Personal Finances
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10th August 2009

CONSUMER COUNCIL REMINDS CONSUMERS TO CHECK IF THEY ARE SITTING ON A SMALL FORTUNE

The Consumer Council is today encouraging consumers to find out if some of the millions of pounds still sitting in forgotten bank accounts in Northern Ireland belongs to them. The comments come following the launch of a consultation on how any remaining money that is not claimed should be spent.

Julie Megrath, Head of Money Affairs at the Consumer Council said, “In April last year we launched our campaign[1] to reunite consumers with their forgotten cash but there is still an estimated £12 million[2] sitting in bank and building society accounts here.  The Consumer Council believes the first priority is to get it back to the people to whom it belongs and we urge consumers and banks to take action to ensure this happens.

“The Consumer Council welcomes the consultation announced by the Minister for Finance on how any remaining money should be spent.  We believe that it should be put to work helping consumers gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to manage their money.  Consumer Council research shows[3] that consumers here are bottom of the UK league when it comes to being financially savvy and this may be the reason why there is so much money lying in forgotten bank accounts in the first place.  

“Checking for a forgotten account should be simple - visit www.mylostaccount.org.uk. If you encounter any problems with your search, contact the Consumer Council on 0800 121 6022.”

  1. Consumer Council media contact: Paula Gunn, telephone, 028 9067 4816 or e-mail, [email protected]
  2. The Consumer Council is an independent consumer organisation, working to bring about change to benefit Northern Ireland’s consumers. The Council campaigns for high standards of service and protection and a fair deal for all. It also carries out research, gives advice and publishes reports and other publications. It deals with individual complaints about buses, trains, planes, ferries, natural gas, electricity, coal and water.
  3. For more information, visit our website at www.consumercouncil.org.uk




[1] The Consumer Council launched a forgotten accounts campaign in April 2008 to encourage consumers to check if they had a forgotten account: http://www.consumercouncil.org.uk/newsroom/441/northern-ireland-consumers-are-sitting-on-a-small-fortune/

[2]The Treasury Select Committee estimate that there is £300 – £500 million in accounts in the UK that have been untouched by customers for at least 15 years.  The Consumer Council estimates that as much as three per cent could belong to consumers in Northern Ireland based on Northern Ireland’s proportion of the UK population.

[3] Source: The Consumer Council’s research report, ‘Managing Money  - How Does Northern Ireland Add Up?’ http://www.consumercouncil.org.uk/filestore/documents/Financial_Capability_06.09.07.pdf