Missing Money: 5 Facts You Need to Know

The flow of money is so complex that even the most meticulous people sometimes cannot explain where their money is. It could be lying dormant in a state property fund. According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), states are collectively holding $42 billion in unclaimed money in the United States. This money ranges from IRS refunds, dormant savings accounts, uncashed payroll checks, life insurance payouts among other funds.

Joshua Joyce, an administrator of unclaimed property at the Arizona Department of Revenue, said that this is a growing area in the U.S. and it is surprising to learn just how many people are unaware of the existence of government programs. To this effect, there are 5 facts that every U.S. citizen must know to help reduce the amount of missing money held by the U.S government.

Do Not Assume That There Is Nothing To Claim

In her book, The Little Book of Missing Money, Mary Pitman states that the biggest hurdle for the government is that people assume that this issue does not concern them. She proceeds by enlightening her readers that it is possible and extremely easy for money to end up in the state property department, especially since some states are known to be particularly aggressive in withholding dormant funds. It is therefore important for every citizen to ensure that they check their missing money status using available tools and claim their funds.

There Is No Statute Of Limitations On Unclaimed Money

While speaking to USA Today, Mary Pitman advised heirs to check the status of their deceased relatives because there is no statute of limitations on unclaimed money. She however cautioned that although 11 of the states do not participate in the giveback, relatives should still regularly check the sites regularly to spot missing money as soon as it appears in the state funds.

There Have Been Great And Successful Refunds

Although some states are notorious for snagging these payments, there have been successful claims. Connecticut’s state treasurer reported that a resident was allocated $32.8 million in refunds and in that year alone, the state made refunds of up to $83.5 million.

Use Government- Approved Search Engines To Know If You Qualify

Most unclaimed funds go missing for a number of reasons like lost contact and poor estate planning, according to Joshua Joyce, administrator of unclaimed property at the Arizona Department of Revenue.

To determine if one qualifies or not, you could take advantage of NAUPA endorsed search engines or other government sites. MissingMoney.com for instance, is a free to search and free to claim search engine. Although 11 states do not participate, the website valuably lists contact information and links to databases run by these states. Unclaimed.org, another NAUPA’s website, lists other databases such as Treasuryhunt.gov, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp, and IRS.gov that might help.

There are also pay sites that offer extensive and thorough search results. For these, it is extremely advisable for users to only pay after receiving their respective search results and ensure payments do not exceed 20% of their refunds.

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NAUPA Is Not Limited To The U.S. Alone

NAUPA does not only work in the U.S. but also in Canada, Quebec and British Columbia. According to their official website, their work is also further spread out to Guam, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands.

Credit Card Perks You Don’t Have, But Don’t Know About

Just about every adult has at least one credit card in their wallet. And for many, this card is a lifesaver in an emergency and a much better option than getting fast cash with a title loan. But a credit card isn’t only useful when you’re cash-strapped. There are other little hidden perks you might not know about.

Read the fine print on your credit card application or the terms of agreement, and you’ll discover a variety of sweet perks that can save you money.

1. Rental car insurance

If you’ve ever rented a car, you might have purchased collision insurance to protect your wallet in the event of an auto accident. With this coverage, if you cause an accident and damage the rental car, you don’t have to file a claim through your personal auto insurance.

What you might not realize is that some credit cards offer free car rental insurance coverage. Use your credit card to book your next car rental and you’ll automatically receive coverage up to a certain dollar amount, which varies by credit card. Since car rental insurance can cost $10-$20 a day, that’s a savings of up to $140 for a week’s rental.

2. Extended warranty

If you’re spending hundreds or thousands on a new electronic, it only makes sense to get an extended warranty. Most manufacturer warranties expire after one year, but an extended warranty offers up to two or three years of additional protection.

Instead of buying an extended warranty at checkout when purchasing an electronic item, call your credit card company in advance to see if an extended warranty is included among your cardmember perks. If so, use this card to make the purchase and you’ll receive an extended warranty that matches the manufacturer’s warranty (up to one or two years). This covers the repair or replacement cost if the item breaks or malfunctions. Ask your credit card company about maximum coverage amounts and restrictions.

3. Trip cancellation coverage

There is nothing more frustrating than an airline canceling your flight at the last minute and having to book another flight at a higher rate.

Book a trip with a credit card that offers trip cancellation coverage, and you’ll be reimbursed for charges triggered by a travel delay. Additionally, you can receive a refund on non-refundable flights if you have to cancel or change your plans because of an emergency (death of an immediate family member) or an illness. Speak with your credit card company for coverage limits.

4. Price protection

If you use a credit card to make a purchase, and then find the same item for less at another retail store within 30 to 60 days, your credit card company may refund the difference. Price protection isn’t offered by every credit card company, so you’ll need to read your terms of agreement or call the issuing bank. There are limits to how much you can get back. For example, Citi’s price protection refunds up to $300 per item, and up to $1,200 per year.

As a bonus, some credit cards offer purchase protection. If an item you purchase with your credit card is damaged or stolen within 90 days of the purchase (on average), the credit card company will refund your purchase up to a certain amount. Discover offers purchase protection within the first three months up to $500.

5. Roadside assistance

You might feel that AAA or another motor club membership is an absolute necessity, especially if you don’t know anything about jumping a battery or changing a tire. However, before you spring for a yearly roadside assistance membership, see if your credit card offers this perk.

Benefits vary by card. Some cards may only offer free towing up to a certain number of miles, whereas others might charge a flat fee for a service call, which is cheaper than calling a tow company directly. Ask your credit card company about fees, and then compare the cost with the annual price of a motor club membership.