Transferring money

A bank transfer is when money is sent from one bank account to another. Transferring money from your bank account is usually fast, free and safer than withdrawing and paying in cash. Read on for more information, including how to make a bank transfer and what details you’ll need.

This page explains how to make a one-off payments. If you need to set up regular payments, perhaps to pay your utility bills, see Direct Debits and standing orders.

How to make a bank transfer

There are a number of ways you can make a bank transfer.

Some of the most common bank transfer methods are:

  • Online bank transfers. Log in to your online account and select the option for making a payment. Follow the instructions on screen to enter the correct details. Some banks also offer smartphone apps that allow you to transfer money.
  • Telephone transfers. Call your bank’s telephone banking service. The bank’s customer services representative will guide you through the process - in some cases you may be guided through by an automated recording.
  • In-branch bank transfers. If you have the money in cash, you can pay it into the account of the person you owe it to in-branch.

Money fitness tip

Check you have the correct account number and sort code so that the payment goes to the right place.

What details do you need to give to transfer money?

Whichever way you choose to transfer money, you will usually need the following details of the person or organisation you are paying.

  • Name of the person or business you’re paying.
  • Six-digit sort code of the account you're paying
  • Eight-digit account number of the account you're paying 
  • A payment reference (often your name or customer number) to let them know the money came from you.
  • The date you want the payment to be made.
  • Sometimes you'll need the name and address of the bank you are sending the money to. This helps them to check that the sort code is right. 

How long does it take for the money to be transferred?

Payments made using Faster Payments will sometimes be received immediately after leaving your account, but can sometimes take up to 2 hours.

This option is free, available 24 hours a day and typically used in online banking, mobile apps, over the phone or in branch.

Most banks let you transfer at least £10,000, but some have much higher limits. You can check your bank’s limit on the Faster Payments website.

You could also use:

  • Bacs payments. These take up to three working days to clear. Find out more on the Pay your way website.
  • CHAPS (Clearing House Automated Payment System). Payments will go through on the same day, as long the transfer is made by a certain time. Find out more on the Pay your way website.

CHAPS payments often charge a fee.

Avoiding issues with bank transfers

  • Double-check the details. Check every figure, even if your bank preloads them. It can be difficult to get the money back if you get send it to the wrong account (more on this below).
  • Get the person on the end of the line to repeat figures and names to you. If you’re doing a transfer through your telephone banking service, ask the person taking your call to repeat every number and letter to you.
  • Beware of going overdrawn. Unless you’ve specified a future payment date, the money will leave your account straight away, so make sure you have enough available to avoid expensive fees. 

Other ways to pay

If you need to make a payment frequently, for example a monthly energy bill, you might be better off setting up a Direct Debit or standing order.

Cheques can also be a useful way to send money or pay one-off bills. 

What if there's a problem ?

If you have a problem with a payment, for example, if the money doesn't arrive, your first step is to contact your bank. You can find information on how to make a complaint on the Financial Ombudsman Service's website. 

If you think you might have sent money to the wrong account visit MoneySavingExpert for information on fixing your mistake.

Last reviewed: 08/03/2019

This content has been provided by the Money Advice Service