Jimmy Stroud has been tending to this same yard for 37 years. He’s been at the same bank even longer. Along with his checking account, Jimmy opened a money market savings account several years ago.
“Probably five, six, seven years. I don’t know it’s been a long time,” said Jimmy. “I can’t even remember.”
Jimmy forgot he had the account until he went to deposit more money into it this year. He says without warning, the account went dormant, costing him $10 a month for more than a year.
“So for that year they charged $120 for that $5,000,” said Jimmy.
Banking experts say generally banks will send you a notice to give you a chance to make your account active again. Otherwise, it goes dormant, which often includes a monthly fee.
After five years of no activity, by law, banks have to turn over your money to the state.
“Banks will usually try to find the person and get them their money back. But after five years and they can’t find them, then the property comes to the state where we hold it in the unclaimed property program for as long as the unclaimed property exists,” said Alex Stroman with the South Carolina Office of State Treasurer.
Stroman says money from dormant bank accounts makes up a large part of the Unclaimed Property Program which now stands at $418 million.
Jimmy isn’t taking any chances and already has plans to keep his money active.
“I cashed it out right at that time,” said Jimmy. “We may take a cruise with it.”
Banking experts say a name change, address change or death are common causes of dormant accounts.
To avoid it, review your bank accounts on a regular basis. And check your bank’s policy on dormant accounts. If needed, create account activity with automatic transfers or scheduled payments.
And keep your contact information up to date with your bank.
The easiest way to check if you’re owed any money from the state is online. You can search for your name, your family member’s or a business name.