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What Details Do You Need in a Bank Transfer?

bank transfer image

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.

How does a bank transfer work?

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:

  1. Authorisation: The account holder must authorise the transfer by providing the necessary information to the bank, such as the recipient’s account number, bank routing number, and the amount to be transferred.
  2. Verification: The bank verifies the information provided by the account holder to ensure that the transfer can be completed. This may involve confirming the account holder’s identity and checking that the account has sufficient funds to cover the transfer.
  3. Processing: Once the transfer has been authorized and verified, the bank processes the transaction. This may involve sending the transfer details to a third-party clearinghouse, which routes the funds to the recipient’s bank.
  4. Settlement: The recipient’s bank receives the transfer and credits the funds to the recipient’s account. The settlement process can take several business days, depending on the banks involved in the transfer and their processing times.

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.

What are the required details for a bank transfer?

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:

  1. The full name of the recipient
  2. The amount of money you want to transfer
  3. Your recipient’s 6-digit sort code
  4. Your recipient’s 8-digit account number
  5. A payment reference (usually with your name, so the recipient can identify the source of money)
  6. Date of transfer

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:

  1. The recipient’s address
  2. The name and address of the high street bank you’re transferring money to

Sending money image

Are there extra security details required?

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.

What details do I need to receive a transfer?

If you’re expecting someone to carry out a bank transfer to your account, make sure that they have the following details:

  1. The full name of your recipient
  2. The amount of money you want to transfer
  3. Your recipient’s 6-digit sort code
  4. Your recipient’s 8-digit account number
  5. A payment reference (usually with your name, so your recipient can identify the source of money)
  6. Date of transfer

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.

How do I transfer money abroad?

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.

Preventing problems with bank transfers

To ensure accuracy, verify all information

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.

Ask the recipient to repeat numbers and names 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.

Be cautious about overdrawing your account

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.

Pay attention to ‘confirmation of payee' warnings

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.

What details do I need for an international bank transfer through a high street bank?

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:

  1. Your recipient’s name or company name
  2. SWIFT code or BIC
  3. International Bank Account Number (IBAN)

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.


Also read:

What is Export Finance?

All you need to know about pharmaceutical exports

Opening a Business Bank Account in the EU As a Non-Resident

How to Open a Corporate Bank Account in Hong Kong as a Non-Resident

What is International Tax Compliance?

How to Finance Your International Trade Business

How long does it take to transfer money abroad?

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.

Where to find all the information you need for a bank transfer

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.

How do I transfer money to a business bank account?

To carry out a bank transfer to a UK business bank account, you will need:

  1. Your recipient’s name or company name
  2. Your recipient’s 6-digit sort code
  3. Your recipient’s 8-digit account number

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:

  1. Your recipient’s name or company name
  2. SWIFT code or BIC
  3. International Bank Account Number (IBAN)

What should I do if there is a problem with a bank transfer?

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.

I’m in a rush to make a high-value international bank transfer. Are there any alternatives to a high street bank?

Silverbird is your only option.

Silverbird is the only online payment provider that caters exclusively to international merchants making high-value international transfers.

Send your money securely. Enjoy world-leading FX rates, and multi-currency accounts primed for international merchants. Local EU/UK bank details. Competitive exchange rates.

With a Silverbird global account, you’re not limited to only SWIFT international payments when sending money abroad. Silverbird also provides local payment solutions in 20 countries to make business international transfers as frictionless and affordable as possible.

Have peace of mind with Silverbird’s safeguarding process which protects 100% of your money in reputable UK and EU banks.

Better still, Silverbird doesn’t slap you with extortionate fees for every transfer.

Don’t just take our word for it — start onboarding today.

FAQs on bank transfers

How long does a bank transfer take?

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.

Are bank-to-bank transfers safe?

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:

  1. Encryption: Banks use encryption technology to protect the transmission of sensitive information during the transfer process. This ensures that the information being sent is secure and cannot be intercepted by unauthorised parties.
  2. Authentication: Banks use various authentication methods to verify the identity of the bank account holder initiating the transfer. This helps prevent fraudulent transfers and ensures that only authorized individuals have access to the bank account.
  3. Monitoring: Banks monitor electronic transfers for suspicious activity and may contact their customers to verify any unusual transactions. This helps prevent unauthorised access to accounts and reduces the risk of fraud.
  4. Regulatory Compliance: Banks are required to comply with various regulations and standards, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), to ensure the security of electronic transactions.

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.

How long does an international bank transfer take?

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.

Is BACS the same as a bank transfer?

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 is a specific payment system 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.

What bank details do I give to receive money?

To receive money, you typically need to provide the following bank details:

  1. Account number: This is the unique number that identifies your bank account.
  2. Routing number: This is a nine-digit number that identifies your bank or financial institution.
  3. Account name: This is the name on the bank account in which you want the money to be deposited.
  4. Bank name: This is the name of your bank or financial institution.
  5. Bank address: This is the physical address of your bank or financial institution.
  6. SWIFT/BIC code (for international transfers): This is a unique code used to identify banks and financial institutions in international money transfers.

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.

Also Read:

  1. What is open banking, and why does it matter?
  2. 5 Best Traditional Bank Alternatives to Send Money to India from the UK
  3. What to Do When Your Bank Blocks a Transaction
See also
Silverbird: Banking the underbanked
Silverbird: Banking the underbanked
Opening a Bank Account in Spain as a Non-Resident
Opening a Bank Account in Spain as a Non-Resident
Why SMEs must go global
Why SMEs must go global
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