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How to claim your old forgotten money

There are crores of rupees lying in numerous bank accounts which have remained inactive, inoperative and unclaimed for many years. Some of it could be yours too. 

There are many who did not close their salary accounts with their old employers when they switched jobs, especially if they also moved to a different city. Over a period of time, these accounts have turned dormant.

When there are no 'customer-induced' transactions, such as cash/cheque deposit or withdrawal, for a specified period, banks will classify your account as inactive, dormant or unclaimed deposit. Kindly note that crediting of interest or the bank debiting any charges does NOT classify as a transaction for the said purposes. 

When there are no transactions in any bank accounts for a year, banks normally classify them as 'inactive'. If there are no transactions for two years, they become inoperative or dormant accounts. And when they continue to remained dormant for 10 years, they are re-classified as Unclaimed Deposits.

Once an account becomes inactive or dormant or unclaimed, banks will restrict its operations, including cheque issue, ATM withdrawal, etc. You would, however, continue to earn interest on such money. While, this has caused inconvenience to many customers, it must be noted that this, after all, is done to ensure the safety of your money. Hence, it is advisable that you operate your account at least once a year or else close it.

Meanwhile, RBI has advised banks to become proactive in locating the account holders, their nominees, legal heirs or even the persons who introduced them, so that their money can be handed back to them. 

Operations in such accounts are to be allowed only after due diligence that may involve verification of signature/identity as also ensuring genuineness of the transaction.

While banks can charge fees for dormant accounts as per their schedule of charges, RBI does not allow them to levy any fees for converting a dormant account into an active one.

RBI has also advised banks to put up the list of Unclaimed Deposit on their website. So now, sitting at home, you can check whether any of your money is lying in any such Unclaimed Account.

If so, you can initiate the process to recover it. This would involve visiting the nearest branch and completing all the necessary documentation w.r.t. KYC and furnishing the necessary identity/address proofs. Legal heirs and nominees too can claim the amount by complying with the necessary legal requirements.

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