30 January 2008
mylostaccount.org.uk – the first free, ‘one-stop shop’ website to trace building society, bank and NS&I (National Savings and Investments) accounts is launched today, supported by press and online advertising.
Designed to make searching for lost accounts even quicker and easier, mylostaccount.org.uk brings together the three existing schemes from the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), the Building Societies Association (BSA) and NS&I, all of which have been running since 2001.
Commenting on the new website, Angela Knight, Chief Executive of the British Bankers’ Association, said: “mylostaccount.org.uk will enable account holders to initiate a search for their lost bank, building society and NS&I accounts at the click of a button. It builds on the three existing central tracing services and will improve accessibility significantly. It is a key part of the industry's commitment to make further steps towards reunifying customers with their money in advance of the statute-backed unclaimed assets scheme.”
Brian Morris, Head of Savings Policy at the Building Societies Association said: “We want to reunite as many people as possible with their money; after all, it belongs to them. This free website will make it even easier for building society members and other customers looking for their lost accounts to track them down. Bringing together the three existing schemes means you can now search for building society, bank and NS&I accounts all in one go.”
John Prout, Sales and Customer Retention Director at NS&I said: “NS&I are very pleased to work with the BBA and BSA in reuniting savers with their lost money; we have all been leading the way for some time in helping people to reclaim lost or forgotten savings. At this time of year, finding a little extra money in a forgotten account is a welcome surprise for our customers.”
How does mylostaccount.org.uk work?
If someone thinks they have a lost account with a bank, a building society or with NS&I they can visit mylostaccount.org.uk and follow a few simple steps to start a search.
The online form can be completed by the account holder or a nominated representative (this can include a partner, next of kin or beneficiary), giving as much detail as possible, including any previous names and addresses of the account holder. This information only needs to be provided once before being passed securely to the bank, building society and/or NS&I.
Once a trace has been completed, the relevant organisation will respond directly to the customer and any account reactivated, following the relevant security checks. Claims will be dealt with as soon as possible and within three months of receiving the claim form.
How do accounts get lost?
One of the most common reasons why people lose track of their savings is through failing to update financial providers with their new contact details when moving house. People may also forget childhood savings accounts, and often if people do not make a will or if they forget to tell executors about all of their finances, accounts can be overlooked.
The unclaimed assets scheme
Under the statute-backed unclaimed assets scheme, due to be introduced in 2009, genuinely lost bank and building society account money will be transferred for use on community causes. While the banks and building societies have committed to redoubling their reunification activity in the run up to the introduction of the scheme, the transfer has no bearing on the right of individual accounts holders to reclaim their money at any time and banks and building societies will continue to help people searching for these monies.
Using the definition for the Unclaimed Assets scheme (ie having no customer-initiated activity for at least 15 years) the amount estimated to lie unclaimed in dormant and lost accounts is approximately £250 - £350 million for banks and up to £150 million for building societies. There is a further £466 million in NS&I dormant accounts.
mylostaccount.org.uk aims to reach a wide audience and will be promoted by an extensive national advertising campaign. This campaign will be fronted by a cartoon image, ‘Fetch’ the dog, whose aim is to assist the UK public to retrieve their lost cash, via a simple online process. The online and print advertising campaign will commence on 4 February 2008.
To accompany the advertising campaign and to maximise awareness, we are encouraging other financial and consumer interest websites to provide a link to mylostaccount.org.uk.
Notes to editors
For more information on the British Bankers’ Association, including information on its own tracing scheme, visit www.bba.org.uk or contact:
British Bankers’ Association
Tel: 020 7216 8970
Out of hours: 020 7216 8888
For more information on the Building Societies Association, including information on its own tracing scheme or case studies, visit www.bsa.org.uk or contact:
Building Societies Association
Rachel Le Brocq
Tel: 020 7520 5905
Out of hours: 07 773 489 644
For more information on NS&I, including information on its own tracing scheme or case studies, visit www.nsandi.com or contact:
Tel: 020 7348 9433
Out of hours: all phones diverted to staff mobiles.