If you have an account with a credit institution and you make no transactions on it for 15 years, it becomes a dormant account. Credit institutions include banks, building societies and An Post.
Credit institutions must contact you if you have not made a transaction on your account in 15 years or more. If the institution cannot contact you, the money in the account will be transferred to the Dormant Accounts Fund.
Unclaimed life assurance policies can also be transferred to the Fund.
If your money is transferred to the fund, your rights are not affected and you can always reclaim the money (including interest). If an account holder has died, the rights of their heirs are not affected.
Amounts in dormant accounts are paid into the Dormant Accounts Fund.
If someone dies without making a will and their relatives cannot be found, the State is the ultimate beneficiary of their estate. The proceeds of sale of property and any other assets are placed in an Intestate Estates Fund Deposit Account, which may also be paid into the Dormant Accounts Fund.
What kind of accounts are included?
The dormant account rules apply to:
- Deposit, share or current accounts in a bank or building society
- An account, saving certificate, savings bond or instalment saving scheme with An Post
The dormant account rules do not apply to accounts held in credit unions.
When is an account dormant?
Your account becomes dormant on 30 September when you have made no transactions in the previous 15 years.
The financial institution must notify you in writing, unless:
- It has taken all reasonable steps to write to you but has not been able to or
- You have asked the institution not to contact you or
- You have an account with less than €100
You have until 31 March of the following year to reactivate your account by contacting the institution and carrying out a transaction on the account.
After that date, the funds are transferred to the Dormant Accounts Fund. Even if the funds or property have been transferred to the Dormant Accounts Fund, you or your next of kin still have a claim on your funds.
What is the Fund used for?
Funds that are not likely to be reclaimed are used to help people who:
- Are economically or socially disadvantaged
- Are educationally disadvantaged
- Have a disability
You can read how the money is spent each year in The Dormant Accounts Fund Annual Action Plans and Annual Reports.
How can I reclaim money in a dormantaccount?
If you think you may have a dormant account, or if you have been notified that you do, you should complete the Dormant Account Claim Form and send it directly to the credit institution. The Dormant Account Claim Form is in the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland booklet, A Guide to Dormant Accounts (pdf). Send the completed Dormant Account Claim Form directly to the credit institution
If the credit institution no longer exists, or has changed name, the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland provides contact details for former banks and building societies.
The law on dormant accounts is the Dormant Accounts Acts 2001–2012.
For general information on dormant accounts schemes, you can contact the Department of Rural and Community Development or Pobal.
For enquiries about dormant bank accounts or for queries about tracing funds, contact the relevant branch or head office of the credit institution. If the credit institution no longer exists, contact the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland.