Savers urged to check for 'lost' bank accounts – you could be owed HUNDREDS

SAVERS are being urged to check for lost bank accounts or they could be missing out on hundreds of pounds.

Financial firm Gretel estimates that millions of savers could be sitting on around £1,528 in cash that's been "lost".

It says there's an estimated £4.5 billion lying in the defunct or forgotten accounts.

Gretel estimates that anyone with a lost bank account has an average of £450 stashed away – and reckons up to 10million people could be affected.

You may have even more hidden cash if you have old savings or pensions accounts – particularly if your account has been earning interest over the years it's been lost.

One woman who opened a bank account when she was six-years-old, discovered it was worth hundreds of pounds when she tracked it down decades later.

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As a youngster, she had saved the equivalent of 5p a week and managed to make it to £2.50 before abandoning the account altogether.

But after going to the bank more than 60 years later, she found that not only could still access the money, it was worth £250.

If you can remember the bank or building society you have an account with, your first step should be to contact it.

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A free service from Accountdetective.co.uk can help you work out if the company has changed its name, or you can use it to check for the firm's contact details.

If you can't remember your old account details, or the bank or building society says it can't help, you can use the free My Lost Account tracing service.

More than 70 providers signed up the scheme, including all major banks and all 43 UK building societies.

And Gretel launched its new free online hub this month, aiming to reunite consumers with lost and dormant accounts.

Duncan Stevens, chief executive of Gretel said: “The cost of living in the UK is at its highest level in 30 years, so getting dormant, lost and unclaimed money back into the hands of the consumer, where it belongs, is more important than ever before."

How do I reclaim lost cash?

Once you've contacted a provider, you should get a response within three months, although some online tools can help you get there quicker.

If a bank or building society can't agree on the validity of your claim, you have the right to appeal its decision.

If your claim is still unsuccessful, you can refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

But it's not only bank accounts that may have been lost or forgotten by their rightful owners.

As much as £37 billion is sitting in lost pensions, while £5.3 billion is unclaimed in lost investments, and £2.2 billion in lost Child Trust Funds.

Digging out old paperwork is a good place to start if you think you might have an account you've lost track of.

You can also use tools like the free Gov.uk Pension Tracing Service to search for the forgotten assets.

One Martin Lewis fan put £900 in to pensions and tracked them down 27 years later to find they were worth £20,000 – so it's well worth the search.

Meanwhile, Policydetective.co.uk can help you find the contact details of policy providers you may have unclaimed pots of cash with.

We've previously reported how millions of people could owed up to £500 from Aviva, LV= and Royal London from forgotten "penny" insurance policies.

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And millions of parents have thousands of pounds stashed away under their child's name in a Child Trust Fund.

If you're not sure if your child has one, you can fill in this online form via the Gov.uk website. You’ll need a Government Gateway user ID and password.

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