Guidance

The Dormant Accounts Scheme

Information about the Dormant Accounts Scheme and guidance to reclaiming funds from a dormant bank account.

Documents

Details

About the dormant accounts scheme

The dormant accounts scheme was established by the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act. Participation in the Scheme by banks and building societies is voluntary. It enables participants to channel funds from dormant accounts towards good causes in the United Kingdom through an independent body called Reclaim Fund Limited (RFL).

Customers are able to reclaim their money at any point and RFL retains a reserve to meet reclaims from customers. RFL distributes surplus funds to Big Lottery Fund, which in turn makes these available for good causes in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each devolved administration makes decisions on how these funds are used.

How the dormant accounts scheme works

Banks and building societies can only transfer funds to good causes from accounts which have remained untouched for 15 or more years and when the customer is no longer contactable. Banks and building societies make significant efforts to reunite people with their money and customers can reclaim at any point. Money which will never be reclaimed is distributed, via the Big Lottery Fund to good causes.

What is classed as a dormant account?

Dormant accounts are UK bank and building society accounts that have been untouched for 15 or more years, and where banks and building societies are unable to trace the customer who owns the account.

How customers can reclaim their funds

Customers can reclaim their money at any point. If a customer believes that they have a dormant account, they should contact the bank or financial services firm that they held the account with to be reunited with their money.

To find out if you have a dormant bank account trace your account here

The impact dormant funds have on communities and individuals across the country

So far, over £500m of funding from dormant accounts has been made available to good causes benefitting people and communities across the UK.

In England alone:

  • Over 2,000 vulnerable people now live in appropriate housing
  • 26,000 disadvantaged young people have benefitted from Job and training opportunities
  • 250,000 people are living in places with access to community energy

Ministers recently outlined how future dormant assets would be used in England to address some of the challenges faced by disadvantaged young people entering the job market, to provide housing for disadvantaged people and to support financial inclusion initiatives.

Government unlocking £330 million from dormant accounts to build a fairer society

Statement of intent for the dormant accounts youth programme

Statement of intent for the dormant accounts financial inclusion programme

Dormant Assets Commission: final report to government

Government Response to the Commission on Dormant Assets’ Report

Industry Champions announced to expand the dormant assets scheme across their respective sectors

Expanding the dormant assets scheme

The dormant assets scheme’s success has resulted from the financial services industry’s participation. The Independent Dormant Assets Commission looked at the Scheme and made recommendations to Government on how it could expand to benefit more good causes. In the February 2018 response, the Government welcomed the recommendations from the Commission, and has asked four senior industry champions to work with their respective sectors and set out a plan to expand the scheme.

Published 23 July 2018