Access to money held in a frozen bank account is restricted and any checks that have been written but have not yet cleared the account will bounce and not clear the bank.  A frozen bank account is an account that has been suspended by the bank and cannot be used until the freeze is lifted.  Once a bank account freeze is in effect, checks presented to the bank on the account that is frozen will not be paid nor will electronic transfers be completed or paid along with any withdrawals and payments made via an ATM, check card, or debit card.

An account freeze typically applies to all funds in the account at the time the freeze is initiated by the bank.  Some funds held in an account may be exempt from the bank freeze such as social security benefits, certain retirement benefits, and other federal benefits.  Even when there are exempt funds held in an account that has a freeze on it, the account holder will have to notify the bank regarding the exempt funds to free that portion of their account for use and availability.

Depending on the reason the bank has placed a freeze on the account, getting access to the money in the account to allow any checks written to clear the account may be quite simple or rather time consuming.  Bank accounts can be frozen for more than one reason and the type of freeze will often dictate how difficult it will be to get the freeze lifted and the funds moving.  Common reasons for a bank account freeze include levies sent to the bank from government agencies collecting past due debts, court orders sent by creditors to collect past due debts, or the bank where the account is held directly placing a freeze as a result of suspicious or fraudulent actions in the account.

In order to gain access to the money in the account, account holders should determine why the account is frozen and contact the bank and the party responsible to initiate the process to lift the freeze as soon as possible.

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