Wake-up call for your dormant accounts
Money from bank customers’ dormant accounts has now been transferred to the Government’s Big Society Bank, but account holders can still get it back if they can prove ownership.
The bank’s money, £400 million of which comes from dormant bank accounts that have been left unused for at least 15 years, will be lent to social enterprises and charities but remains the property of the customer. Since 2009, the government has been able to take control of money left untouched for 15 years. However, while the definition of ‘dormant account’ varies from bank to bank, most declare untouched accounts ‘dormant’ after either a year or three to five years.
If you remember a bank account that you have not used for 15 years or more, you should contact the bank to check what has happened to it and gather any documentary evidence that the money is yours. Banks have been trying to trace owners of dormant accounts since the Big Society Bank was announced in early 2011, but if you have forgotten about an account, the bank might not have your current address.
If you are unsure where you held an account, there is a free central tracing scheme spanning banks, building societies and NS&I, including instances where the bank or building society has closed or merged. You can download a claim form at www.mylostaccount.org.uk and you should receive a response within three months. You will still have to prove ownership before the bank reactivates any account found.
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