The Australian Securities and Exchange Commission (ASIC) estimates that there is around $1.1 billion of unclaimed money in Australia.
What is unclaimed money?
Unclaimed money can come from a number of sources, including bank accounts, investments, life insurance policies or shares. Sometimes if you forget to update your details with a company or financial institution the money will sit unused in an account. If the account remains unused for seven years the funds are transferred to the Commonwealth, but the money can be reclaimed.
There is no time limit for getting back unclaimed money.
How can I find out if I have unclaimed money?
There are a few ways you can search for unclaimed money.
ASIC’s website has an unclaimed money finder. All you do is type in your name and hit search. If your name appears, click on the ‘More Detail’ column for instructions on how to claim the money.
What is the process for claiming back unclaimed money?
Companies, banks and insurance companies
If you’re claiming money directly through ASIC (the process involves filling out a form and sending it to ASIC along with whatever documentation is required.
If the unclaimed money is from a bank account, the process is different. You must contact the bank since they are responsible for determining the owner of funds. If your claim with the bank is successful, ASIC will release the funds to the bank so that the bank can pay you. You can read more about the process of claiming funds from a bank here.
You must follow the same process for claiming money from insurance companies as well. You can find more information here.
ASIC holds funds from banks, building societies and credit unions where the accounts have not been used in three years. ASIC’s database of unclaimed money goes back to 1989 for savings accounts, 1959 for trading accounts and 1992 for credit union and building society accounts.
For older accounts, (i.e. accounts that were last accessed before 1992) you should contact the state or territory’s revenue office or treasury department where the bank was registered:
- ACT – Public Trustee for the ACT
- NSW – Revenue NSW
- Northern Territory – NT Department of Treasury and Finance
- Queensland – Public Trustee Queensland
- South Australia – SA Department of Treasury and Finance
- Tasmania – Tasmanian Department of Treasury and Finance
- Victoria – State Revenue Office Victoria
- Western Australia – WA Department of Treasury
Deceased estates, share dividends, salaries and wages, cheques, trust money and proceeds of sale
For these types of unclaimed money, you should first check with state governments. Use the state government department links above to start searching for unclaimed money such as:
- Salaries and wages
- Rent and rental bonds
- Cheques and trust money
- Bonds and convertible notes
Different state and territory agencies will hold different types of unclaimed money. You should check with the relevant government agency and seek advice if you are searching for particular kinds of unclaimed money.
With over $1 billion dollars in unclaimed money, there’s a chance some of it might be yours. These tips will set you on your way to finding your share.
P.S – Don’t keep this news to yourself – please share this article with your family and friends so they can find their unclaimed money too 🙂