Do you have an unclaimed bank account?

Author : teriann

I can’t imagine anyone forgetting they have money in a bank. Every account I have, is monitored very carefully. That’s why it was shocking to learn that there are a number of persons who leave their money untouched in the bank for years.

If I had some money out there then certainly I would be at that bank as soon as it’s doors open ready to claim my money!

Accounts which haven’t been touched for 15 years or more, despite attempts by the savings provider to get in touch with the owner of the account, are known as ‘dormant’ accounts.

Why do people refuse to claim the money from these dormant accounts?

Reasons Accounts are left unclaimed

There are many reasons that money gets left in the bank unclaimed for years. Sometimes people migrate and the last thing on their minds is that small amount of money they stashed away then forgot in the excitement of leaving the island.

There are others who leave one parish behind and settle in another and simply write off the small amount. There are still others who might be deceased and their relatives don’t know or have access to all their bank accounts.

Some people simply choose to leave the account because the amount in the account might be so minimal that it might cost more than the amount to pay for the transportation to get to the bank to collect it.

Another reason why accounts go dormant is because some persons simply forget they have them.  They may have been opened for them when they were a child and the persons who opened the account did not tell the child about the account.

Sometimes the original paperwork is misplaced, perhaps because it was kept by the person who originally opened the account, or because it has simply been mislaid over time.

What happens to the money?

The bank has a responsibility to ensure that it makes a reasonable attempt to locate the bank account holders. One way they do this is by trying to contact them by using the media to print the account holder’s name, last known address and the amount of money they have in these accounts.

Personally I wouldn’t want my information in the media but I guess it’s the best way to get their attention when other methods have failed.

So what do they do with the money?

In Jamaica, deposits in commercial banks which are classified as dormant are transferred to the Government as unclaimed balances after 15 years.

So it’s important to collect your unclaimed bank balances and keep that money in your pocket!

Do you have any unclaimed bank accounts? Drop me a line below to share your thoughts on the issue.

Teri Ann Renee Paisley

Gleaner online writer

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9 Responses to “Do you have an unclaimed bank account?”

  1. Fredrick Kepple says:

    How do members of the public establish whether they have an unclaimed balance in an account?

  2. I myself left an open account in the Barcly’s bank in Linstead. I made a phone call to the bank in Linstead Jamaica to find out if my money can be retrieve, the man who answered at the other end of the line; simply laughed in my ear before he hung up the phone.

  3. Scott James says:

    Hi Teri Ann Paisley,

    I have unclaimed bank accounts at Scotiabank because when I went to close them, the amount in fees I would have to pay was more than what was in the account. I’d prefer the government to get it than to pay those fees to the bank, especially since I didn’t know about the fees until I tried to close the account

  4. teriann says:

    Hello Fredrick,
    Thanks for reading and commenting on my post. The best way to find out if you have an unclaimed bank account is to go in the bank and ask them to run a check using your name. Banks often publish a list of names of persons with unclaimed bank balances in the media. Hope that helps!

    Teri Ann

  5. teriann says:

    Hi Delroy,
    Thanks for reading my post and taking the time to comment and share your experience. I am sorry you that you had such a negative experience. Perhaps you could write to the bank or have someone contact the bank on your behalf. I hope it all works out.

    Teri Ann

  6. Novlet Ritchie says:

    I’ve accounts with both NCB n Victoria Mutual Building Society in Montego Bay. I’m not sure if the amounts but I know it’s minimal. How do I query if the account is dormant. I’ve only been away from Jamaica for over 12 years.

  7. teriann says:

    Hi Novlet,
    Thanks for posting your thoughts on my post. I think the best thing to do would be to call the banks whose numbers are on their websites and ask a banking representative to check, they might have to ask you security questions to confirm that it is your account. I hope you are successful! Keep reading and posting your thoughts!

    Teri Ann

  8. Merle Johnally says:

    Dear Teri,
    I was today made aware that on November 30, 1980, the sum of $11,309.92 representing proceeds of contributions to a superannuation fund was deposited to an account I owned before leaving Jamaica on September 9,1980. It is only after my queries in 2018 from the company I worked for as to where my pensionable earnings might have gone that I discovered, today, of this deposit. How do I claim it after all these years when I am in much need.

  9. teriann says:

    Hi Merle,
    I am sure that those funds are needed however due to the length of time it has unclaimed, I am not sure that it would be accessible. My advice would be to contact the organization which your account was located. In your communication state the name on the account as well as the account number if that is known. They should have a record and would be able to guide you accordingly. If you are unable to visit in person you will have to rely on communicating by phone or email. I hope that you are successful.

    Teri Ann

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