You would think that the one thing people would always keep track of is where their money is located. This does not stop many bank and building society accounts becoming dormant every year. These are most often savings accounts, with those opened by parents in the names of their children being especially prone to dormancy. Even if you are aware that an old account exists, without the passbook or account numbers to enable you to find it, you might think it was gone forever.

Luckily there is a way of retrieving such lost bank accounts. A free service called mylostaccount enables people to get back their lost cash. This online service is a combination of the schemes previously run independently by the British Bankers Association, the Building Societies Association and National Savings and  Investments. Completing a single form on the service website searches for accounts across all three groups. This will not pick up accounts you are currently using, but should turn up “lost” accounts that match your details. Accounts are typically defined as “lost” if there is no activity by the account holder for three years (one year for current accounts).

If an account has been inactive in this manner for fifteen years, then the process is slightly more difficult. These account are considered to have been abandoned, and the government has the power to transfer the amounts held in them to the Reclaim Fund. This fund is used to fund charitable and community endeavours under the auspices of the Big Lottery Fund. It is still possible to get cash back from the Reclaim Fund, and a percentage of the amount transferred out of dormant accounts is retained in the Fund for this purpose. You would need to provide detailed evidence to prove the money belongs to you before you can retrieve it from here. 

• If you think you have a lost account out there somewhere, you can start the search for it at www.mylostaccount.org.uk


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