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Is a Bank Transfer Safe in the UK?

Written by, Marija Petkova

Updated July, 16, 2023

Bank transfers are a common and convenient way to move money from one account to another. 

But is a bank transfer safe and if they are, what makes bank wire transfers safe?

Let’s dive in.

Are Bank Transfers Safe, and Is It Safe To Do A Bank Transfer Online With A Stranger?

Bank transfers are considered a safe way to transfer money, provided that you are sending funds to a trusted recipient and are using a reputable bank.

It’s best to avoid transferring money to strangers to avoid failing for bank transfer scams. 

One of the most important things when wiring money is to ensure that the funds are sent to the right account and that you provide the right details. This can be done by verifying the account number, the sort code of the receiving account, as well as the name of the bank, and the branch where the account is located.

Types of Bank Transfers

There are three main ways you can transfer money between banks.

Online money transfer

Most banks and money transfer services have an online portal or a smartphone app where you can log in to your account and make payments or send money to other accounts. Some even offer “Fast Payments” which guarantee that the money will reach the recipient’s account in 2 hours.

Telephone transfers

If you need to make a bank transfer but are not comfortable doing so online, you can call your bank’s telephone banking service. This process usually involves speaking to a customer service representative who will guide you through the process.

To save time, make sure you have all the relevant account information before making the call.

In-branch bank transfers

In-branch bank transfers are a way to transfer money in a safe manner from one account to another in person. This can be done by visiting the bank branch where the account is located and speaking to a bank representative. 

What Details Do You Need To Make A Safe Wire Transfer?

When making payments from one account to another, you’ll need to have the following information:

  • The receiving account number
  • The receiving account’s sort code
  • The name of the bank and the branch where the receiving account is located
  • The date of the payment

It’s also advisable to include a payment reference (often your name or customer number) for verification purposes and proof that the funds came from you.

What Is Confirmation of Payee?

Confirmation of payee is a relatively new system that banks use to ensure a secure money transfer between accounts and provide a layer of protection against fraud and scam attempts.

Did you know? 22% of all fraud cases are linked to obtaining bank account details.

It gives customers the option to check if the name they’ve been given matches the name of the account associated with the account number and sort code where they’re sending money. 

They can then decide whether they want to send the funds. 

Regulators are also constantly looking at potential regulations that can be incorporated into baking systems.

One such bank transfer protection regulation is anti-money laundering (AML) which refers to the actions that financial institutions take to make sure they comply with legal requirements to monitor and report suspicious activities.

What Are The Different Types of Money Transfer Scams?

Money transfers scams and fraud are a constant threat as scammers are regularly coming up with new ways to dupe victims. Fraudsters can be very convincing, so it’s best to keep an eye on potential scam attempts.

Some of the most common include:

Phishing scams

These are types of scams in which someone attempts to steal your personal information by sending you an email or message that looks like it’s from a legitimate organisation.

The email or message will usually ask you to provide your personal information, such as your debit card number, password, or social security number. They could also ask you to click on a link to a website that may download a rootkit, which can collect private information.

Lotteries and winnings scams 

In this type of scam, fraudsters send letters or emails declaring you a winner of a substantial cash prize or lottery jackpot.

Similar to phishing schemes, they ask for private information such as bank details, promising that the only way you can “claim” your prize. Some may even ask you to send them money upfront.

Dating scams

In dating scams, fraudsters usually contact victims via fake accounts on social media sites or dating apps. They often go to great lengths to convince their victims that they are in a relationship in order to avoid raising an alarm when asking for money.

Their requests are usually highly emotive. For example, they ask for money for medical expenses or transport costs if they’re overseas. 

Family impersonation emergency scams

These scams are quite diverse and creative and usually target elderly people. 

Fraudsters often pretend to be a family member in order to get money or personal information from you. They may call you or email you and say that they are stranded in a foreign country or need money for a medical emergency. 

Sometimes, fraudsters can ask for your bank account details so that they can “wire” the money to you.

Bottom Line

How safe is a bank transfer? Bank transfers are inherently safe as a way to move money from one account to another. When wiring money, it’s always best to make sure you’re sending funds to the intended recipient and verify their name and sort number.

Frequently Asked Questions And Their Answers

Is there any protection with a bank transfer?

When you make a bank transfer, your money is protected by the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA). This act guarantees that you will get your money back if your transfer is unsuccessful. The EFTA also protects you from unauthorised transactions, so you won’t be held liable for fraud charges.

Can you get scammed with a bank transfer?

Yes, you can get scammed with bank transfers. The most common type of scam is a phishing scam, where the scammer sends emails to potential victims to confirm their account numbers and passwords. But, ultimately, is a bank transfer safe? Yes, it is.

My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.