The Faster Payments Service allows customers to make electronic payments almost instantaneously, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The payments are typically made by phone or internet banking to transfer money between accounts, to other people, pay bills, or make regular standing order payments. The service was launched in May 2008.

 

What would I use this for?

  • Faster Payments is used for processing the vast majority of internet and phone payments. Each bank or building society has a limit on the amount of money that can be sent using this service and you can see the limits of all Faster Payments members here.

 

How do I use it?

  • When making a Faster Payment, it’s vital to use the correct sort code and account number, as once you have made a payment this way, it can’t be cancelled. Entering these details incorrectly could mean your money ends up in someone else’s account and it may be difficult to get it back.
  • In addition to the sort code and account number, you also need to give a reference when making any online or phone payment. This lets the person or company receiving the payment know what it’s for. Sometimes entering the wrong reference stops a payment from being credited at all, so it’s particularly important to get the information right when paying bills. If you’re not sure of the reference number to use, it’s a good idea to contact the company you are paying to find out.
  • Since the end of 2011, all sort codes able to receive Bacs payments can receive Faster Payments (including credit card and utility companies). Have a look at this Sort Code Checker to see whether the sort code you’re sending money to can receive Faster Payments.
  • Faster Payments are commonly used to pay bills, for one-off payments to small businesses or tradesmen; and to make transfers to other bank accounts, savings accounts, or other people.

 

Security

  • Keep all of your passwords, passcodes and PINs for both internet and phone banking safe; always be wary of any unsolicited emails or calls asking you to disclose any personal details or card numbers. Your bank, building society or the police will never contact you to find out your PIN.
  • Know who you are dealing with – always access your online bank’s website by typing the name in yourself. Never go to a website from a link in an email and then enter personal details – the email could be sent by a fraudster who is trying to get you to login to a fake bank website.
  • Check your statements regularly (this may be easier for you with internet banking) and keep an eye out for transactions you don’t recognise. If you spot something suspicious report it to your bank immediately.
  • Some banks have introduced card readers and secure devices to use in addition to your normal internet banking login details. Some may require you to enter details when making online payments – this provides an extra layer of security against fraud.

 

Useful information

  • Since 1 January 2012, all internet, phone and standing order payments must now reach the recipient’s account by the business day after they have been initiated by the payer. The types of payments impacted include those made to pay bills, one-off payments to friends and businesses and regular payments, such as charity donations or life assurance.
  • In the UK, all standing orders and one-off internet and phone banking payments exceed this requirement, being processed end-to-end within two hours through the Faster Payments Service.
  • The maximum timescale for electronic payments, technically known as D+1, forms part of the Payment Service Regulations. 

Find out how to avoid common pitfalls and what to do if you’ve made a mistake in our handy guide.