Faster Payments and Bacs improve wrong payment recovery

27 January 2016

There’s good news for the fat-fingered among us (or those who simply attempt to execute online banking using a tablet). Faster Payments, the company whose logo you may have notice flash by whenever you’ve made a purchase on Amazon or transferred funds from one bank account to another, and Bacs Payment Schemes Limited have announced improved measures for those wishing to recover their money in the case of accidently sending it to the wrong account.

What are these measures?

These measures were last looked at back in May 2014. In some cases they remain as they were. In others, they have been tightened considerably. Here they are in full:

  • When notifying your bank or building society of a wrong payment, your bank will commence action on your behalf within a maximum of two working days.
  • Where your bank finds clear evidence of a genuine mistake, they will contact the receiving bank on your behalf with a request to prevent the money being mistakenly spent. Providing this is not disputed, you will receive a refund within 20 working days from the point of your enquiry
  • In cases where the circumstances of the claim are not clear, your bank will still contact the receiving bank on your behalf. The recipient will be contacted by their bank to ask for consent to debit their account. No funds will be removed without the consent of the receiving customer.
  • If it isn’t possible to reclaim a payment sent in error – for instance, if the recipient disputes its return – you will be notified of the outcome within 20 working days from the point of your enquiry or sooner.
  • If funds cannot be recovered through the standard central process your bank will give clear and accurate information on your options, such as court action against the recipient.
  • If you don’t receive the service expected under the new procedures, you can follow your provider’s formal complaints procedure. If you’re not happy with the outcome, your bank will provide you with information on how you can take your complaint to the independent Financial Ombudsman Service.


Of course, prevention is the best solution of all.

Craig Tillotson, chief executive of Faster Payments says: “Mobile, online and phone banking customers now send well over a billion payments every year. The most important advice is to make sure you get the sort code and account number correct when sending any payment.
“But, if you do make a mistake, today’s announcement means more help is on offer, while also ensuring the recipient of funds is treated fairly too.”


You can also read our guide, 'How to get your financial complaint heard', here.

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