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How to Withdraw Money from a Frozen Account?

Imagine needing access to your hard-earned money, only to find your bank account frozen. It’s a situation that can be unsettling and inconvenient, yet it’s not uncommon.

Whether due to legal concerns, unresolved debts, or other circumstances, a frozen account can leave you wondering about the next steps to regain control over your finances.

Here, we’ll answer the question of how to withdraw money from a frozen account and lead you through the process of unfreezing a bank account in detail.

What is a frozen account?

A frozen bank account can significantly impact your or your company’s operations, often occurring when a winding-up petition is served on the company, leading to the freezing of its bank accounts.

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The freeze entails the bank restricting specific transactions, whether compelled by legal mandates or decided upon at the bank’s discretion.

While temporary, it effectively blocks specific bank or investment account activities, including withdrawals, money transfers, and payments. Scheduled payments also remain unprocessed during this period, though incoming payments can still be received.

The decision to freeze a bank account is driven by reasons deemed appropriate by the bank, aiming to prevent breaches of regulations, ongoing policy violations, or implementing cost-saving strategies.

Whether prompted by a court order or the institution’s assessment, a frozen account serves as both a safeguard and a potential inconvenience, depending on the circumstances.

Frozen, suspended, or closed account?

A frozen account is inaccessible until it is unfrozen, a step that occurs once the underlying issue is resolved.

A suspension or restriction placed on an account can curtail its usage. This may result in the account holder losing the privilege to withdraw funds or facing limitations on transaction volume.

Conversely, a closed account cannot be reinstated. To close an account, a bank necessitates approval and substantial justification for the closure. Once closed, the account severs all cooperation and interaction with the account holder.

Frozen account: Reasons

Typically, the bank freezes a bank account when the account holder doesn’t perform legal obligations. However, that may not always be the case. Here are a few reasons why your bank may freeze your account.


A primary factor leading to account freezing is the failure to repay debts. This scenario frequently unfolds when an individual owes a substantial sum to a creditor.

Consequently, the debtor’s bank accounts get blocked, rendering the funds inaccessible for use. Moreover, credit card companies can check if they possess unpaid debts too.

Similarly, outstanding tax obligations can lead to the freezing of a bank account.

It’s important to note that before an account is frozen due to unpaid debts, creditors typically need court authorization, obtained through a court judgment against you. In such cases, you should also receive a formal notice regarding the impending freeze.

Prolonged account inactivity

In cases where an account exhibits no activity or transaction history, arousing suspicion, precautionary measures may be taken, including freezing the account.

Furthermore, the demise of a bank account holder presents another scenario for potential freezing. For instance, if an individual dies without a clear inheritor, the bank account can be frozen until a legal heir emerges.

This ensures appropriate management of the deceased’s financial matters.

Suspicious activity

Freezing actions can be prompted by unusual transactions. For instance, a significant sum of money directed to an unrelated party can lead to a temporary bank or investment account freeze. This precaution is taken to protect the customer’s best interests.

Moreover, individuals can proactively request a freeze if they encounter situations like lost credit/debit cards or possible misuse by a fraudulent third party.

Such freezes are grounded in identifying specific behavioral patterns or substantial financial transactions that raise suspicion.

This measure aims to prevent money laundering, fraud, and other potential violations. Additionally, the involvement of law enforcement can trigger a bank-initiated freeze, primarily for investigative purposes.

Bank account protection

The bank might raise concerns about unauthorized access or a potential account breach if they detect expenditures on your account that deviate from your regular spending behaviors.

In response, the bank freezes your account as a protective measure.

Furthermore, you can impose a temporary freeze on your account when your credit or debit card is misplaced or stolen. This measure guarantees the security of your funds.

How to withdraw money from a frozen account?

The reasons for freezing bank accounts are clear. However, one question remains unanswered: How to withdraw money from a frozen account?

Unfortunately, you can’t use frozen bank accounts to make any cash withdrawals or transfers. However, you can try to unfreeze your frozen accounts.

Here is a step-by-step guide that may help you.

1. Contact your bank and find out the reason for the freeze

To address a frozen account, your initial step should involve reaching out to your bank’s customer service or visiting a branch in person.

By doing so, you can gain precise insights into the account freeze and receive guidance on resolving the situation.

Additionally, it’s crucial to ascertain the root cause of the freeze. It can be linked to a legal matter like a court order or government intervention, or it may result from internal bank procedures.

Typically, when an account is frozen, the bank sends a notice to inform you of the rationale behind the freeze. Armed with this knowledge, you can then evaluate the necessary steps to unfreeze the frozen account and proceed accordingly.

3. Seek legal advice

Should your account be frozen for legal reasons, it is advisable to seek counsel from a lawyer specialized in banking or financial law.

Engaging their expertise will provide you with essential guidance throughout the legal proceedings and help determine the optimal steps to take.

4. Resolve the issue

The account holder must address the underlying cause that led to it. This could entail resolving outstanding debts, presenting substantiation of valid transactions, or adhering to requisite legal mandates.

It’s imperative to fully cooperate with pertinent authorities if the account freeze stems from a legal inquiry. Be prepared to furnish requested documents or details to rectify your frozen bank account and diligently follow directives issued by law enforcement or regulatory bodies.

This might encompass identification records, court-issued mandates, or any requested paperwork specified by your bank or legal representative.

5. Look for alternatives

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During the period of account freeze, you might encounter the need for funds to cover urgent expenses.

In such a situation, it could be prudent to explore the option of establishing a new bank account with an alternative institution. This would allow you to reroute essential payments or income to the new account until the freeze is successfully addressed.

Another alternative could be to consider using a financial service provider like swissmoney, which offers a digital wallet for managing your finances during such instances.


How do I withdraw money from a frozen account UK?

If your bank account is frozen in the UK due to suspicious activities, debts, or other reasons, resolution of these matters is essential before considering closure.

This generally entails furnishing verification documents and settling any outstanding amounts to initiate the unfreezing process.

Following the resolution, you’ll have the option to proceed with closing the account based on your financial institution’s guidelines.

To withdraw funds from a frozen UK bank account, start by contacting your bank to comprehend the freeze’s reasons. The bank will provide guidance, often involving document submission for identity verification and resolution of concerns.

Collaborate with the bank to address the underlying issue. After resolution, your account will likely be unfrozen, allowing you to withdraw funds via ATMs, online transfers, or branch visits.

Should you wish to close the account after the freeze lifts, adhere to your bank’s protocols. Keep in mind that the procedure specifics may vary based on your bank’s policies and the freeze’s nature.

Effective navigation of the situation necessitates direct communication with your bank.

How long can a bank keep your money frozen?

The duration of a frozen bank account varies based on the circumstances. Simple misunderstandings can be resolved in approximately 7-10 days, while more intricate situations might extend to around 30 days or more.

However, if the freeze is tied to tax obligations or legal disputes, there’s no definitive time limit in place.

If you don’t address the freeze, it will persist until the underlying issue is resolved. In some instances, this could lead to the closure of the account.

Furthermore, there’s no fixed timeframe for keeping an account frozen. Typically, a frozen account can be unfrozen once the bank account holder follows the necessary procedures.

However, investment accounts frozen due to investor freeriding usually remain fixed for 90 days.

How do you know if your account is frozen?

An account freeze can significantly disrupt your ability to carry out various transactions and deals.

Whether you’re trying to make purchases, process payments, or engage in any financial activities, the freezing of your account puts a halt to your operations.

It’s important to note that your financial institution is legally obligated to notify you about the account freeze, typically through email.

This notification serves as a formal alert that your account has been suspended, allowing you to be informed of the situation and take necessary actions.

However, it’s worth mentioning that while there is a requirement for the bank to provide prior notice before executing an account freeze, there might be instances where the notification is issued before the actual freeze is implemented.

This situation might occur due to various reasons, such as the time required for processing the freeze or ensuring that you are informed well in advance to address any concerns.

Can I close a frozen bank account?

If your bank account is frozen due to suspicious activities or debts, you must address these issues before closing it. To unfreeze your account, provide verification documents and settle any owed amounts. After the problems have been fixed, you are free to move through with closing the account.

While a frozen bank account prevents withdrawals and transactions, you can still close it. The process varies based on your financial institution’s policies. Some banks require written account closure requests, while others accept online, phone, or in-person submissions at branch locations.

Can a bank freeze an account without notice?

Banks commonly engage in monitoring accounts to detect potential money laundering activities, where significant sums are deposited to create an appearance of legitimacy.

Additionally, if your bank harbors suspicions of unlawful account usage, they hold the authority to close your account abruptly and without prior notification.

This lack of forewarning often leads to distressing situations, particularly when you notice the freeze while attempting transactions in stores, ATMs, or during pressing financial requirements.

The authorization for instant account freezing, without prior communication, is granted to banks upon receipt of a levy notice.

Živilė Šarkauskaitė

Živilė is a writer with a diverse background, having worked with tech start-ups and pioneering brands across various industries. Her profound interest in progress and innovation drives her to the field of Fintech, a realm that sparks her curiosity and inspires her to share insights with others.

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