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What to do if you transfer money to wrong account

If you make a mistake when transferring money, acting quickly can help get things sorted.

HSBC customers have 36 months to make a claim, but the sooner you do it the better chance you’ll have of getting the money back.

Here’s the step-by-step process for how reclaiming money works.

1. Speak to your bank

The first thing to do is get in touch with your bank to tell them what’s happened. Make sure you have all your details handy (including details of the transaction).

Your bank should act within 2 working days. They should contact the bank that's received the money and ask for the money to be returned. If you know the person you sent the money to, and feel it's safe to do so, you may want to approach them directly to get your money back.

2. The recipient is contacted

The recipient of the mistaken transfer will then be contacted by their bank about the transaction. They’ll have the opportunity to dispute your claim, but will need a reason to do so as the banks will conduct an investigation if they refuse to return the money.

3. You get an answer

If there’s no dispute, the money should be returned to you within 20 working days. If there is a dispute, you’ll be notified of the outcome of your bank’s investigation within 20 working days.

If you’re unhappy with the final outcome, you can write to your bank and ask for the beneficiary’s details so you can try to retrieve the money yourself. You can also get in contact with the Financial Ombudsman.

4. Avoiding a mistake in the future

Next time you’re transferring money, make sure you double check the details so you know it’s going where you intend. It can also help to double check the details of the person you’re transferring money to.

We've introduced a name checking service called Confirmation of Payee (CoP). It aims to protect against authorised push payment scams and reduce the number of payments which are made by mistake.

When you make a one-off payment, set up a regular new one or amend an existing payment, CoP lets you check you’re paying the right person or business. That way, you can see if the name matches who they say they are.

CoP also allows a person or business sending you a payment to check your name matches your account.