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Aged 18 to 20? Check you're not missing out on £1,000s in a forgotten Child Trust Fund – here's how

If you were born on or after 1 September 2002 and you're now over 18, there could be a stash of cash worth £100s or even £1,000s waiting for you in a dormant account, known as a Child Trust Fund (CTF) – here's how to check.

Some 175,000 eligible young adults aged 18 or over are yet to access their CTF account – and they could have savings waiting for them worth an average of £2,100, according to the latest available figures from HMRC, which collects data on the number of dormant accounts and balances from CTF providers.

For more info on how these accounts work, see below, as well as our full Child Trust Funds guide.

How to find your (or your child's) Child Trust Fund

If you already know your CTF provider, you can contact them directly – this might be a bank, building society or other savings or investment provider.

But don't worry – there is a way to track down lost accounts. HMRC has a handy tool where you can find out which provider your CTF is with. The tool is free and can be used by parents and teens – here's how:

  1. Go to HMRC's tool. You'll need to log in using a 'Government Gateway ID'. If you don't have one, you can create one easily.
  2. Fill in your (or your child's) details. Including name, address, date of birth, phone number and National Insurance number.
  3. You should hear from HMRC within three weeks. It should tell you which provider holds the account – if HMRC needs more information, it'll contact you by phone or post.
  4. Contact the CTF provider. It can reunite you with the account.

If you're 16 or older, you can do this yourself – just bear in mind that while you can find your CTF before you turn 18, you won't be able to access the cash until then.

If you're a parent with children younger than 16, you can find out where the CTF is held on their behalf by following the process above. 

How Child Trust Funds work

Child Trust Funds are tax-free savings accounts that were available for kids born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011. Initially, kids got £250 (or £500 if their parents were on a low income) added to their CTF by the Government. 

When a CTF was opened, parents and others could deposit additional savings into it, but any money in there was locked away until the child's 18th birthday. Once the child turns 18, the account matures and the money becomes available for them to use as they wish.

Some 6.3 million CTFs were opened in total, and it's estimated that around 55,000 CTF account holders turn 18 each month and get access to their cash. See our full Child Trust Funds guide for more info.

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