Many years ago I opened a few bank accounts in my home country. Only a few dollars inside. When I moved oversea, I forgot to close them. I think they would have gone 'dormant' or 'closed' automatically since there has been no transactions.

Now thinking back, I'm not sure what issues can arise. Or should I go back and initiate the closure? It would be quite troublesome, since I also don't have good memory of the list of banks that I opened with.

  • 1
    What is your home country?
    – Ben Miller
    Jun 30, 2016 at 17:11
  • It's a developing country. Banking there is not as advanced as other developed countries. As what I know, in the UK and other developed countries, there are websites for you to claim lost accounts, but unfortunately for me I wouldn't be able to locate all accounts which I opened.
    – kamiyah18
    Jun 30, 2016 at 20:30
  • If you already know that you won't be able to locate the accounts, and you already know that there are no government processes in place to claim your lost accounts, then what is your question?
    – Ben Miller
    Jun 30, 2016 at 20:39
  • Pls read back what I wrote. My main intention is not to claim lost accounts not recover any amount since it's negligible. But what I'm worried is about what could happen if I leave them unclosed.
    – kamiyah18
    Jun 30, 2016 at 23:36

1 Answer 1


Since you haven't specified the country, generally it's a good idea to formally close the account.

If you have not done this for quite a few years; Assuming that no one operated it, most countries have regulations, the account would move into dormant status [generally a year or two years of inactivity]. Post this there is a period [generally 7 to 10 years] by when the funds into the account would be moved into Government Account as unclaimed funds.

If this is what has happened to your accounts, then there is nothing to worry.

The Risk part;
Given the account is inactive, before it went dormant, if someone fraudulently started using this account, then you are equally at risk. Given online frauds and illegal money laundering activities, your account may/could have been used by someone to deposit illegal money and transfer it somewhere else. There are instances where even Dormant accounts have been fraudulently activated in collusion with Bank staff and illegal activities carried out. In such cases although you may not loose much cash [as you don't have much in the account], there could be serious questioning by authorities about your intent. i.e. you have to establish that it was honest mistake and you were not part of the illegal activity and you were as such not aware of it.

  • Thank you for the detailed explanation. That's very helpful. I know in principle the accounts should be closed. But I'm not sure whether it's practical to do so at the moment. Because so far nothing happens, I would rather leave them closed by the banks. Otherwise if I go back my home country and trigger the closure, unforeseen issue may arise and I might be hold back there. I seek your advice on what you would do if you were in my shoes.
    – kamiyah18
    Jul 2, 2016 at 7:31

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