unclaimed money in the UK

  • £15 billion - The estimated amount of unclaimed assets.

  • £31 million - The amount in unclaimed premium bond prizes.

  • £400 million – The amount of unpaid money in life assurance and pension schemes.

  • £1 billion - The total unclaimed money in NS&I products (excluding premium bonds).

  • £400 million - The amount of unclaimed money in bank and building society accounts.

The good news is there are a number of ways to track down lost money. Here's how.

Bank, building society & savings accounts, premium bonds

My Lost Account is a free service that helps customers trace lost bank, building society, savings, and National Savings and Investments (NS&I) accounts, including premium bonds.

The service was set up by the British Bankers' Association, the Building Societies Association and the NS&I.

It has reunited customers with more than £500,000 million since its launch in January 2008.

Enter your details on the My Lost Account website to start your search.

Where the original bank or building society no longer exists – for example, because it has been taken over by another – the successor institution will carry out the search.

My Lost Account's top search tips

  • If only one institution is involved, we recommend that you make your claim direct to them. But we are happy for you to use this central service if it is easier for you to do so. 

  • Remember that an account opened many years ago may not have been in your current married name. 

  • Remember that the account may have been opened while you were at a previous address. 

  • If known, give the sort code and account number. To put your search into context, there are more than 150 million bank and building society accounts in the UK and anywhere up to half a million dormant or lost accounts. 

  • Accounts opened by parents and grandparents on your behalf may be jointly in their names and, where relevant, they may also be in your maiden name.

  • Information about account types and passbooks also helps narrow down the search.

  • You can search for outstanding premium bond prizes on the NS&I website.


The free Pension Tracing Service is run by the Department for Work and Pensions.

It can help you trace both workplace and personal pensions.

Simply fill out form online to get started.

If the service finds your pension, you'll be given the address of your pension scheme provider so you can get in touch with them directly.

Life insurance

As yet, there's no one-stop shop for tracing life insurance policies.

If you know the name of the life insurance provider then get in touch with them directly.

However, if you don't have any policy details then the Unclaimed Assets Register is a good bet as many financial firms list unclaimed accounts and policies with this service.

But be warned: unlike the schemes listed above, the Unclaimed Assets Register isn't free. There is a £25 fixed fee for each search.

Of course, if it's a bank or building society account, savings account, or pension that you want to trace, then try the free services listed above.


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