I often times hear bank customers complaining of inability to access their bank accounts on alternative banking channels (Mobile/Online Banking, USSD or ATMs, PoS and others). Bank customers that have these king of challenges may be able to see their bank account balances but may not be able to access their accounts for transactions until the accounts are unfrozen or unblocked.
Bank accounts may be frozen/blocked for debit or for both debit and credit transactions. If an account is frozen for debit, the account holder will be able to make cash and cheque lodgment as well as money transfers into the account but will not be able to make payments from the account or withdraw cash on all banking channels including bank branches. And when an account is frozen or blocked for both debit or credit both withdrawal and lodgment/ cash and cheques will not be possible on all such accounts so blocked.
When an account is frozen or blocked either for debits or for both debit or credit transactions, you will not be able to access the fund in your account, you may however be able to view the balance and statement on alternative banking channels as well as in the banks.
Here are some of the reasons why a bank account may be blocked or frozen.
- Court Order – Banks are obliged to act as instructed when they are advised in written or are served a court order. Such instruction may or may not allow the bank to inform the customer involved. It is important to note that no law enforcement agent or organisation is allowed to request for freezing of a bank account directly, without a valid court order. The Police, Economic and other corruption fighting agencies of government are expected to secure a court order and forward same to the banks before a bank customer account is blocked.
- Customer’s Instruction – A bank customer may instruct his bank to place a freeze on his/her account for lots of reasons. Some of which includes: lost of banking instrument like ATM card, cheque book and withdrawal booklet. Other reasons may include fear of online or mobile banking password compromise, lost of trust in a co-signatory/ies in the case of a joint account and lots more.
- Account Document Confirmation – The bank may place a freeze on a new account in other to fulfill regulatory requirements such as Corporate Affaira Commission search in case of a corporate account. Address, Identity and Employment verification, must also be satisfactorily conducted before full operation is allowed of a new account. Such freeze will be removed immediately verification is completed confirmed satisfactory
- Suspicious Account Transactions – The bank is at liberty to freeze, block or even close any account it considered suspicious in other not to go against regulations. Operations on an account is expected to align with customer’s business or job functions. Provision of evidence of genuineness of transactions may be required to unfreeze a suspicious account.
- BVN Freeze – There are a number of reasons why your account may be frozen because of Bank Verification Number, BVN. The issues of BVN is regulatory and banks are obliged to comply. All issues of BVN that result in freeze of an account must be resolved satisfactorily before the account will be unfrozen. Issues with BVN may include Name mismatch, Date of Birth mismatch and more.
- Dormant Account – Dormancy of an account is another reason an account may be frozen for debit, there are regulatory conditions before an account is considered dormant. The customer will have to provide evidence of account ownership and proof of address before a dormant account is re-activated.
- Overdue Loan Obligations – The last of the reasons why a bank customer may not be able to operate his account because of restrictions from the bank may be a result of overdue loan obligations. A bank customer that has loan repayment that is due but does not have enough money in the account to pay the overdue. This is particularly for Term Loans which often come with termly repayments.