Could you be owed a fortune?

How to reclaim your cash

Updated: 
happy girl holding fan of cash...

How would you feel if somebody told you that you were owed hundreds of pounds? There's a fair chance that you are.

There's millions of pounds lying left unclaimed that can be accessed with just a little effort.

Late last year, life insurer Beagle Street carried out research that indicated that Brits were missing out on as much as £8.5 million in unclaimed lottery prizes and £50 million in unclaimed Premium Bonds, for example.

"There is simply too much money sitting unclaimed and far too many people missing out on money that is rightfully theirs," says managing director Matthew Gledhill.

So who might owe you money?

The National Lottery
This is one of the easiest things to check - but it's surprising how many prizes go unclaimed. There's a list of big unclaimed prices. For smaller wins, you'll need to check back for the winning numbers, here: just click on 'check results' and then 'draw history'. You have six months to put in your claim.

Your bank
There's as much as £5 million sitting in dormant bank accounts at any one time, but it's possible to track the money down. My Lost Account, which is organised by the British Bankers' Association, the Building Societies Association and NS&I, will check for you.

Your pension provider
There's another £3 billion in unclaimed pensions, says Beagle Street, mostly in amounts of £5,000 or less. Your best bet here is the Pension Tracing Service, which has details of 200,000 pension schemes. You shouldn't need the original paperwork, though the more information you have the better.

Your payday lender
Following a crackdown, payday lenders are being forced to repay customers who should never have been given loans in the first place - and these repayments are amounting to millions of pounds. If you think you were mis-sold a loan, your first step is to get in touch with the lender to explain why it should have realised you couldn't afford it. If you don't get anywhere, the Financial Ombudsman will help for free.

Your electricity supplier...
You'll need to move fast, but pay-as-you-go energy customers are being given a £12 refund. Those with meters should have had their discount already, but anyone with a pre-payment meter should have received a voucher through the post. This can be redeemed at a Post Office in the next two weeks. If you don't remember receiving one, your supplier should be willing to send you a replacement.

...or your previous supplier
It's probably the last thing you think about when moving house, but many people end up being owed money when they do, or when they simply switch supplier. My Energy Credit explains how you can find out whether you're owed any money, and how the claims process works with the major suppliers.

From an airline
It's not the easiest process in the world, but it's possible to claim up to 600 Euros per person for flights that are delayed for three hours or more, as long as the delay isn't caused by 'extraordinary circumstances'. And while airlines used to routinely claim this included technical faults, it's now been ruled that they can't. You should have as much as six years to claim; there's advice from the Civil Aviation Authority here.

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