Average of £141 sat in unused “zombie” current accounts

Up to £1.2 billion could be sitting untouched in unused current accounts throughout the UK.

Over a third of Brits (37 per cent) have multiple accounts, but half of these people only use one of them on a day-to-day basis, according to a survey of 2,099 people in December published by Compare…

Up to £1.2 billion could be sitting untouched in unused current accounts throughout the UK.

Over a third of Brits (37 per cent) have multiple accounts, but half of these people only use one of them on a day-to-day basis, according to a survey of 2,099 people in December published by CompareTheMarket.com.

With 49 million people using current accounts in the UK, this means that around eight million accounts go unused. The average amount in these ‘zombie’ accounts is £141, which equates to £1.2 billion nationwide.

The research uncovered a lack of awareness surrounding interest rates. Over half of the survey sample (56 per cent) weren’t sure if their bank had cut interest rates in the past year, while 58 per cent didn’t know the interest rates on their current account.

When asked why they had more than one current account, nearly a third (31 per cent) of the survey sample opened another current account to take advantage of different rewards on offer, but a fifth of them admitted they had opened the neglected account some time ago and simply had not been bothered to close it.

Cyber security risks

The rise of online banking means that more than four in five now check their statements online.

However, 12 per cent of people surveyed with more than one current account said they check their unused account as little as twice a year, and with one in ten people falling victim to a cyber attack on their credit or debit card, that laxness could have serious implications.

Jody Coughlan, head of money at CompareTheMarket.com, said the number of ‘zombie’ accounts was concerning.

“Whilst it is a good idea to have a rainy day fund, the fact that so many people don’t regularly check their additional accounts is a risky move to take,” he commented.

He urged Brits to regularly check their personal finances for unusual activity and stressed how unused accounts are easy targets for hackers who might be able to steal away hundreds of pounds undetected.

Recurring direct debits from forgotten accounts can also cause customers to unknowingly go into their overdraft and incur hefty fines, Mr Coughlan concluded.

By Joe White

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