ASIC is holding $1.1 billion in unclaimed money
There's a quick way to see if you're entitled to some cash.
Australia's corporate regulator is encouraging Australians to visit the MoneySmart website and complete a quick and free search to find out whether you're owed a share of $1.1 billion in unclaimed funds.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has said that these unclaimed monies have been derived from dormant bank accounts, life insurance policies, shares and other investments.
So how did ASIC end up with all this cash?
Unclaimed money can come about if you've moved house without informing your bank or financial institution, if you haven't made a transaction with a particular cheque or savings account for seven years, if you've ceased making payments on a life insurance policy, if you've noticed regular dividend or interest cheques have stopped arriving or if you were an executor of a deceased estate.
ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell said money is transferred to the Commonwealth after it's been unclaimed for seven years.
"The unclaimed money managed by ASIC is always claimable by the rightful owner with no time limit on claims. In 2016, over $87 million was paid out to more than 16,000 people," he said.
Of course, not everyone logging on to ASIC's website will become an overnight millionaire. Amounts owed to individuals range from a few dollars to hundreds of thousands.
If you manage to find unclaimed funds using the MoneySmart search tool, you'll need to contact the relevant bank or institution where the money is held so they can assess the claim and lodge it with ASIC.
As can be seen below, residents of News South Wales have the greatest amount of unclaimed cash ($380 million), followed by Victorians ($197 million) and Queenslanders ($112 million).
In August last year, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) revealed the 10 postcodes across Australia with the highest amounts of unclaimed super. $11.7 billion was idling in lost or inactive accounts.