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Ten core pledges

The ten core pledges made by banks and building societies in respect of dormant accounts and lost savings are set out in full below.

1. If you have a savings or current account and you have not made any withdrawals or deposits for a set period (typically three years in the case of a savings account and one year for a current account) and the bank or building society has not heard from you during that time, it will write at least once to the most recent address it holds for you to ask if you want to keep the account open (unless mail has previously been returned from that address).  It may also make other attempts to trace you.

2. If your reply is that you want to keep your account open, the bank or building society will continue to treat your account as ‘live’, sending you statements and other correspondence in the normal way.

3. If the bank or building society receives no reply from you after a set period, usually between six weeks and three months, your account may be considered ‘lost’ and the bank or building society will treat your account differently from a ‘live’ account. This is to protect you:

4. If your account is considered ‘lost’, the bank or building society will retain a record of the account.

5. The funds in the account remain your property. If you make a valid claim the funds in it will be paid to you in full, with interest (if it is an interest-bearing account).

6. On receiving your application to search for a lost account, each bank or building society  that you identify will conduct a search of its records to see whether any matches the details you have provided.

7.  When you send an application form to reclaim funds from a lost account you will be:

8. If a bank or building society agrees that you have a valid claim on an account that it holds the bank or society will tell you:

9.  The Government's dormant accounts scheme may apply to your account if you have not paid any money in to or out of the account for more than 15 years.  Under this scheme money in genuinely lost accounts will be made available for use by Big Society Capital and other community causes.  This will not affect your right to access the money in the account.

10. If you are dissatisfied with the way a bank or building society has dealt with a claim you will have the right to appeal through its internal appeals process. If your appeal is unsuccessful, you have the right to refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service, South Quay Plaza, 183 Marsh Wall, London, E14 9SR, Telephone: 0800 023 4567

Points to bear in mind:

It may be that there are legal steps you need to take before you are entitled to exercise your claim on another person's lost account.  In that case the bank or building society will tell you this; you may also need the services of a solicitor to help you.