Getting the wrong details in a bank transfer can be a sticky business for global SMEs. Let’s say you make a high-value payment to the wrong recipient, what happens?
At best, your money is lost for weeks, sometimes months. At worst, the money is lost forever. Ultimately, you’ll find yourself locked in a tedious back-and-forth between you and your customer as they chase you for late payments, and vice versa.
The result: poor cash flow.
But don’t worry. In this article, we’ll cover everything — from sending money abroad to making transfers to a business account.
This article at a glance
A bank transfer necessitates the filling in of certain details that ultimately identify the correct recipient. This article will cover all the details you need for a bank transfer, as well as the details you need to receive money.
A bank transfer, also known as a wire transfer or electronic funds transfer (EFT), is a process of moving money from one bank account to another. Here are the steps involved in a typical bank transfer:
Overall, bank transfers are a secure and reliable way to move money between bank accounts, and they are widely used for a variety of purposes, such as paying bills, sending money to friends and family, and making business transactions.
Let’s start with the basics. If you want to make a bank transfer at a high street bank in the United Kingdom (UK) or through online banking, you’ll need to include the following details:
Bank transfer times varies according to the bank in question. An immediate transfer can reach the recipient’s bank account immediately, or take up to 2 hours. Bank holidays — like the Easter holiday season — are something to keep in mind because they can slow up the transfer time by several days.
Additionally, your bank may also require:
There are now. Scam cases are on the rise and banks have put extra security measures in place to ensure that your bank transfers are safe.
Most notable of all is the Strong Customer Authentication (SCA). The bank sends a verification code to your email or mobile phone to verify your identity, ensuring that you’re the person authorising the transfer.
Certain high street banks like the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) now issue a warning when you carry out a bank transfer, prompting you to think twice about whether you know and trust the person to whom you’re sending the money.
Once verified, you’re asked to confirm the name, account details and the transfer amount before you make the transfer. Make sure you get this right, otherwise, you’ll find yourself dogged by a long and arduous process to retrieve the money.
If you’re expecting someone to carry out a bank transfer to your account, make sure that they have the following details:
As a recipient, you’re not required to key in your own bank account details — that’s down to the sender. Your job is to make sure you’ve submitted the right details.
Sending money abroad can be done through either a high street bank or an online payment provider. However, it requires a few extra details. If you’re paying your suppliers, it’s critical to get these details right.
To avoid sending money to the wrong account, double-check all details, even if preloaded by your bank. It is challenging to retrieve money once transferred, so consider sending a small 'test payment' of £1 or less before the full amount to ensure accuracy.
When making a transfer through telephone banking, request that the person taking your call repeat every number and letter to ensure accuracy.
If you haven’t specified a future payment date, funds will be deducted from your account immediately. Therefore, ensure that you have sufficient funds available to avoid costly fees.
If the given name does not correspond with the registered name for the account details provided, exercise caution before making any payment to avoid potential scams.
International bank transfers are more complicated because they typically go through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) network, with every financial institution assigned a SWIFT code for security measures. This code is also called the Business Identifier Code (BIC).
You will need:
Additionally, you will have to confirm the foreign currency with which you would like to transfer money, as well as the name of the country you’re transferring money.
It all depends on what kind of service you use.
If you opt for a high street bank, an international transfer can take as long as 5 days to process. This is because a single payment has to go through the SWIFT network, with every intermediary bank taking a cut of the payment.
As such, high street banks charge a transfer fee for outgoing transactions — every transaction made through your business account will be imposed a transfer fee that ranges between 0.06-2%. While this seems like a pittance, the transfer fee incrementally adds up over time.
However, if you were to use a money transfer provider, your payment would arrive on the same day — sometimes, in seconds.
Ready to send or receive money by bank transfer? You can usually find your account name, IBAN and BIC/SWIFT code in the top right-hand corner of your bank statement or RIB.
If you can’t locate your IBAN, you should be able to generate it online via your bank’s online banking service or through an IBAN calculator tool.
If you can’t find your BIC/SWIFT code, you can log in to your bank’s digital banking service or use an online BIC/SWIFT code finder.
To carry out a bank transfer to a UK business bank account, you will need:
Sometimes, your high street bank may ask you to verify that you’re transferring to a business account instead of a personal account. Take our advice — note the company’s registered company number and business address to make your accounting easier.
If you want to carry out an international transfer to a business bank account, you will need:
If there is a problem with a bank transfer, you should contact your bank immediately to get assistance. To smoothen this process, be sure t to keep detailed records of the transaction, including all account numbers, the amount transferred, and relevant dates.
You should also check if the recipient has received the money. If they haven’t, you may need to open a dispute with the bank or payment provider who facilitated the transfer.
Additionally, you can consult your local government’s financial regulator for advice on how to resolve the issue and protect yourself legally in case of fraud or mistake. The bank may be able to return the money if it was sent in error and have procedures in place to investigate any irregularities quickly.
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The time it takes for a bank transfer to be completed varies depending on a number of factors, such as the banks involved in the transfer, the currency being transferred, and the method used to initiate the transfer. In general, bank transfers can take anywhere from a few hours to several business days to complete.
Domestic bank transfers within the same country are usually completed within one business day, although some banks may offer same-day or instant transfers for an additional fee. International bank transfers can take longer, typically 3-5 business days, or even longer depending on the countries involved and any intermediary banks that may be used to process the transfer.
It’s important to note that bank transfers can be delayed for various reasons, such as public holidays, weekends, and banking system maintenance. In addition, some banks may place a hold on transferred funds to ensure that they have cleared before allowing the recipient to access them. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to check with your bank or the recipient’s bank to get a better estimate of how long a specific bank transfer may take.
Yes, bank-to-bank transfers are generally safe and secure. Banks use various security measures to protect their customers' financial information and prevent unauthorised access to their accounts. Common security measures used by banks for electronic transfers include:
Overall, bank-to-bank transfers are a secure and reliable way to move money between accounts, and banks take numerous steps to ensure the safety of their customers' funds and financial information.
In general, international bank transfers can take anywhere from 2-7 business days to be completed.
It’s always a good idea to check with your bank or the recipient’s bank to get a better estimate of how long a specific international bank transfer may take. Some banks offer expedited transfer services for an additional fee, which can help speed up the process.
BACS (Bankers' Automated Clearing Services) is a payment system used in the UK for electronic payments and direct debit transactions. It is one of the methods used by banks in the UK to process electronic payments and transfer money between accounts.
While BACS is a type of bank transfer, it is not the same as a traditional bank transfer. BACS payment system is used for certain types of transactions, while bank transfers can refer to a wider range of electronic payments and money transfers between banks.
Bank transfers can refer to a variety of different payment methods, such as wire transfers, ACH transfers (in the US), and SEPA transfers (in the EU). Bank transfers can also be used for domestic and international transactions, whereas BACS is primarily used for domestic payments in the UK.
To receive money, you typically need to provide the following bank details:
It’s important to ensure that you provide accurate and up-to-date bank details to avoid any delays or errors in receiving your money.
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