People who accidentally transfer money to the wrong bank or building society account can expect a swift resolution to the problem under new guidelines - but the rules will not make it any easier for the payer to get the money back.
Banks and building societies must take action within two working days if a customer informs them that a payment has been made in error, the guidelines issued by the
Typically this occurs when someone enters the wrong digit for a sort code or account number. From May, banks will then have a further 20 days to conclude an investigation if they cannot reclaim the money instantly - for example, if the recipient disputes its return.
At the moment banks are expected to act swiftly but there is nothing to compel them to do so.
The number of cases of misdirected payments is unknown as the industry does not keep a record. But the
Misdirected payments are likely to become more widespread, according to the FOS, with the advent of new mobile banking services such as Paym.
An FOS spokesman said: "The way we use new technology has radically changed the way we bank - so it's inevitable that, as transfer methods become more easily available, the problem of misdirected payments is going to have more of a personal impact on all of us."
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