How to Find Hidden Money You Didn’t Realize You Had

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

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Are you low on cash or looking to get out of debt faster? Maybe you’ve considered getting a second job or selling your valuables to boost your finances.

Have you ever thought about looking for unclaimed money? There could be extra money hidden away with your name on it, you just have to know where to look. It may take the form of a few dollars from a refund check you never received, or even an old 401(k) worth thousands.

Knowing where to find unclaimed money can be tricky. But once you start digging, you could find a treasure trove of money to help improve your finances.

6 places to look for unclaimed money

1. State government offices

When your money goes unclaimed or undelivered, it most likely goes to one central spot — your state’s treasury. According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administration, nearly $41.7 billion in unclaimed money is being held by US states and territories.

This is because many state laws require that organizations such as banks and businesses turn over money that can’t be given back to the owner. For example, if a bank closes down and a bank account holder doesn’t come forward to claim their money or property, it goes directly to the state.

To find this money, you’ll need to contact your state’s treasury or missing money office. This means contacting any state you may be associated with. If you grew up in Illinois, studied in New York, and currently live in Florida, you’ll want to check in all three.

Additionally, if you want to take the search for unclaimed funds a step further, check in with any states associated with deceased family members and businesses you worked with. Even the smallest amount of money is collected by the state on your behalf free of charge.

2. Your parents’ bank

Often times unclaimed money is held by the bank because an account went inactive, or “dormant.” The bank will either send your money to the state or hold on to it for you for a specific period of time.

If you had checking accounts set up on your behalf by your parents through school programs or child banking initiatives, you may be surprised to see that those accounts still exist. Giving banks a call only takes seconds but could lead the way to unclaimed money in potential accounts.

But you shouldn’t stop there! Your parents and family members may have also invested on your behalf in accounts such as a savings bond.

Treasury Direct reports that every year, 15,000 savings bonds are returned to the U.S. Department of the Treasury because it is undeliverable. That is a whole lot of money that could go to paying down your student loan debt!

3. Old employers

When you got your first job in high school or college, you may have been completely unaware of all the benefits you were signing up for.

These benefits may have included a pension or retirement plan opened on your behalf. Unclaimed funds from these accounts can be rolled over into a current retirement plan or an IRA. If you’re looking to find unclaimed money from past retirement plans, check out the National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits or ERISA

Not sure if you have any pensions? The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, a U.S. government agency, is a great place to start.

If you have a retirement account open, you’ll need to do a bit more work. Start by calling your old employer’s Human Resource Department and asking them to do some digging on your behalf.

Or, if your former employer is no longer in business, take your search to the IRS and ask for tax document 5500. This is filed on behalf of the majority of 401(k) accounts.

4. Deceased relatives or friends

You may access some unclaimed money because you’re the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.

Many life insurance policies never get updated. A relative or family friend may have listed you years ago as their beneficiary, so money may be owed to you when they pass. In other cases, a person may not even know or have kept records of owning a policy.

Most unclaimed funds from life insurance policies go directly to the state. However, more recent deaths may still be held by the insurance provider. If you feel that you may be a beneficiary, try calling the lawyer or executor of the will to see if they can ask on your behalf.

Other insurance companies, such as MetLife, allow you to search an online database based on the policy holder’s information.

5. Past and current addresses

Like many recent graduates, you probably spent every year moving from your childhood home to the dorm room, to an apartment, to an overseas hostel, and beyond.

Having so many different addresses can make it difficult for you to get important money mail like class action suite winnings, tax refunds, and even paychecks.

Most checks and unclaimed funds will go straight to the state it came from (not necessarily the state you lived in at the time). However, the check may have also been returned to the sender. If you feel you are owed money, now is the time to reach out and ask for help.

If your past address includes a parent or family member’s house, you may also want to give them a ring. That pile of mail sitting on your childhood desk may be full of checks you ignored for the last few years. Now does opening the mail sound more exciting?

6. Online service sites

So far, you may have noticed that you have to do a lot of legwork to get that money back. But here’s a secret: many government and private organizations actually have websites where you can track down your money with just a few questions and clicks!

Here’s a short list of where you can start:

In addition, there are paid services you can use to find money on your behalf. But with websites like these making it so easy to do, paying for someone to search your name is just not worth it unless you’re expecting a ton back.

Finding missing money you’re owed

Unclaimed money may be just waiting for you to find it.

So much money may be held by the state and federal government, potentially right under your nose. Take the time to search and inquire about it. You’ll find it’s so worth it for the potential payoff — no treasure map required.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

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1 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

  1. VARIABLE APR – APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes.

2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student Loan RefinanceFixed rates from 3.999% APR to 7.804% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.480% APR to 7.524% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.480% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.07% plus 0.91% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures


4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Education Refinance Loan Rate DisclosureVariable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.07%. Variable interest rates range from 2.72%-8.17% (2.72%-8.17% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.50%-8.69% (3.50% – 8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.
  2. Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at http://www.citizensbank.com/EdRefinance, including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
  3. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled, must be in repayment of their existing student loan(s) and must make the minimum number of payments after leaving school. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.
  4. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  5. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
  6. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.
  7. Average savings based on 18,113 actual customers who refinanced their federal and private student loans through our Education Refinance Loan between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. The calculation is derived by averaging the monthly savings of Education Refinance Loan customers whose payments decreased after refinancing, which is calculated by taking the monthly student loan payments prior to refinancing minus the monthly student loan payments after refinancing. The borrower’s savings might vary based on the interest rates, balances and remaining repayment term of the loans they are seeking to refinance. The borrower’s overall repayment amount may be higher than the loans they are refinancing even if their monthly payments are lower.
2.57% – 5.87%Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Earnest
2.80% – 6.38%1Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Laurel Road
2.48% – 7.52%2Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit SoFi
2.47% – 7.99%Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Lendkey
2.57% – 6.65%3Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit CommonBond
2.72% – 8.17%4Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Citizens
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.