Everything About Inactive/ Dormant Bank Accounts in UAE

30May, 22

Everything About Inactive/ Dormant Bank Accounts in UAE

A Bank Account becomes inactive after inactivity, including zero deposits, withdrawals, and all banking transactions. The UAE Central Bank is in charge of this type of bank account. The Central Bank has issued new guidelines for managing dormant bank accounts and their contents. We'll review everything that occurs to a bank account when it goes dormant in this piece. You can also use our simple method to revive and claim the contents of your inactive bank account. Thus, in today's blog, Dhanguard will extensively discuss the Inactive Accounts, commonly known as the Dormant Accounts. So, without any further ado, let's learn! 

Understanding Dormant Accounts in UAE

An inactive or dormant bank account has not had any transactions or financial activity for a predetermined time. In the UAE, banks often label an account dormant if it is idle for 12 months or longer. Many things, including people or businesses relocating abroad, disregarding their accounts, or simply forgetting about them, might cause this inactivity.

A Bank Account becomes Dormant when-

  1. For at least six years, savings or current accounts have been inactive. Bank acts are not included like transactions.

  2. For five years and 12 months, respectively, renewable and non-renewable deposit accounts are dormant.

  3. After the maturity date, investment accounts are fixed for 12 months.

How Are Bank Accounts Classified as Dormant?

Before declaring a bank account dormant, UAE banks must take the following actions:

Speak with the Account Holder: 

Within two months of the account lapse, the respective banks contact the account holder. If there is no response, the banks label the account dormant and inform the UAE Central Bank in writing of the situation.

If the account person has other bank accounts with the same institution, the dormancy status is kept in place as long as their current address is in different versions.

Contents Transfer: 

When an account is designated as dormant, the UAE Central Bank is informed so that the transfer of contents can begin. 

Signature Cards: 

The bank creates a signature card for the recently designated dormant account. This signature card is maintained apart from all other signature cards to prevent unauthorized access to the funds in the inactive bank account.  

Keeping the Documents Safe: 

The bank also ensures the security and privacy of accounts-related documents. This limits the potential for fraud, which prevents account misuse. 

Dormant Account Regulations in UAE

To maintain financial transparency and protect account holders, the UAE Central Bank has established regulations governing dormant accounts:

  1. Notification: The bank must notify the holder through their registered contact details when an account becomes inactive. This notification includes information about the impending account dormancy and the steps required to reactivate it.

  2. Reactivation Period: UAE banks typically allow a grace period for reactivating dormant accounts. During this period, account holders can restore the report to an active state by conducting transactions or visiting the bank in person.

  3. Escheatment: If the account remains dormant after the grace period, the bank may transfer the funds to the UAE government's Unclaimed Funds account, commonly known as escheatment. This is done to prevent fraud and misuse of dormant accounts.

How to Activate a Dormant Bank Account in the UAE?

To regain access to your bank account, complete the procedures specified in the retrieval process:

  1. Submit the bank with all appropriate documents, and once they've been verified, the bank will transfer the complete ledger value to the reactivated account.

  2. UAE banks do not charge reactivation fees. When you reactivate your bank account, the bank checks to determine if your records are current.

  3. If the account holder does not contact the bank for seven years or more, the bank transfers the account value to the UAE Central Bank's Unclaimed Balances Account - Dormant Accounts division. Until the account holder or beneficiary lodges a claim, the UAE Central Bank has rights to the bank account and its contents.

Can Non-Residents Keep Their UAE Bank Accounts in Operation?

Non-residents can keep their UAE bank accounts open, yes. The expatriate community in the UAE is thriving, and many non-citizens still use their UAE bank accounts for various things like savings and investments. To protect your account from being dormant, you must keep it active by making purchases or checking it frequently.

What Are the Elements of a Dormant Bank Account?

Let's investigate how an inactive bank account is made up of its various parts:

Interest: 

The bank will continue to collect interest in the same manner as it does for active bank accounts on the balance that is kept in an inactive account.

Money:

The bank account owners have the right to ask for and get their money back from a dormant account. In case of a delay in settlement, the bank must give a good cause and settle the claims above within a month.

Safe Deposit Boxes: 

Even if the bank account hasn't had activity for a while, the banks in the UAE hold the safe deposit box fees unpaid for longer than two years. 

Here’s how the contents in the secure deposit account are dealt with:

  • Transfer to UAE Central Bank: The contents of the safe deposit box are only possible with authorization if the bank can contact the account holder for three months.

  • Request for Appointment: The bank must ask the court for a time slot to access the safe deposit box in front of a representative from the judicial system. The bank must provide the UAE Central Bank with a complete list of items in the safe deposit box. If the court has mandated that any of the contents be sold, the sale proceeds must be paid to the Central Bank's Unclaimed Balances Account. The bank may deduct the associated fees before sending the money to the Central Bank.

  • Create Reports: The bank is required to produce a report detailing all transfers and other account activity and noting it in the ledger for dormant accounts. They must provide a copy of the same to the Central Bank's Banking Supervision and Banking Operations Department.

Conclusion

In the UAE, restrictions that protect account holders' interests apply to dormant bank accounts. If the account holder is unresponsive for two months after the expiration date, the account will be changed to an inactive account. Preventing your bank account from becoming dormant is the most effective solution to this problem. Even if you don't use it regularly, you must complete the required number of transactions. Thus, we hope this blog provides you with insightful information. For more information on other related aspects, please check out our website or contact us.