Small business owners and their staff could be entitled to unclaimed money that they’ve forgotten about.

Kelly O’Dwyer, the minister for small business, has urged Australians to do a free search on the ASIC MoneySmart website to see if a share of $1.2 billion of unclaimed money is theirs.

There are more than a million records of unclaimed money from dormant bank accounts, life insurance, shares and other investments, according to ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell.

“Unclaimed money is transferred to the commonwealth after it’s been unclaimed usually for seven years,” he said.

“The unclaimed money is managed by ASIC, it’s always claimable by the rightful owner and there’s no time limit on claims. Last financial year, over $158m was paid out to more than 25,000 people.”

People may find they have unclaimed money if they:

  • have moved house without leaving a forwarding address
  • haven’t made a transaction on their cheque or savings account for seven years
  • stopped making payments on a life insurance policy
  • have noticed that regular dividend or interest cheques have stopped coming
  • were executor of a deceased estate