Balances in savings and current accounts not operated for 10 years, or term deposits not claimed within 10 years from the date of maturity are classified as unclaimed deposits. In fact, about Rs 35,000 crore of unclaimed amount from 102.4 million accounts (as on February 2023) were transferred by public sector banks to the central bank’s Depositor Education and Awareness Fund.
The central bank has also announced the setting up of a centralised web portal, that will incorporate state-of-the-art AI tools, for the public to search unclaimed deposits across multiple banks and help the banks return such deposits to the rightful owners or claimants. Experts say, by proactively notifying customers to either close or reactivate their dormant accounts, a substantial reduction in the volume of unclaimed deposits can be achieved.
Unclaimed deposits pile up
Unclaimed deposits have been piling up due to reasons such as demise of a depositor or account holder without leaving a nomination, people migrating to other cities or countries, not keeping Know Your Customer (KYC) information updated, losing deposit certificates, etc. Regular updating of KYC details with the bank is crucial to receive communications and alerts from the bank on the mobile and over e-mails.
Sanchit Garg, CEO and co-founder, GLC Wealth, says an individual must close down any unwanted or extra accounts and maintain only one or two accounts for regular banking. “This simplifies the management of accounts and reduces the risk of losing track of one’s money. They must appoint a nominee for their bank accounts or deposits.”
How to claim
Account holders must check the websites of the banks that are mandated to furnish details of unclaimed deposits. They can claim such money bank by filling the claim form and providing KYC proof such as Aadhaar, PAN card, etc. In the case of a deceased account holder, the legal heirs have to complete the formalities of transmission, including providing legal heir certificate or succession certificate or will. Banks may ask for no-objection certificates of other legal heirs and indemnity bonds.
Shashank Sharma, director, ScoreMe Solutions, a fintech specialising in automating credit underwriting, says to successfully claim such deposits, individuals must ascertain the precise institution holding the funds and promptly establish communication. “The initiative undertaken by the RBI in establishing the proposed centralised web portal for public access, enabling the search for unclaimed deposits across multiple banks, will enhance the ease and accessibility for individuals seeking to reclaim long-forgotten funds.”
Benefits from technology
Technology can help in tracking unclaimed money. Advanced algorithms can tally depositor details with the centralised databases and facilitate quick and accurate identification of unclaimed funds. To effectively utilise technology in tracking unclaimed deposits, individuals should ensure updation of all their contact information with the banks.
Make a claim
- RBI’s ‘100 Days 100 Pays’ campaign focuses on tracing and settling the top 100 unclaimed deposits of every bank in every district of the country within 100 days
- Rs 35,000 cr of unclaimed amount as on February 2023 was transferred by public sector banks to the RBI’s Depositor Education and Awareness Fund