Perthnow.com.au | Australians have a pot of gold worth $1.25 billion in unclaimed money waiting to be clawed back. Data from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission shows that at the end of May an extra $471 million was added to the unclaimed money kitty, which consists of old bank accounts, life insurance policies and shares.
|The pot of unclaimed money could be the perfect house deposit.|
This latest lump sum addition included $450 million in bank accounts and $21 million in life insurance. ASIC senior executive Robert Drake says the cash from unclaimed accounts is waiting to be retrieved.
· "Money is being repaid to people all the time but generally there's more coming in than we are able to reunite people with,'' he says.
· Drake says in the 2012-13 financial year $48 million was recovered by its owners and he says ASIC is hopeful of reuniting more people with their money.
Australians can undertake free searches on ASIC's moneysmart.gov.au website simply by entering in their name - no other details are required and if there is money to be retrieved it is explained how to do so.
From July 1 this year, interest is now being paid on unclaimed money at the consumer price index rate, which is 2.5 per cent. Until the money is reclaimed, it will sit with the Government and there is no time limit for it to be collected. Amounts waiting to be retrieved range from as little as 5¢ to $600,000.
· Drake says the unclaimed money can be funds from untouched bank accounts, to unclaimed dividend repayments and life insurance policies. It can also be transferred across to the Government from deceased estates, or when people have moved and not given their updated details to the bank.
· Australian Bankers Association chief executive Steven Munchenberg says some customers may be "annoyed" to find their money has been removed from their accounts and shifted to the unclaimed money pool, but should be proactive in getting it back.
· "There may be people who are annoyed to find money they thought was tucked away safely in the bank and it's now in the hands of the Government,'' he says. "But the whole system is meant to be that you can retrieve the money."
Munchenberg says a withdrawal or transaction needs to be made on an account within three years or it will be transferred to the Government.
· He says receiving interest repayments on balances do not make an account active during this period.
· "The main thing to do is to make sure you have a regular transaction on that account - whether it be a deposit or withdrawal and you can set that up as an automatic thing,'' he says.