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What is a standing order?

A standing order is a regular payment for a fixed amount that goes from one account to another.

How does a standing order work?

When you set up a standing order, you instruct your bank – allowing them to make ongoing payments on your behalf to another bank account, on a certain date.

The amount paid is always the same with a standing order meaning they are a useful way to manage predictable bills.

You can set up a standing order to:

  • transfer money between your accounts
  • pay your rent or mortgage
  • send money to someone you trust on a regular basis, such as a family member
  • donate to charity
  • pay for a subscription

What’s the difference between a standing order and Direct Debit?

If you need to make a regular payment from your current account, a standing order or Direct Debit could both be used. There is a difference between standing order and Direct Debit payments though.

With a standing order, you’ll need to know the exact amount to pay each time, which can’t vary once the payment is set up. Direct Debits are slightly more flexible, as the amount paid can change from month to month. This is more useful for bills where the amount owed can change, like phone bills.

Both types of payment have their own benefits. A bank standing order:

  • is set up by the account holder
  • can be changed or stopped at any time
  • helps manage predictable costs

A Direct Debit:

  • is set up by the person or organisation receiving the money
  • can be for different amounts of money each time a payment is made
  • helps manage bills for amounts that vary

How do I set up a standing order?

Setting up a standing order is a simple process. It’s usually quickest to use online banking or mobile banking but you can also do it over the phone or pop into a branch.

You’ll need to know the account details of who you are paying. We’ll also ask you to confirm how much money to transfer, how often you want to make the payments, and when the payments should start and stop.

Explore: Instructions on how to set up a standing order

How long does a standing order take?

Once a standing order is set up, the payments will leave your bank account on the day you choose each week or month. You should allow at least 2 working days the first time you set up a new standing order, to make sure the money is cleared in time.

Payment times can vary depending on which bank is receiving the money. If the payment is processed using Faster Payments, the money should reach the person or company who’s expecting the money on the same day it’s sent. It could take up to 3 working days otherwise, so it’s a good idea to leave yourself plenty of time to avoid any late payment charges.

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