Your forgotten cash and where to find it

From unused Oyster cards to old bank accounts you could have some handy spare cash ready to claim.

I spotted this advert on the tube the other day from Nandos – revealing there are 1.8 million unclaimed rewards sitting on Nando’s cards. That’s a lot of chicken. But I’m not that surprised. It’s just another example of forgotten cash and rewards that we really should be using.

A Nando’s advert on the tube telling us to use our rewards points.

Recently Becky and I found a couple of Oyster cards we’ve not used for a couple of years. Since we’ve been able to tap and go with Contactless cards on London’s tubes and buses, we’ve had no use for the official payment cards. So these cards have just been sitting there.

I had a quick look and both had a little bit of cash on them. Just a few quid. A couple of clicks to cancel and apply for a refund then brought a welcome surprise. We were also due an extra £5 back. Each. We’d both forgotten that when we got the Oysters we had to pay this as a deposit.

So this got me thinking – where else could people forgot they’ve got some money? Here’s a quick list of places to check, and how to make sure that money is going to better use.

1. Cashback sites

Regular readers will know I’m an advocate of using cashback sites to earn a little extra. By using Quidco or Topcashback as the first stop before going to most online shops you can receive money back on your purchase. Really easy.

But the cashback does take a while to be paid out. So if you’ve not used your account for a while, it’s worth looking to see if there’s anything ready to cash out.

> Not joined a cashback site yet? Check out these new member deals

2. Bank rewards

We pay all out bills through our Natwest Reward account as it pays 2% cashback. Great! But to claim that cash you need to log into a different online account (not your internet banking). And it’s easy for it to get forgotten.

Barclays also pays out Blue Rewards this way.

3. Old savings accounts

I remember a good few years back I found an old Post Office book that has been set up by my gran. There wasn’t much in it, but it has just been sitting there. A while back Becky had a letter from Virgin Money saying she hadn’t been in touch for a while. Turned out it had been four years and there was £4.41 of interest which had been added after she’d cleared the balance. So take a look through your records. See if there are any accounts you’ve long forgotten – there could be cash lurking!

4. Credit in online shops

With some online retailers, you’ll be refunded in credit which stays on your account, particularly if you’ve paid by gift card or voucher. So log in to Amazon, John Lewis and the rest to see if there’s any money sitting there. You can’t transfer this out to your bank, but you can use it.

5. Gift cards

Speaking of gift cards, take a look in your wallet, drawer or wherever you keep them. These are so commonly forgotten about that when found they’ve expired and all the money lost.

> My rules for making sure you don’t waste your gift cards

6. Loyalty schemes

If you’re always tapping a loyalty card when you go shopping, log in to see how much you have racked up.

Tesco Clubcard points are usually posted as vouchers, but you can reorder any which you’ve lost or exchange them online for boosted deals.

With Nectar you need to check your account. You can spend these in Sainsbury’s direct from your Nectar card.

7. Old phone, TV or energy accounts

When you switch supplier to get a better deal, make sure you aren’t owed any cash. Often with bills like these you pay in advance so could well be due some money back – and the companies won’t automatically send it to you. So chase it up!

8. Prepaid cards

It’s not just Oyster where you could have some balance left over. Have you ever had a prepaid card? Maybe on holiday? Check what the balance is and get that money back. And as with Oyster see if you had to put a deposit down.


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