Martin Lewis says you could have thousands of pounds in an account you don't know about

Martin Lewis is urging people to check if they have money they don't know about
Martin Lewis is urging people to check if they have money they don't know about -Credit:ITV

Martin Lewis is urging people to check if they have money in Child Trust Fund accounts but don't know about it.

The financial journalist issued the call to children turned adults on Thursday, via his Twitter account, now called X. He wrote: "Tonight 8:30 on ITV the legend @FatimaWh1tbread will be exposing how many children (now adults) have £1000s in Child Trust Funds but dont know about it (inc many care leavers). I've not seen it, but sounds good. Full help to locate your (or your child's) here...."

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) says the average balance in a Child Trust Fund is £2,100. The Government department has also highlighted the issue on social media.

HMRC says that anyone who was born between September 1, 2002, and January 2, 2011, could be in this situation as they were beneficiaries of the Child Trust Fund. And while people got the money - in many cases the HMRC believes that it has been forgotten - and could be vital cash towards education and university.

HMRC said on X: “Were you born between 1 Sep 2002 and 2 Jan 2011? Check if you have forgotten savings in a Child Trust Fund – worth around £2,000 on average (T&Cs apply).” Child Trust Funds are long-term tax-free savings accounts for children born between the above dates.

The Government contributes an initial deposit of £250 to the account and then you can continue to add up to £9,000 per year. You don’t have to pay tax on the income or any profit it makes, and it won’t affect any benefits or tax credits you get.

The Child Trust Fund scheme closed in 2011. People who are not sure where the account is held can actually use the HMRC to find it as they can explain where the account was originally opened.

Money that is paid into the account belongs to the child but they can only take it out when they reach 18, although they can take control of the account at age 16. Once they turn 18 no more money can be added to the account, but it can be withdrawn or transferred into an adult ISA and the Child Trust Fund will then close. But until your child withdraws or transfers the money, it will remain in an account that no one else has access to.

Anyone wanting to find their Child Trust Fund can use an online tool by clicking here. You can use it if you’re a parent or guardian of a child under 18 or 16 or over and looking for your own trust fund.