Some people get excited about finding a $5 bill in an old coat pocket. But what about the millions of dollars sitting forgotten in Canadian banks?
At the end of December, approximately 1.8 million unclaimed balances – worth about $678 million – were on the Bank of Canada’s books, according to its website.
The unclaimed money stems from all kinds of accounts, including savings, credit card balances, or traveller’s cheques.
Money is considered ‘unclaimed,’ and transferred from provincial banks and trusts to the Bank of Canada, when a bank account has no owner activity for a period of 10 years and the owner can’t be contacted by the bank or trust company holding the money.
Nearly all of the unclaimed balances from last year are under $1,000, but make up 26 per cent of the total value outstanding. That means about 120,000 unclaimed balances are worth more more than $1,000.
Unclaimed balances less than $1,000 are held for 30 years, while balances more than $1,000 are held for 100 years. If left unclaimed, the funds are transferred to the Receiver General for Canada.
To find out if some of the money is yours, visit the Bank of Canada website, and fill out the claims form. Any funds that belong to you will be sent within a few weeks.
Last year, the bank of Canada paid out $15 million to balance holders – one balance dating to 1900.