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Free cash up for grabs


Laine Gordon

By Laine Gordon

3 min read

Misplacing the odd $10 note here and there may not be unusual for most of us, but what about forgetting hundreds of thousands of dollars?

While rare, there are some Aussies out there who have mass amounts of unclaimed money waiting to be reunited with its lucky owner.

Hundreds of millions of dollars currently sit in unclaimed bank accounts, share dividends, deceased estates, lost life insurance and more, awaiting collection by those who have long forgotten that the money exists.

ASIC spokesperson Delia Rickard said the average parcel of money unclaimed by an individual is $652 but there are some huge amounts of money waiting to be claimed. One sum of $642,000 is waiting to be collected by the so-far unknown beneficiary of someone who lived in the Sydney suburb of Matraville. The money is currently sitting in a dormant bank account.

The largest parcel of unclaimed money however is $992,750, languishing in a Commonwealth Bank account belonging to an individual in Perth and the best part is it's earning interest as well. 

People who suspect they may be the rightful owners of unclaimed money can search for it on ASIC's MoneySmart website.

"Even if you've already searched, you should look again," Rickard said. "It's quick and easy to search for unclaimed money via ASIC's MoneySmart website. You can search for yourself and for family and friends."

To claim money you think may be yours you will need to first prove the money belongs to you or that you are the beneficiary. It takes ASIC 28 days to process claims and information on how to make a claim is also available on the MoneySmart website.

Commonly, unclaimed money is left behind by people who have stopped making payments on a life insurance policy, moved without leaving a forwarding address, haven't made a transaction on a bank account for over seven years or were the executor of a deceased estate.

Additionally, if you have a suspicion you may have some unclaimed super floating around  you can conduct a search through the Australian Taxation Office. Considering the little thought your average person pays to their super account it's quite possible you may have a nice lump sum with your name on it. With an estimated $16 billion up for grabs your chances look pretty good. 

So have a search and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you find.

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