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