How to Find Your Unclaimed Money for Free (It Takes 30 Seconds)

A woman poses with a check against her red door.

Robin Hartill, senior editor and authorized monetary planner at The Penny Hoarder, just lately searched her title on the state of Florida’s unclaimed property web site, the place she came upon she had $81.13 in unclaimed cash from a deposit she made for her water invoice. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

I just lately found $81.13 of free cash on-line. It took me 30 seconds to discover and three minutes to declare.

OK, OK: Technically, it wasn’t free cash. At some level in my life, I earned it. I handed it over to the City of St. Petersburg, Florida, to put the water invoice in my title… after which I forgot all about it.

That is, till a current Sunday afternoon after I was bored and considering methods to make extra cash.

On a whim, I searched my title on the state of Florida’s unclaimed property web site. Lo and behold, it was me: Robin C. Hartill, $81.13 of forgotten water cash begging to be claimed. I crammed out a type that requested for a number of figuring out particulars, then clicked the submit button.

Less than two weeks later, the test arrived by way of snail mail.

The official Robin C. Hartill web price has now climbed $81.13 thanks to three minutes’ price of labor.

How to Find Unclaimed Money in 30 Seconds

There’s a 1 in 10 likelihood that you’ve got cash ready to be claimed, in accordance to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA).

In case you’re questioning, NAUPA is a gaggle of state treasurer associations. It represents governments in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, a number of Canadian provinces and even Kenya. Its mission is solely to return unclaimed property to its rightful proprietor.

Each state maintains a database of property that’s ready to be claimed.

You can discover your state’s database by visiting NAUPA’s web site,, and clicking in your state. If you need to look past your state, go to to do a nationwide search.

Both websites are 100% free. Simply search your title and declare any accounts that belong to you. If you discover something, you’ll have to confirm your id, and the directions will range by state and the kind of account you’re claiming.

The information is public file, so you’ll be able to even search the names of your loved ones and pals and allow them to know if they’ve unclaimed cash.

So what sort of unclaimed cash could possibly be ready for you? It isn’t simply deposits that wind up in state palms. Uncashed paychecks, outdated inventory and mutual funds, balances from closed financial institution accounts and buyer refunds, simply to title a number of, additionally generally go unclaimed.

The majority of unclaimed property is cash, although generally the contents of outdated protected deposit containers find yourself in state custody.

Another large supply of unclaimed cash: forgotten life insurance coverage insurance policies. One Rhode Island girl searched her state’s web site on behalf of members of the family. She found her late brother’s coverage. Two weeks later, she acquired a $50,000 test.

Of course, it’s going to require extra effort to declare a deceased cherished one’s life insurance coverage coverage than it is going to to get your $81 utility deposit again — however clearly the payoff is price it.

Why Would I Have Missing Money?

Usually the cash results in state palms as a result of whoever owed you cash couldn’t discover you.

Once a sure period of time passes, typically one yr, they’re legally required to flip the funds over to the state’s treasury division.

Here’s the place I’ll be trustworthy: If you’re a Type A who retains cautious information and updates their contact information, you’re much less doubtless to have lacking cash floating round. But then there are us Type Bs — the Chaos Muppets of the world. Occasionally we overlook to depart forwarding addresses. We let our mail pile up and don’t learn emails. Sometimes, we depart behind trails of unclaimed property within the course of.

I’ll admit it: I’m within the latter camp, and this isn’t my first unclaimed property rodeo.

I’ve positioned a $110 paycheck from an outdated part-time job and later a $30 refund from my medical insurance. I even discovered a $900 house safety deposit owed to my then-boyfriend. We went on trip to Costa Rica with our newly discovered loot.

Sounds like a win, proper? Well, not precisely. All that cash earns precisely zero% whereas it sits in state coffers. If we had been Type As, maybe we might have put our cash in a high-yield financial savings account or used it to begin investing.

So sure, the best factor to do right here is to not let your cash wind up with the state within the first place. But we’re all human. Taking 30 seconds to search your title is time nicely spent. You get bonus factors for those who search on behalf of a Type B in your life.

Just don’t overlook to thank me whenever you uncover an $81.13 windfall of your individual.

Robin Hartill is an authorized monetary planner and a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. She writes the Dear Penny private finance recommendation column. Send your difficult cash questions to [email protected].

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