If you have money accumulated over your working life lying around in different banks and haven’t claimed them or withdrawn any sum from those account, do you know what will happen to all that money, and how much interest can you earn from those unclaimed deposits.
According to a recent Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guideline, these unclaimed deposits will be transferred along with interest to the Depositor and Education Awareness (DEA) Fund.
Technically, deposits with banks which have not been claimed for 10 years or more are considered as unclaimed deposits. According to a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) circular dated March 21, 2014, banks are required to transfer such deposits lying with them along with the interest to the DEA Fund. This is to be done on the last working day of every subsequent month from the expiry of the unclaimed period of 10 years.
But you can also reclaim your unclaimed deposits.
Beginning FY2023-24, RBI announced creating a centralised Web portal for claiming unclaimed deposits to make it easy for depositors to claim their funds from a single portal.
On May 12, 2023, it launched the ‘100 Days 100 Pays’ campaign to fast-track returning these unclaimed deposits to the rightful claimants. Under the campaign, it asked the banks to settle 100 unclaimed deposits in every district of the country in 100 days. The banks will start this campaign on June 1, 2023.
But how much does a depositor whose funds have been lying unclaimed would get from such deposits?
In terms of Section 26A (2) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, a banking company is liable to pay the depositor or the claimant the amount lying as unclaimed and pay interest as specified by the RBI.
Further, under Section 26A (3) of the Act, when the bank pays an unclaimed deposit with interest to the depositor, it can claim the amount and interest from the DEA Fund with RBI.
In 2014, RBI decided the rate of interest to be paid on such deposits at 4.0 per cent simple interest per annum. The bank has reviewed the rate later and until now, it has changed more than once.
Now effective May 11, 2021, the interest to be paid to the depositors or the claimants on the unclaimed deposits is 3 per cent simple interest per annum. The depositor will get the unclaimed amount and interest from the bank where they have the account, and further, the respective bank can claim it from the DEA Fund of RBI.
Also, according to the RBI circular dated May 11, 2021, “All banks are advised to calculate the interest payable on interest bearing deposits transferred to RBI at the rate of 4 per cent p.a. up to June 30, 2018, 3.5 per cent w.e.f. July 1, 2018 up to May 10, 2021 and at 3 per cent with effect from May 11, 2021 till the time of payment to the depositor and/or claimant.”
For instance, if a bank transfers an unclaimed amount of Rs. 10,000 to DEA Fund on June 30, 2023, and later pays the amount to the claimant on July 30, 2023, the interest would be approximately Rs. 25 at the simple interest rate of 3.0 per cent per annum.
So, the total amount of the claim would be Rs. 10,025 for the depositor from the bank and for the bank from the DEA Fund.