Dormant or lost UK BAnk Account
is a Dormant account?
A savings account that has
had no deposits or withdrawals (account owner initiated transactions)
for an extended period - usually a year. After an extended period of
time dormant accounts are seized by the states they are in under "unclaimed
property" laws. They "hold" them for you.
is a lost account?
Banks, building societies and NS&I wherever possible seek to keep in
touch with their customers. If, however, an account has been inactive
for an extended period, the account holding bank or building society
will write to the customer asking them whether they wish the account to
If no response is received, the bank, building society or NS&I will stop
sending correspondence and will class the account as “lost”. This
ensures that financial details are not sent to what might be an old
address. This reduces the risk of fraud and ID theft. It is not good
practice to send statements, cheque books and other material to an out-of-date
address, where someone other than you could try to access the account or
use the correspondence for other fraudulent purposes.
The most typical cause of an account becoming lost is a change of
Click here to go to
website that helps people find their lost account.
Dormant accounts Unclaimed properties
FAQ What is a lost account?
Banks, building societies and NS&I wherever possible seek to
keep in touch with their customers. If, however, an account has
been inactive for an extended period, the account holding bank
or building society will write to the customer asking them
whether they wish the account to remain open.
If no response is received, the bank, building society or NS&I
will stop sending correspondence and will class the account as
“lost”. This ensures that financial details are not sent to what
might be an old address. This reduces the risk of fraud and ID
theft. It is not good practice to send statements, cheque books
and other material to an out-of-date address, where someone
other than you could try to access the account or use the
correspondence for other fraudulent purposes.
The most typical cause of an account becoming lost is a change
NB: Whilst the term "Lost
Account" is used to describe this schemes function it is
important to mention that banks only search for "Dormant" bank
accounts. Therefore the search result may state "Not Found" but
you have "Active" accounts with the bank you have ticked. This
is because the search completed by the bank is from their
records maintained in a database of "Non Active" or "Dormant"
bank accounts only.
How do banks, building societies and NS&I go about
tracing their customers?
Banks and building societies have set procedures for trying to
contact customers before they make accounts lost. This contact
is normally in addition to other regular customer mailings.
Depending on the circumstances, banks and building societies may
also undertake other forms of pro-active search to trace
customers when they lose touch.
In the event that an account does become lost, however,
customers can reactivate the account or otherwise claim their
money on application to their bank, building society or NS&I or
by using the online claim form on mylostaccount.org.uk – simply
go to the search button on the homepage.
What is mylostaccount.org.uk?
mylostaccount.org.uk is a FREE central tracing scheme
spanning banks, building societies and NS&I. It draws together
the three central tracing schemes first introduced in 2001.
mylostaccount.org.uk is designed to help where the customer is
unsure of which bank or building society holds an account to
which they have entitlement, including instances where the bank
or building society has since closed or merged. NS&I investments
can also be traced using the online application form.
Will I lose the right to my money under the unclaimed
The answer to the question is an unambiguous NO. Moreover, you
will continue to be able to search for longstanding lost
accounts through the bank or building society in question or
Banks and building societies, under the terms of the
statute-backed scheme, will continue to undertake searches where
account holders - other their legal heirs - come forward after
the money has been transferred.
Shouldn't banks and building societies do more to trace
Banks and building societies go to considerable lengths to trace
customers - the extent depending on the amount involved - but
where it seems clear that a customer no longer lives at the last
known address, there would be a substantial risk to continue to
send information about the account there.
Banks and building societies use whatever information they have
access to in attempting to contact their customer, but where
these efforts are not successful, the account will be classified
as lost. Banks and building societies do not set out to lose
contact with their customers and it is not in their commercial
interests to do so.
NS&I take similar steps in re-establishing contact with its
My account was held at a building society, but it has
now converted into a bank. Do I claim under the building society
scheme or the bank scheme?
mylostaccount.org.uk spans banks and building societies, old,
new and converted, simply do a search on our website.
What happens if my bank or building society has closed
The search facility on mylostaccount.org.uk draws on a long list
of banks and building societies that have closed, merged or
changed name. If you can’t find the bank or building society
that you are looking for, call the BBA lost accounts unit and
they'll do everything they can to help. The number is 020 7216
o You will be advised if the banks are unable to find an account
in their records which matches the details on your claim.
o You will be advised of the name of the bank(s) who finds
details of an account.
mylostaccount.org.uk and the underlying support from the BBA and
BSA provide the means by which your claim can be directed to the
How quickly will claims be decided upon?
A response to your claim will be given as soon as possible, but
within three months of receiving your completed claim form. In
the case of NS&I you should receive a response within one month.
Who will decide whether claims are valid?
The scheme member bank, building society or NS&I will decide on
the validity of each claim.
If a bank cannot agree on the validity of your claim, or is
unable to find an account, you will have the right to appeal
through the bank's internal complaints process. If the appeal is
unsuccessful, you will have the right to refer your complaint to
the Financial Ombudsman Service, South Quay Plaza, 183 Marsh
Wall, London, E14 9SR, Telephone: 0845 080 1800. Website:
Is there a complaint procedure if the claimant is not
happy with the decision made by the bank, building society or
Each institution will do its utmost to ensure that they have
fully investigated the claim on behalf of the claimant.
If you disagree with the way a bank or building society has
dealt with a claim you will have the right to appeal through its
internal appeal 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. Website:
Will my money be repaid with interest?
If the bank, building society or NS&I agrees that you have a
valid claim on an account, and it was an interest bearing
account, they will tell you the amount of interest which has
accrued, and how you can access the funds.
Which banks and building societies are in the scheme?
A full list of scheme members is provided online and on the
downloadable PDF forms.
What if the account is with a bank not in the scheme?
You can still complete the claim form, and send it to the head
office of the bank in question. As with the scheme members, this
bank will also investigate the validity of your claim. The BBA
will also be very happy to guide you in the right direction.
What if the account is with a foreign bank?
You will see from the list of banks printed on the claim form
that a number of foreign banks operating in the UK are included
in this scheme. If your account is held overseas however you
will need to pursue your claim with the bank or savings
institution holding the account.
Advice on searching in respect of wills and legacies
There are instances where the executors of wills have reason to
believe that there are accounts missing from the personal
financial records available to them. In these circumstances we
recommend a search of the six largest banks, the use of the
geographical facility for building societies and a search of
How can I bid for unclaimed assets money for my charity
or community cause?
There is no mechanism for doing so at this stage. For further
information please see the consultation paper issued by HM
Treasury in May 2007.
Top tips when searching for a lost account
Start the Search
- If you can, submit the claim online. This enables
mylostaccount.org.uk to forward the claim to the relevant
institutions with minimal administration and assists the
internal search made by the institutions.
- If only one institution is involved and you are
completing a paper claim, we recommend that you send your
claim form direct to that bank at the address quoted on the
form for that bank.
- Remember that an account opened many years ago may not
have been in your current married name.
- Remember that the account may have been opened while you
were at a previous address.
- If known, give the sort code and account number. To put
your search into context, there are 150 million bank and
building society accounts in the UK and anywhere up to half
a million lost accounts.
- Accounts opened by parents and grandparents on your
behalf may be jointly in their names; where relevant, they
may also be in your maiden name.
If the account holder is still alive we will need to
establish that you have their express authority to undertake
the search and/or the appropriate legal authority.
- Information about account types and passbooks helps
narrow down the search.
- Club and charity accounts may be in the name of the club
or charity and are best dealt with through direct contact
with the specific bank or building society.
- The institution will ask you to verify your ID in the
event of an account being found.
- If you live overseas and don’t visit the UK, or cannot
otherwise visit a branch, special arrangements may need to
be made in support of your proving your ID.
- You can make a quick and ready search for outstanding
NS&I Premium Bond prizes online using the prize checker at
- Do not pay a fee of any kind to undertake the search for
your old bank, building society or NS&I account. This
service is FREE if you apply direct to the
institution concerned or through this website (mylostaccount.org.uk).
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