How to transfer money using UK bank details

If you’re used to sending money using complicated money transfer services – especially when sending internationally – you might be surprised when you learn what bank details are needed to transfer money in the UK.

There are certain features that UK bank accounts, building society accounts and Arro Money accounts all share.

First is the ‘sort code’, which is a six-digit number that uniquely identifies where your account is held. That might mean the online provider, such as Arro Money, or in the case of a bank account, it may identify a specific branch.

Then there’s your eight-digit account number, which uniquely identifies your account among all of the open accounts currently provided by that bank, building society or electronic money services provider.

In principle these are enough, together, to make sure your money is transferred into the right account – similar to the town and street address when you send a letter through the post.

Do I need the recipient’s name?

You will usually be asked for the name of the accountholder you are sending the money to, and it’s a good idea to get this right.

Although the sort code and account number alone are enough to identify the account, providing the (correctly spelled) name of the accountholder is an extra way to double check that everything matches.

Again, it’s like when you send a letter – the street address and house number will get it to the right place, but writing the recipient’s name as well makes sure it reaches the right person.

What else might I need?

You will usually be asked when you want to send the payment. In many cases you want it to go as soon as possible – and using Faster Payments, it can be in the recipient’s account within a couple of hours.

If you do need to delay the money transfer for any reason, for example because you want it to be available on a specific date, your provider may give you the option to specify a date and even a particular time for the authorisation to be sent.

Finally, there may be a box to enter a payment reference. This is useful if you are paying a service provider and need to give them your own customer number so they can verify that the payment came from you.

This is commonplace when paying taxes, including income tax and council tax, but you can also enter a payment reference when sending money to friends and family – you could even use this option just to say hello, if you wanted.

If you are asked to include a specific payment reference, you should – there’s usually a good reason for it. Alternatively if you’re paying an invoice, it’s good practice to include the invoice number instead.

How is my money sent?

There are a few systems used to send money using account details in the UK. The fastest, which we’ve already mentioned above, is Faster Payments, and this usually gets the money to the destination account within hours.

A slightly slower method is CHAPS, but this too usually gets the money there on the same day, whereas the older Bacs system can take up to three working days as standard.

Often when you send a payment, you won’t be asked to choose a specific system – many providers will use the fastest method available to you, which for most ordinary money transfers using Arro accounts, will be Faster Payments.

How to get access to Faster Payments UK

You can get your own current account with sort code and account number within three minutes when you sign up for an Arro Personal Account, which will also give you access to send Faster Payments to other UK accounts held with banks, building societies and online providers.

To open an account, you don’t need much more information than you would need to send a payment – we just ask for your name, UK address and date of birth, so we can verify that you currently like in the UK and are over 18.

We also need some contact details, so we can send you your account information and virtual MasterCard® debit card number once your application is approved.

As soon as your Arro Personal Account is set up, we give you your sort code and account number, which means other people can start to send money to your account just like they would to a bank or building society account.

You can also log on to the Arro Money online dashboard, which means once there is some money in your Arro Personal Account, you can authorise Faster Payments too to transfer funds out to other accounts.