Your child could have £1,000 tucked away in a secret bank account you never knew you had – here's how to find out
MORE than 100,000 teens are missing out on £1,000 each – here's how to find out if your child is one of them.
Parents of Child Trust Fund (CTF) recipients born between September 2002 and January 2011 have been urged to check if they're missing out on millions of pounds in unclaimed cash.
New figures show 140,000 teenagers are missing out on a combined £209.5 million.
Child trust fund (CTF) accounts which have matured and are now accessible to over-18s hold an average of £1,500 each.
But it is estimated that one in six young people don't even know about their personal nest egg.
Some 139,683 teens could be missing out on a pile of free cash, according to finance firm Hargreaves Lansdown.
In September that figure was estimated to be £171 million, with 114,000 teenagers none the wiser about their CTF.
But the accounts mature when you reach age 18 meaning more people are eligible to access their cash each month.
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It is estimated that 55,000 reach the milestone of 18 years old each month, meaning the number of maturing accounts is growing at a rapid pace.
What is a Child Trust Fund?
The tax-free savings accounts were created in 2005 to encourage parents to save money for their children.
Children born between September 1, 2002 and January 2, 2011 were entitled to the accounts.
The government paid in £250 when the child was born to kick-start the savings habit and another £250 on their seventh birthday.
Low-income families got two lots of £500.
The accounts earned savings interest, and children were able to access the cash or transfer it to an adult savings account at age 18.
But CTFs were replaced with Junior Isas in 2011 and the obselete savings accounts became less appealing.
Junior Isas offered much more generous rates of interest and more investment options.
In 2015, it was ruled that anyone with a CTF would be allowed to transfer their money to a Junior Isa
But there was limited take-up of this offer, meaning many savings pots were left earning paltry interest rates – or forgotten about entirely.
How can I find out whether I've got one?
If you've just turned 18 or your child has, chances are there's a Child Trust Fund waiting to be claimed.
If you've lost the paperwork or aren't sure, don't panic – you can trace your account through the HMRC service.
Fill in the form online to ask HMRC where the account was originally opened.
You’ll need a Government Gateway user ID and password. If you don't have a user ID, you can create one when you fill in the online form.
If you’re a parent looking for your child’s trust fund, you’ll need either:
- the child’s Unique Reference Number (you’ll find this on your annual CTF statement)
- their National Insurance number
If you’re looking for your own trust fund, you’ll need your National Insurance number.
HMRC will send you details of the CTF provider by post within three weeks of receiving your request.
It will also contact you for more information if you’ve adopted the child or a court has given you parental responsibility for them.
What should I do if my child isn't 18 yet?
According to Hargreaves Lansdown, converting your CTF into a Junior ISA (Jisa) could be a sensible option.
Senior personal finance analyst Sarah Coles said: "The tax benefits are the same, the annual limit is the same, the money is still locked away until the age of 18.
"However, JISAs have some extra benefits.
"If you are keen to keep your money in cash, they tend to offer much more competitive rates."
For example, the most generous Jisa we could find was with Loughborough Building Society, paying 2.5% interest, while the best CTF account we found paid just 2%.
To make a switch, you should pick a Jisa you want to switch to and check if it accepts transfers in.
Then fill in an application.
If the provider accepts you, it will move your CTF cash into your new account for you.
If you put in just £1.67 a day till your child turns 18, they could benefit from a £24,000 nest egg.
We reported on one dad able to save a whopping £180,000 for their three kids using Jisas.
And if you're thinking really long term, you can make your child a millionaire by the time they turn 65 by investing in their pension pot from birth.
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