Internet use for older people - transferring money and making online payments | ͵͵


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How to transfer money and make payments

You can send money from your bank account to someone else's using a bank transfer. Transferring money in this way is quicker and easier than taking out cash or using a cheque, but there are some precautions you should take to keep your money safe.

What do I need to make a bank transfer?

To make transfers online, you need to set up online banking. The exact steps you need to take vary depending on your bank, but you'll usually need to know:

  • the amount you want to send
  • the full name of the person you’re sending money to
  • their 6-digit sort code
  • their 8-digit account number
  • a payment reference (usually your name, so the person knows who sent them the money)
  • whether you want the money to be sent straight away, or at a later date and time.

Money sent using the 'Faster Payments' through online banking on your smartphone app will reach the recipient’s account within 2 hours, and sometimes it's received immediately.

Once you've sent money to someone once, their details will be stored and you won’t need to enter them next time.

Some banks don't let you set up a new payee on their mobile app, so you’ll need to log in to online banking on a computer. Some may also require you to use a card reader to verify it's you setting up the transfer.

I used online banking to transfer money to my daughter when she picks bits up for me from the shops. It's much easier than I thought.

Anthony, 70

How can I check my bank transfer is safe?

Before making any payments, stop and consider your answers to the following questions:

  • Do you know the person you're sending money to?
  • Has someone phoned you out of the blue asking for money or claiming to be from your bank?
  • Have you been put under pressure to make a payment?

If something doesn't feel right, stop and check the situation with someone you know and trust.

Some banks now have a warning when you transfer money to someone. This prompts you to think twice that the person you're sending money to is genuine, and double-check that the details are correct.

If you're happy that the payment is to someone you know and trust, double-check the details (such as the amount of money and the name and account details of the recipient) before sending any money. Ask the recipient to repeat their bank details. Unfortunately, if you enter their details incorrectly, it can be very difficult to get your money back.

How do I set up a direct debit or standing order?

Setting up a standing order or a direct debt is a good way to make sure that certain payments from your bank account are made automatically.

What is a standing order?

Standing orders automatically send money from your account. They're helpful if you regularly need to pay someone a set amount, for example, if someone does your shopping or pays your bills for you.

What is a direct debit?

Direct debits give a company permission to take money from your account on a certain date, for example, for paying your energy bills. The amount may differ each time, but companies should tell you in advance how much they'll take and when.

How do I set up a standing order or direct debit?

You can set up standing orders through online banking. You'll need the following information:

  • the amount of money you want to send
  • the full name of the person you're sending money to
  • their 6-digit sort code
  • their 8-digit account number
  • a payment reference
  • when you want the money to leave your account (for example, on the 25th day of every month)
  • how long you'd like the regular payments to continue (such as 6 months).

On the other hand, direct debits are set up by the company you'll be paying, but you'll need to provide them with your name and bank details for them to arrange the payment.

Tips for managing your standing orders and direct debits

  • Make sure you keep track of when money is leaving your account and there is enough money in your bank to pay the bill – otherwise, you might risk fees or going overdrawn.
  • You can set up payments to end on a certain date.
  • If you stop using a service, make sure to cancel your standing order or direct debit – otherwise, you might pay more than you should be.
  • You might get a discount by paying bills by direct debit – speak to the company to find out.

What if something goes wrong?

Get in touch with your bank right away if:

  • you notice any activity you don't recognise on your account
  • the person you’re paying doesn't receive your payment
  • you accidentally make a payment to the wrong account.

If you have a problem with a payment that your bank doesn't resolve, or if you're unhappy with how your issue has been managed, you can take the following steps:

  1. Make a complaint through the bank's complaints procedure. It’s best to do this in writing rather than over the phone.
  2. If you're unhappy with the response to your complaint, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service, a free and independent complaints service. You should contact them within 6 months of receiving the response to your complaint, and they'll support you to try and resolve the issue. 

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Last updated: Apr 08 2024

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