What Is a Blocked Account?

What Is a Blocked Account?

When an account is blocked, the owner is limited in their ability to use the money in it. There are various reasons why accounts may be blocked or limited, such as internal bank policies, external regulations, or court orders and legal decisions. When an account is entirely blocked, it is known as a frozen account.


A blocked account signifies the imposition of temporary or permanent limitations and restrictions. These measures may be enacted due to many factors, including internal bank policies, external regulations, or as a result of legal decisions or court orders. When an account undergoes a comprehensive blockage, it is classified as frozen.

Restricted Access: Understanding Blocked Accounts and Freezing Measures

In financial transactions, a blocked account denotes an account that imposes limitations on withdrawals or access, preventing unrestricted and indiscriminate capital usage. These restrictions dictate specific conditions, such as the timing, amount, and authorized individuals for withdrawal. The reasons behind such account blocks vary, stemming from a bank's internal regulations or external legal judgments, such as the division of marital assets in divorce proceedings or personal bankruptcy cases.

For example, a bank might enforce a weekly cash withdrawal limit of $2,000 for its standard customers. At the same time, a judge could decree that individuals involved in a divorce may only withdraw up to $500 per week for personal expenses.

Account blocks can be initiated by a bank's internal policies or mandated by external legal decisions, such as bankruptcy filings or the division of assets during divorce proceedings. Complete account blockages, commonly referred to as frozen accounts, typically occur as a result of court orders or actions taken by the bank itself. This measure is typically enacted when an account holder accumulates unpaid debts to creditors or the government or when suspicious activity is detected within the account.

Foreign Exchange Restrictions

In certain jurisdictions, foreign exchange controls are implemented, wherein a blocked account refers to an account bound by these regulations. These controls aim to restrict the transfer of a country's currency to other nations or its conversion into different currencies. Consequently, the account holder encounters limitations on the amount of currency that can be exchanged or transferred internationally.

Deposit Account Control Agreements: Establishing Lender Control

When it comes to deposit accounts, the phrase "blocked account" often refers to a Deposit Account Control Agreement (DACA). This agreement involves the borrower (or debtor), the secured lender, and the bank responsible for maintaining the deposit account. The DACA enables the secured lender to exercise control over the account, as the bank agrees to follow the lender's directives without requiring explicit consent from the borrower.

Account Freezing: Government Restrictions and Long-Term Implications

The term "blocked account" refers to financial accounts that may be limited for different reasons, such as political motivations by the U.S. government or the account holder's passing. While a frozen account implies temporary restrictions, a blocked account carries a more severe connotation, indicating a prolonged duration. Once a U.S. account is blocked by government mandate, such as in times of conflict or national crises, accessing funds within the account requires explicit authorization from the U.S. Treasury.

Receiving Funds in a Blocked Account: Limitations and Exceptions

When it comes to blocked accounts, the ability to receive money hinges on the account type and the underlying cause of the blockage. Typically, the primary concern lies with withdrawals rather than deposits. However, certain scenarios, such as when a government imposes a block on a bank account, may entail a complete prohibition on all transactions, including deposits.


In trade and finance, the term "blocked account" encompasses diverse meanings. It can include accounts subjected to foreign exchange controls, the German Sperrkonto, Deposit Account Control Agreements (DACAs), frozen assets, and any instance where a financial account encounters limitations or restrictions. In essence, a blocked account signifies a hindrance for account holders, imposing restrictions on the utilization of their funds.

Blocked Account
Frozen Account