Use Your Bank Accounts, Or The Money Will Go To The Government

Got a bank account you don't touch all that much? It might be time to go and shuffle its contents around slightly, as any account that's been inactive for more than three years runs the risk of being claimed by the government.

Photo: krug6

The ABC reports on the move, which follows legislative change last year. Under the new rules, any bank account that lies idle for more than three years can have its funds transferred to the government from the end of May.

If you discover that your account has been cleared, it's possible to reclaim the money through the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Previously, the same rule applied to accounts that lay idle for seven years. Given you've only got to shift a very small amount of currency for the account to count as active, now might be the time to go and treat yourself to a store brand can of cola.

Banks warn Government set to take inactive accounts [ABC]


Comments

    Would this count for a savings account which has had no deposits for three years, but has earned interest?

    This actually might make sense if applied to accounts with low balances that are paying regular bank fees and not being used. Is the individual notified of the transfer?

    Doesn't the Government take enough of our money already?

      I'm just here to notify you that that 20 cents you left on the table at home has been idle for too long. I'm afraid the government will have to take it from you. Sorry about the inconvenience.

    Gee, way to encourage savings for retirement! Thanks government. I have an account with some "emergency" money sitting in it. ING had already suspended my account under their own rules, because it had sat idle for 2 years, but that's not quite the same as losing all your money!

    Oh well, I just deposited $25 into it. Must put a reminder on my calendar to do that again in 2 years. I guess I should be pleased that my emergency bank account has gone that long without me needing to access it.

      You can still ask the government for it back, but I'm pretty sure they don't pay the same interest rates.

      With inflation and getting richer and so forth shouldn't you be adding to that account on a regular basis?

      Leaving money entirely idle is pretty dumb financially, why not start up a savings account and start building some wealth, then you will have much more "emergency" money and never have to worry about it.

        Because it's emergency money, having a couple of hundred dollars stashed away can get rid of a world of troubles when shit hits the fan, well worth missing out on a couple of dollars interest a year.

        That's not the point. If I want to put some money in a bank account for 15 years and not touch it I should be able to.

      "Must put a reminder on my calendar to do that again in 2 years"

      Or just setup an automatic transfer? You could even make it something ridiculously small like $1 per year or something :P

    I saw on one of the local video rag mags, Channel 9 news I think, that seniors/pensioners need to be particularly aware, as this program with take their life savings in accounts that are unused for 3 years (long term deposits etc) , and that they (the oldies) need to take pre-cautions as it will take "substantial" time to return their funds (IE NEVER)

    fcuking waste of skin this government is..

      A term deposit is not an "idle account" it is invested in something

      If they have left it idle for 3 years then it can't be particularly urgent for them to get to those funds. i.e. they are living off another income source. Seriously you only need to draw or deposit a single cent once every 3 years.
      If it's an interest bearing account you should at least be aware of it every year at tax time so there is no real excuse for "forgetting", if its not interest bearing and not active then why the hell do you even have it?

    Take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take take give.

      Yup...

      Very EASY to see if someone is living in a urn or under some grass. This law is to take the money of living people who forget about their accounts.

    3 years.. that's a bit short.. what about a 5 year term deposit? Seems a bit weird.. and the whole "if you're not using regularly" argument is ridiculous.. it's your money and unless you died or became a non-Citizen, you should be able to do what you want with it (within reason).

    Seems like they are advocating taking the money out of banks and putting it under the mattress,

    I can't imagine the fucking waste of space twat who thought this was a good move.

    I haven't deposited anything into my bank for almost 3 years because it's there for emergencies.

    And yes, I know you can get the money back - but people shouldn't have to jump through hoops because of some arbitrary hare-brained scheme dreamt up by some fool with too much time on their hands.

    You know i have seen this story on about 5 sites today , but not one of them has in any way tried to explain WHY they are doing this, and i am genuinely curious about the reason.

      I would say it is an easy way for the government to increase its working capital by $100 million or so. It gives them more access to cash and reduces the need to borrow money on a short term basis.

      Also, the money hasn't been used in 3 years so chances are the owner doesnt even know it is there, might as well put it to use...

      According to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, Bernie Ripoll:

      Sure. Let me just put some context around this ‘cause otherwise it just doesn't make sense, ‘cause people will think this is somehow new or different or that we invented this. The reality is that this particular legislation and policy has been around for many decades. What we've done is, what happens is if there's an unclaimed amount of money, inactive in an account for a period of time, which was seven years, then the institution, the bank, was obliged to then pass that money through back to either the Australian Tax Office or ASIC to be held in trust for whoever claims that money in the future. The big difference we've made is we've made that time shorter, so it's now three years and what we've done is we've stopped the fees and charges being taken out of your bank account, your money and we give you interest so that when you do claim it back you still have some money. The problem currently is that people actually lose their money so it's in the interests of certain institutions to hang on to it for as long as they can. There legitimately are a number of accounts that go inactive and what we've found is that after three years, generally they all, if they're inactive for three years or more, they're generally inactive for extended periods, well beyond seven years.

      So basically, it's to stop your funds being (a) reduced to nothing by bank fees, and (b) ensuring you earn interest on money even if it is in a non-interest-bearing account. I imagine there's an unstated (c), which is to take the proceeds from unclaimed money away from a group of shareholders earning money from the banks' obscene profits, and instead provide the proceeds to everyone in the community (a kind of robin hooding, I guess, since if you have enough money to hide it untouched for years in a bank account over some form of investment fund, you're probably not poor, and would be on the radar for tax evasion).

    I've heard short reports of this on the ABC, but I've not seen or heard the outcry that I should have expected. Regardless of whether the bank account is used or not, the money does not belong to the government. It is theft, pure and simple; but being government it can do what it wants and we will acquiesce. Politicians are not incompetent fools: they are extremely competent thieves and scoundrels. Unfortunately the relative silence of the media helps them in this regard.

    are they taking accounts that are in debt as well as accounts that are in credit? They only want the good stuff!

    It might be worth noting that the law already says 7 years, they are just shorting it to 3 years.

    I think banks should be required to notify the owner of the money a month before transferring it.
    Give the owner notice and opportunity to do something with the account (deposit/withdraw etc).
    Surely it is in the financial institution's interest to do so anyway?

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now