1 Cite 'misdirected payments' code
There are now over 70 million faster payment bank transfers a month, 10 years ago the number of bank transfers was little more than 100 million for the whole year.
A code of best practice on ‘misdirected payments’ has been introduced, and it outlines how your bank should act in the unfortunate event that you send money to the wrong account.
It's the first time banks have agreed a common process to recover money transferred to the wrong account.
Although this is good news for bank customers, the new code doesn’t guarantee that you’ll always recover any money paid in error.
But you should know what’s happening quickly so you can take further action if you need to or get help if you wish to seek legal advice.
2 Let your bank know straight away
When you tell your bank or building society you've made a mistake and sent money to the wrong account, they should take action within two working days under the ‘misdirected payments’ code of best practice.
In most instances your bank should be able to recover the money for you, and this will be the end of the issue.
It’s worth bearing in mind that although money spent by recipients who can’t pay it back is untraceable, transfers to an invalid set of account details will bounce back.
Contact your bank as soon as you realise a mistake has been made. If your bank isn’t in the list below you should find their contact details on their website.
Bank contact details
|Barclays||Call the Barclays Online Banking Helpdesk|
From the UK:0345 600 2323
From outside the UK: +44 2476 842063
|First direct||Call First direct customer service: 03 456 100 100|
|Halifax||You can call Halifax online banking help|
From the UK: 0345 602 0000.
From outside the UK: +44 113 279 8302
|HSBC||You can call HSBC general enquiries number|
From the UK: 03457 404 404
From outside the UK +44 1226 261 010
|Lloyds bank||You can call Lloyds general enquiries|
From the UK: 01733 347007 or 0845 3000 000
From outside the UK: +44 (0) 1702 278 270
|Nationwide||You can call Nationwide general enquiries|
From the UK: 0800 30 20 11
From outside the UK: +44 1793 65 67 89
|Natwest||You can call Natwest customer service|
From the UK: 0345 788 844
From outside the UK: +44(0) 1534 620050
In emergencies (24hr): 01268 500 813
|RBS||Call the RBS help line|
If you have an account in Scotland: 03457 242 424
If you have an account in England or Wales: 0345 9000400
|TSB bank||You can call TSB customer services|
From the UK: 0345 975 8758
From outside the UK: 020 3284 1575
3 Can’t get your money immediately
If your bank can't reclaim funds straight away – for instance, if the recipient disputes its return – the bank will investigate and you should be told the outcome within 15 business days.
If funds can't be recovered, you should be given clear and accurate information by your bank on the options available to you, which may include taking court action against the recipient.
4 If your bank lets you down
If you don't get the service you'd expect under this code of best practice you should first follow your bank's formal complaints procedure.
Failing a satisfactory outcome, you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Top tips to avoid misdirected payments
To be sure you don't make a mistake when sending a payment, follow these simple rules:
- Always double-check the sort code and account number. This is the information your bank uses to address your payment.
- Check the amount and payment reference, especially if you're paying a business or a bill.
- Send a much smaller amount initially. If you are sending a larger amount of money check with the intended recipient that they’ve received the smaller amount first. Then you can send the rest.
If you receive money in your account which could have been sent in error, contact your bank straight away.