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Millions of pounds left in dormant accounts: how to trace your money

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
The government has announced it will unlock £330m from dormant bank accounts and distribute the money to good causes in the UK. If you’ve lost track of your money, here’s how to trace it.

Up to £330m from dormant bank and building society accounts will be used to help the homeless, disadvantaged young people, charities and other good causes in the UK, the Minister for Sport and Civil Society announced today.

Tracey Crouch said the money has also been earmarked to help tackle problem debt and those with mental health problems over the next four years.

By 2020, the total amount redistributed from dormant accounts to good causes as part of The Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act will reach £500m.

Since the Dormant Accounts Scheme was established in 2008, almost £1bn of dormant accounts money has been identified, with more than £360m so far being directed towards good causes across the UK.

What is a dormant account?

A savings or current account will become dormant if a bank or building society receives back undelivered mail or if there’s no activity on the account – typically between one and three years.

After 15 years, the cash will be transferred to the Big Lottery Fund.

How to reclaim money from a dormant account

Despite millions of pounds from dormant accounts being earmarked for good causes, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) confirmed there’s an indefinite period to reclaim your money. The scheme keeps money aside for such requests, it said.

To claim your money, you can use the free lost account service at, or you can request a paper form for the service via bank and building society branches.

If the bank can’t find it, and you are convinced the account does exist, you can complain via the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

The FOS expects banks and building societies to demonstrate they have done a full investigation. If a provider can’t demonstrate it has done this, it’s likely the FOS will view your case favourably.

Related: See’s guide on How to trace money in pensions, investments and premium bonds for more information and Why gifting to charity could make financial sense.

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