Have you abandoned money in old accounts? - MoneySense

Have you abandoned money in old accounts?

The Bank of Canada has almost $400 million in unclaimed balances. Some of it might be yours.



We’re a lackadaisical bunch when it comes to our money, y’know.

Did you know that about 25% of gift cards go unredeemed each year? Or how about the fact that there’s about $25 MILLION in unclaimed tax refunds. How can we say we don’t have any money when there’s over $112 million in unredeemed Canada Savings Bonds?

And then there’s all the money people leave behind in their chequing and savings accounts. Hey folks, this is taking the “hide it so you don’t spend it approach” a little to far, dontcha think?

When there’s been no activity on an account for 10 years, and FI fails to contact the owner, the balance is sent to the Bank of Canada, which acts as custodian on behalf of the owner.

The Bank of Canada has an online database that you can search to see if you’re one of the silly buggers who has left money lying around. I put in my many names and came back blank, so that’s not my money. But it could be yours. So take a second to pop over and put in your name. If you’ve had multiple names, as I have, make sure you check ‘em all.

It may be that you moved and forgot an account you’d been having money debited to every month. Or perhaps it was a just-in-case savings account you lost track of. Or maybe, after you thought you closed an investment account, dividends were paid and are just waiting for you to come and collect them.

According to the Bank of Canada site, “At the end of December 2009, approximately 1,122,000 unclaimed balances, worth some $395 million, were on the Bank’s books. Over 93.4% of these were under $1,000.00, representing 30.82% of the total value outstanding.”

If any of that money is yours, wouldn’t you feel like a right fool not taking the 10 minutes to check?