Hundreds of thousands of children have up to £2,100 in lost savings accounts they don’t know about – how to find yours | The Sun

ALMOST 200,000 people have a savings pot worth more than £2,000 that they don't even know about.

Latest data reveals hundreds of thousands of young adults have a lost child trust fund (CTF).

Government figures show that £374million is sitting untouched in these savings accounts, worth an average of £2,142 each.

In total, there were 175,000 accounts unclaimed in the last tax year.

CTFs are a type of savings account that used to be available for young children – the initiative aimed to kick start good savings habits.

The Labour government automatically opened accounts for any children born between September 1, 2002, and January 2, 2011.

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If you were born after January 2, 2011, you will not have a fund set up.

All of these children automatically received a £250 voucher at birth, although lower income families would have got £500.

Children born between 2002 and 2010 would have received an additional £250 when they turned seven.

Parents could decide whether the cash would be invested in stocks and shares or saved in cash when accounts were opened – and the money could not be accessed until the child turned 18.

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CTFs were replaced with Junior Isas in November 2011, so children born from then onwards will not have a child trust fund.

The first batch of teenagers with CTF accounts turned 18 and were able to access to their accounts from September 2, 2020.

But many young adults who have come of age don't even know they have an account – and they could be missing out on thousands of pounds.

Laura Suter, personal finance analyst at investment platform AJ Bell, said there are around 2,000 CTF accounts with a massive £20,000 or more in them.

She said:"Many people could discover they have significant savings in these lost accounts, enough for a house deposit or to buy a swish new car.

“Often they go unclaimed because people have moved house so no longer get the mail associated with the accounts or they’ve forgotten they even have one."

How can you claim?

A CTF matures on the accountholder's 18th birthday.

At this point, the child automatically takes over the account and no more money can be added.

Until your child withdraws or transfers the money, it stays in an account that no one else has access to.

If you are one of the tens of thousands of young adults who hasn't claimed their account, the government has an online tracing service where you can find out if you have one and which provider it's with.

To find out more, you'll need a government gateway login and National Insurance number.

If you are a parent looking to find out about your child's fund you can either access it online, or you'll need to send a letter to HMRC with the following details:

  • Full name and address
  • Child’s full name and address
  • Child’s date of birth
  • Child’s National Insurance number or Unique Reference Number if known

What can you do once you've claimed the money?

While it might be tempting to spend all the cash at once, there are other options available to you, from saving it in cash to transferring it into an ISA and investing it.

So, what can you do?

Cash it in

You can ask your CTF provider to hand over the money and get it paid into a bank account.

Transfer it into an ISA

You can transfer it into an ISA.

An ISA is an Individual Savings Account and you don't pay tax on the interest you earn in these types of accounts.

You can have a cash Isa – although the interest rates on these are typically lower than a standard savings account – or a stocks and shares Isa, which lets you invest the money if you don't mind taking some risk.

A good option for young people saving to buy their first home is the Lifetime Isa.

You can stash £4,000 a year into these accounts and the government will give you a 25% bonus on your savings as long as you use it to buy your first property, or if you wait until retirement age to access the cash.

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Do nothing

If you do nothing with your CTF, your provider will either transfer it to an ISA or to a "protected account".

It won't incur income or capital gains tax and will sit until the account holder does something with it.

This isn't a great option though as your money won't be earning interest, which means its value in real terms is being eroded by inflation every year.

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