In April 2008 it was estimated that there was as much as £12 million lying in forgotten bank and building society accounts in Northern Ireland. There is also £6 million in Ulster Savings Certificates. Much of that money has yet to be claimed. If some of it's yours, the Consumer Council wants to make sure you get it back.
In today’s uncertain climate, it’s so important that you make every penny work for you. Maybe you forgot about an account you had at school or you didn’t even know it existed because your parents set it up for you. Whatever the reason, it’s easy to check and get your money back. You don’t even have to know where the account was held. Click on the links below for more information.
How do I check if I have a forgotten account?
To check if you're in the money, contact the Consumer Council on 0800 121 6022 or email@example.com. We can send you all the forms you need. We can't do the search for you but we can guide you through the process. It may take a little time and effort, but if you're not in you can't win!
You can also fill out the forms online. To check for accounts held with a bank or building society visit www.mylostaccount.org.uk, click the 'start search' button and follow the simple steps. It's a free, easy service from the British Bankers' Association (BBA), the Building Societies Association (BSA) and National Savings and Investments (NS&I).
To find out more about searching for Ulster Savings Certificates visit the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) website at www.dfpni.gov.uk/index/finance/ulster-savings-certificate.htm or telephone 028 9127 7657.
Click here to download your free copy of the forgotten accounts guide.
What do I need to put on the form?
- Your full name (and any former names)
- Date of birth
- Every address you've lived at
- Any information that may narrow down the search.
What happens next?
The BBA will check with banks; the BSA will check with building societies and the DFP and NS&I will check whether you have any savings and investments with them. They will get back to you to let you know either:
- There is no record of any accounts in your name; or
- There is a match and where it's held. After that, the bank or building society will contact you directly.
Can I search for accounts held in my deceased relative's name?
Yes, but if accounts are found you'll have to prove you are legally allowed access to any money.
I've heard that the Government is going to give the money in forgotten accounts to charity; does that mean I can't get my money back?
You'll always be able to get your money back. Just call us on 0800 121 6022 if you are having difficulty tracing your money.
I'm having trouble getting my money back, what do I do?
Complain to the bank, building society or NS&I first. Your complaint will be acknowledged promptly and you'll get a full response within eight weeks. If you're not satisfied with their response you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). Contact them on 0845 080 1800 or visit www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk. If your complaint is about Ulster Savings Certificates complain to the DFP. Phone 028 9185 8111 for more information.
Let us know how you get on ....
We want to know how the banks, building societies, NS&I and DFP are helping consumers get their money back - so tell us your stories. Was it easy? Were you successful or disappointed? Would you recommend it?
To get the forms or tell us your story, contact us on 0800 121 6022 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forms are also available from the:
- British Bankers Association - 020 7216 8909
- Building Societies Association - 020 7437 0655
- National Savings & Investment - 0845 964 5000
The Consumer Council has been out and about to encourage consumers to check if they are sitting on a small fortune. We've had some help along the way...
U105’s Frank Mitchell and Alison Donnelly from the Consumer Council encourage Belfast consumers to find out if some of the millions of pounds still sitting in forgotten bank accounts in Northern Ireland belongs to them.
DJ Ricky K from Seven FM helped spread the word in Ballymena with the help of Olga McGonagle from the Consumer Council.
The Consumer Council's Philippa McKeown visited Moira Friendship Group. She is pictured here with Elizabeth Logan, Maisie Nelson and Barbara Herbert.
Eimear Duffy and Ronan Convery from the Consumer Council visited St. Mark’s Mother’s Union in Ballymacash, Lisburn. They are pictured here with Anneline Best.
Fiona Mark, Consumer Affairs Officer at the Consumer Council is calling on all Derry consumers to find out if some of the millions of pounds still sitting in forgotten bank accounts in Northern Ireland belongs to them.
1. 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.