Tuesday 21st May 2024

How to track down old bank accounts and investments using Gretel – a review

Nick Daws discusses how Gretel, a free service for tracking down lost financial products, can simplify the process of rediscovering assets

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s not uncommon to lose track of some of your financial assets over time. 

But whether it’s an old bank or savings account, or an investment you made years ago, these forgotten funds could be sitting idle, waiting to be rediscovered and put to good use. 

Fortunately, with advances in technology and the availability of online tools, tracking down these ‘buried treasures’ has become easier than ever. 

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One such tool – which I have used myself – is Gretel. It’s quick and easy to use, and free of charge for individuals (Gretel make their money from the banks and other financial institutions they work with).

Why track down old accounts and investments?

There are several reasons why you might want to locate old bank accounts and investments…

  • Unclaimed funds: In many cases, these forgotten accounts may hold unclaimed funds, such as savings (with added interest) and dividends from investments.
  • Inheritance: You might uncover accounts or investments that belonged to a deceased family member, potentially leading to inheritance claims.
  • Financial planning: Knowing the full extent of your assets is crucial for effective financial planning and decision-making.

And, of course, any extra and unexpected cash is especially welcome in these challenging times, and can potentially improve the quality of life for you and your loved ones.

Gretel: a key to unlocking lost assets

Gretel is a free online service designed to help individuals track down and reclaim their lost financial assets. 

Whether it’s a dormant bank account, forgotten pension scheme, or unclaimed dividends, Gretel employs advanced algorithms and data analysis to scour various databases and financial institutions to locate these assets on your behalf.

How to use Gretel

Using Gretel is a straightforward process:

Sign up: Start by visiting the Gretel website and signing up for an account. Registration is quick and easy, requiring just some basic personal information.

Provide details: Once registered, you’ll need to provide some details about yourself, such as your current address and any other addresses you have lived at in the past, your National Insurance number (if you know it), any previous names you have used (e.g. your maiden name), and so on. 

Wait for results: Once you’ve entered your information, Gretel’s algorithms get to work, searching through databases and financial records to identify any accounts or investments that may be associated with you.

Review results: After the search is complete, Gretel will present you with a report detailing any discovered assets. This may include bank accounts, pensions, investments, and more.

Reclaim your assets: Armed with this information, you can then take steps to reclaim your lost assets, whether it’s by contacting the relevant financial institutions or following specific procedures outlined by Gretel.

Tips for maximising success

Gretel is a powerful tool for tracking down lost assets, but there are a few things you can do yourself to maximise your chances of success:

Provide accurate information: The more accurate and detailed information you provide, the better Gretel’s algorithms can narrow down their search.

Be patient: Depending on the complexity (and duration) of your financial history and the number of databases searched, the process may take some time. Be patient and allow Gretel to complete its search thoroughly. Some results may come through almost immediately but others can take weeks or longer. In addition, Gretel is constantly adding new databases and search resources; so even if nothing shows up straight away, it may do so in the future.

Follow up: Once you receive your report, be proactive in following up on any identified assets. Some may require additional steps to reclaim, so stay engaged in the process.

Third party searches

As mentioned earlier, you can also use Gretel to search for missing assets from people you are associated with. 

Examples might include deceased persons where you are acting as executor of their estate, or people for whom you have financial power of attorney (i.e. they have given you legal authority to act on their behalf in financial matters).

You can set up a third party search in exactly the same way as for yourself, providing the information Gretel needs to search its databases. Before they will send you the results of their searches, however, they require you to upload documentation evidencing your legal authority to manage that person’s affairs. So in the case of a deceased person, they might require letters of probate.

If you don’t have the necessary documents to hand, however, you can still set the process in motion. If Gretel don’t find anything they will tell you and that will be that (for the time being at least). But if they do find something they will notify you, and you can then upload the necessary documentation when you have it.

Closing thoughts

As you can see, tracking down old bank accounts and investments doesn’t have to be a daunting task. 

With tools like Gretel, the process becomes much more straightforward and accessible. By taking advantage of this free service, you can uncover lost and hidden financial assets and use them to the benefit of you and your family.

So why wait? Start your journey to rediscover forgotten assets today with Gretel. And if anything exciting turns up in their searches, do let us know!

As always, if you have any comments about this article, please leave them below.

Photo Credits: Pexels

Nick Daws

Mouthy Blogger

Nick Daws is a semi-retired freelance writer and editor. He is the author of over 30 non-fiction books, including Start Your Own Home-Based Business and The Internet for Writers. He lives in Burntwood, Staffordshire, where he has been running his personal finance blog at Poundsandsense.com for over seven years.

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