Avoiding the Dormant Account Dilemma

Stop Sleeping on Your Savings

4 Minutes

In the world of personal finance, there's a term that you may or may not be familiar with: dormant accounts. While the concept may seem obscure, especially for the folks who have been told that the best way to save money is to “put it aside and don’t touch it”, dormant accounts can have significant implications for your financial well-being if left unattended.

While the folks in our lives that delivered the advice mentioned above probably had the best of intentions, when it comes to bank accounts, not touching them can result in a dormant account dilemma.

In this blog, we'll shine a light on what dormant accounts are, why they occur, and most importantly, how you can prevent them from putting a damper on your financial situation.

Understanding Dormant Accounts

So, what exactly is a dormant account? Simply put, a dormant account is one that has had no activity or transactions for an extended period, typically ranging from six months to several years, depending on the financial institution's policy and local regulations. While dormant accounts often occur in savings accounts, they can also happen in other bank accounts as well.

Why Do Dormant Accounts Happen?

Dormant accounts can arise for various reasons:

1. Change in Financial Habits: Life is unpredictable, and sometimes our financial priorities shift. A once-active account may become dormant if we no longer use it regularly.
2. Forgetfulness: With multiple financial accounts and obligations to juggle, it's easy to lose track of certain accounts, especially those with minimal activity.
3. Life Events: Major life events such as relocation, illness, or death can disrupt our financial routines, leading to accounts lying dormant.
The Risks of Dormant Accounts

While dormant accounts may seem harmless at first glance, they can pose several risks:

  • Fees: Some financial institutions may charge dormant account fees, eating away at your balance over time.
  • Inactivity: Dormant accounts may be susceptible to fraud or unauthorized access if left unmonitored.
  • Lost Assets: In extreme cases, dormant accounts may be deemed unclaimed property and transferred to the government, resulting in loss of funds.
Preventing Dormant Accounts

Now, let's delve into strategies to prevent dormant accounts and safeguard your finances:

1. Regular Account Monitoring: Stay vigilant by regularly reviewing your financial statements and account activity. Set up alerts for low balances or inactivity to prompt action.
2. Consolidation: Simplify your financial life by consolidating accounts where possible. Closing redundant or unused accounts reduces the likelihood of them becoming dormant.
3. Automated Transactions: Set up automatic transfers or bill payments to keep your accounts active, even if it's just a small amount. This ensures ongoing activity and prevents dormancy. Not to mention, automatic transfers, are a wonderful way to continuously save money. 


4. Update Contact Information: Keep your contact information up to date with financial institutions to ensure you receive important notifications and alerts regarding your accounts.
5. Utilize Technology: Leverage digital tools and apps to track your finances and receive reminders about dormant accounts or upcoming transactions. To learn more about digital banking, click here.
6. Review and Revise: Periodically review your financial accounts and assess their relevance to your current needs and goals. Close or consolidate accounts that no longer serve a purpose.

Dormant accounts may seem innocuous, but they can have far-reaching consequences if left unchecked. By understanding the causes of dormant accounts and implementing proactive measures to prevent them, you can safeguard your financial stability and avoid potential pitfalls down the road.

Remember, staying informed and proactive is the key to maintaining control over your financial future.

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