Don't let your sleeping cash lie
Ministers are set to grab money languishing in dormant accounts. Julian Knight reports
Sunday 24 August 2008
The clock is ticking for those people who have money sitting in dormant bank accounts. Next year, the Government plans to siphon off an estimated £400m held in accounts that have seen no customer activity for the past 15 years and use it to fund youth projects and other good causes.
The second reading of the Bill legalising the account grab is taking place on 6 October, and bank and building society insiders are urging people who think they have money in dormant accounts to get their skates on and reclaim their cash.
Rachel Le Brocq of the Building Societies Association (BSA) reckons that the money will start leaving accounts destined for government coffers as soon as next summer. "It is important to note that, even after distribution, the money legally remains the property of the account holder," she says, "but it would be easier on all concerned – including the charities set to benefit – if people come forward now rather than wait for the account to be closed and the money moved away."
The BSA, the British Bankers' Association (BBA) and National Savings and Investments have joined forces to set up the website mylostaccount.org.uk, which aims to reunite savers with their money.
However, Ms Le Brocq admits that success in tracking down a dormant account through the site is far from guaranteed: "The account holder logs on to the website and inputs their personal data, as many previous addresses as they have and as much as they know about the account that may be missing. This info is then forwarded to any financial institutions in their area or specifically mentioned in the application. They then search their records and see if an account exists. This takes up to three months to complete and the more information offered initially the more likely the success of the search."
Those people who manage to find a dormant account in their name will be expected to jump through security hoops before they get their cash, Ms Le Brocq adds. "They will be asked to produce identity documents to prove they are who they say they are. Which documents and whether originals or copies suffice will vary between financial institutions."
Not all financial institutions are relying on mylostaccount's "if we will build it, they will come" approach. Some, most notably the Halifax, are actively seeking out people who may have a dormant account with them.
Claire Miller, spokeswoman for Halifax, says: "We have written to the last address we have for our dormant customers and also asked the credit reference agency Experian to track people down for us who might have moved.
"We then write to them and give them the option of moving money to another account or signing a piece of paper to ensure it is no longer dormant, protecting it from being siphoned off."
To date, Halifax has managed to reunite more than 7,000 customers with nearly £17m in cash. But the bank estimates that there is still more than £30m languishing in its accounts.
Some smaller building societies are following a similar approach but in a less high-profile way, Ms Le Brocq saysp. "They are going through their records and writing to members they haven't heard from in 15 years. They are speaking to the local press and some are even employing credit reference agencies to trace customers on a case-by-case basis.
"However, there has to be a cost benefit analysis done. Some of the accounts won't have enough cash in them to warrant going to the expense of a trace."
10 tips for taking out a personal loan
Bare necessities of life cost a pensioner £10,000
Employees will be able to request flexible hours in drive to make workplaces family friendly
Credit unions to offer instant online approvals as ministers clamp down on payday loans industry
How to start your own internet business
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 3 Belgium fan Axelle Despiegelaere lands L'Oreal campaign after World Cup viral photo
- 4 Britney Spears sings 'Alien' without Auto-Tune in embarrassing leaked audio clip
- 5 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
iJobs Money & Business
£12 - £15 per hour: Cameron Kennedy Recruitment: Excellent opportunity to join...
£400 per hour: Orgtel: Technical Business Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £400pd...
£38000 - £42000 per annum + competitive: Real Staffing: Required skills:Previo...
£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...
Day In a Page
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar
A newly refurbished one-bedroom flat in the heart of Mayfair, close to Grosvenor Square
A charming four-bedroom house overlooking Burleigh Square Park, close to Thorpe Bay