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Brits urged to use free tool to check if owed thousands from savings they're 'unaware of'

Britons are being urged to use a free HMRC tool to check if they have a Child Trust Fund (CTF), following concerns that some firms could be charging hundreds of pounds to trace and help withdraw the fund’s value.

CTFs are savings accounts that were opened automatically for most people born between September 1, 2002, and January 2, 2011, in the UK.

They mature on the 18th birthday of the person they belong to, at which point people can decide whether to take the money or transfer it into an Individual Savings Account (ISA).

Thousands of people are still yet to claim their funds. In September last year, HMRC estimated around 430,000 people hadn’t collected their savings, which could be worth around £2,000 on average.

While HMRC offers a free online tool to help owners, or their parents or guardians if under 18, trace their funds, the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) said it has been made aware of organisations who are targeting young people via social media offering to trace and withdraw the fund for a fee.

This could unnecessarily cost the young person hundreds of pounds.

Joanne Walker, LITRG technical officer, said: “There are many young people who are not aware they have a Child Trust Fund.

“Their parent or guardian may not have taken up the Government’s offer when they were born, but HMRC would have opened an account on their behalf.

“If they want to find out if they have a Child Trust Fund and withdraw the money, they do not need to pay someone else to do this for them.

“HMRC offers a free service for people who know the name of the savings provider that holds their account.

“Even if they do not have this information, HMRC can help them find it if they provide their date of birth and National Insurance number.

“For those who want help doing this, there are organisations available who can help locate the fund and who do not charge for the service.”

Ms Walker noted that there is nothing wrong with using a company that will charge for their services as long as people make an informed choice.

However, she pointed out: “These simple steps can ensure young people are able to find and access their fund, without the need for an expensive fee.”


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