|This article does not cite any sources. (January 2013)|
It can be a repository for monetary transactions (cash receipts, cash disbursements & journal entries) entered with invalid account numbers. The account specified may not exist, or it may be deleted/frozen. If one of these conditions exist, the transaction should be directed to a suspense account.
In branchless banking (BB) - banking through mobile for unbanked - these accounts are used for 'money-in-transit'. For example, sender sends payment from US ACH account to a BB mobile number in Japan. The customer receives an alert on their mobile to withdraw this money from any BB agent. Until they withdraw, the remittance stays in the suspense account, earning the financial institute or the BB enabler float/interest on that money. When customer withdrawal completes, the money moves from suspense account to the agent's account who facilitated the cash withdrawal.
A suspense account is an account in the general ledger in which amounts are temporarily recorded. The suspense account is used because the proper account could not be determined at the time that the transaction was recorded. When the proper account is determined, the amount will be moved from the suspense account to the proper account.
Suspense accounts should be cleared at some point, because they are for temporary use. Suspense accounts are a control risk.