Lost Bank Accounts? Finding Dormant Accounts
Lost Bank Accounts? Find Dormant Accounts
There are times when a bank account or saving account has been opened and has not been used for some time. Over time people lose touch with a bank account or savings due to moving to another address and forget to notify the bank. Below is a simple guide to some simple steps to help reunite you with your money.
NB: Before any type of account can be reactivated, the bank or building society will need to be satisfied about the identity and that you have a legal entitlement to the money.
Where the original bank or building society no longer exists as they may have been taken over by another institution, the new institution will carry out the search instead.
How long will it take to reactivate my bank account?
When a bank or building societies have to trace an account it can take up to three months, the more information you can give them at the start will assist them in locating and verifying your account sooner. So before requesting searches get as much data as possible this will speed up the process.
Dormant accounts and lost Savings Accounts
If you have a savings or current account and have not made any withdrawals or deposits for at least three years or mail has previously been returned from that address and the bank or building society has not heard from you during that time. They will make other attempts to trace you or they will write at least once to the most recent address it holds for you to ask if you want to keep the account open.
If your reply is that you want to keep your account open, the bank or building society will continue to treat your account as ‘live', sending you statements and other correspondence in the normal way.
If the bank or building society receives no reply from you after three months, your account may be considered ‘lost' and the bank or building society will treat your account differently from a ‘Lost' account. This is to protect you:
• To stop fraud and identity theft by not sending out statements, cheque books and other material to an out-of-date address.
• To safeguard your privacy by not allowing confidential information to go to an old address.
If your account is considered ‘lost', the bank or building society will retain a record of the account.
The funds in the account remain your property. If you make a valid claim the funds in it will be paid to you in full, with interest if applicable.
On receiving your application to search for a lost account, the bank or building society will conduct a search of its records to see whether any matches the details you have provided.
When you send an application form to reclaim funds from a lost account you should:
• Save the email response which will provide a unique reference number.
• Be contacted further if information is required.
• Advised as quickly as possible.
• In any event within three months of receipt of your form receive an outcome.
If a bank or building society agrees that you have a valid claim on an account they will tell you:
• Any balance of the account
• Any interest, which has accrued if applicable.
• How you can access the funds
If you are dissatisfied with the way a bank or building society has dealt with a claim you will have the right to appeal through its internal appeals process.
If your appeal is unsuccessful, you have the right to refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service, South Quay Plaza, 183 Marsh Wall, London, E14 9SR, Telephone: 0845 080 1800.
Claiming on a family members bank account
It may be that there are legal steps you need to take before you are entitled to exercise your claim on another person's lost account. In that case the bank or building society will tell you this; you may also need the services of a solicitor to help you.