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What Bank Details Are Needed to Receive Money in the UK?

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Transfer money across bank accounts has become commonplace in the digital age. Whether for business transactions, paying bills, or simply sharing costs among friends, knowing exactly, what bank details are needed to receive money is essencial.

After all, one wrong digit or detail can reroute your funds to an unintended destination, leading to many complications.

This guide aims to elucidate what bank details you should furnish when expecting money from a bank transfer, mainly focusing on the UK banking system.

With this knowledge, you can ensure smooth bank transfers, receive money with confidence, and avoid common pitfalls.

What bank details are required?

Whether you’re a business owner settling invoices or an individual receiving money from a friend, knowing exactly what bank details are needed to receive money.

With technology and banking continually evolving, the requirements for domestic and international transactions can vary. Let’s understand what is involved in a bank transfer.

Bank details for domestic transfers

Regarding domestic bank transfers within the UK, the process is relatively straightforward. To successfully receive money, you’ll need to provide the following bank details:

  1. Account number: This is your unique 8-digit account number, which identifies your specific bank account.
  2. Sort code: Another essential detail is that the 6-digit sort code helps identify your bank’s branch.
  3. Name of account holder: Ensure the sender has your correct name as it appears on your bank account. Any discrepancy here might lead to delays or the transfer being refused.

A person inside the bank system

Bank details for international transfers

For individuals and businesses engaging in an international bank transfer, more detailed information is often required due to the complexities of cross-border transactions:

  1. International Bank Account Number (IBAN): A unique identifier for bank accounts globally, the IBAN is crucial for international bank transfers, especially in Europe.
  2. Business Identifier Code (SWIFT/BIC): This code identifies the specific bank involved in the transfer. It’s a unique combination of letters and numbers, offering clarity on the bank and the country it’s based in.
  3. Bank address: Providing the exact address of your bank ensures there’s no confusion, especially when banks have similar names or are part of larger banking groups.
  4. Account holder: As with domestic transfers, ensure the correct name is given. This might include middle names or any other identifiers on the account for international transfers.

📚Related: Simplifying the Concepts of IBAN and SWIFT Code

Payment reference

When initiating a bank transfer, including a payment reference is often recommended. This is a short descriptor that gives context to the transaction.

Whether it’s an invoice number, a brief description of the service rendered, or even a simple note like “Rent for June”, this reference helps both the sender and recipient track and identify the transfer.

It ensures clarity, especially when handling multiple transfers or when a business bank account sees frequent activity. Always double-check this reference to avoid any potential mix-ups.

Is it safe to share these bank details?

Security is always a concern, mainly when dealing with financial matters. Sharing your bank account and sort code is generally safe for receiving payments.

Email payment fraud is rising, where scammers pose as legitimate entities requesting account details. Always ensure you correspond with genuine contacts and double-check before sending any information.

Further, some fraudsters may try to gather extra security details under the guise of verifying a transaction. Never share banking passwords or verification codes.

The importance of strong customer authentication (SCA) cannot be overstated. This is a requirement in the UK for many online transactions, improving the security of a bank transfer.

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How to receive money in your bank account

Thanks to advancements in online banking, transferring money has become a streamlined process. While multiple avenues are available for transferring money, understanding how each method works is essential for efficient and swift transactions.

Bank transfers

Online banking has revolutionised how we manage our finances, making transactions quicker and more straightforward. Below, you can see a step-by-step for an online bank transfer.

  1. First, log in to your account to set up a bank transfer using online banking.
  2. Navigate to the Payments or Transfer section. Here, you’ll need to provide the recipient’s bank details, including account number and sort code, and, for international transfers, the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and Business Identifier Code (SWIFT/BIC).
  3. Confirm the transaction once you’ve input all the details and specified the amount.

The duration of bank transfers can vary. Domestic bank transfers, mainly through the Faster Payment Service, can often be almost instantaneous but typically take up to two hours.

International bank transfers, however, can take anywhere from 1 to 5 working days, depending on the banks involved and the countries between which money is being transferred.

It’s worth noting that some financial institutions may charge transfer fees, especially for international transfers. Always check with your bank beforehand to be aware of any fees associated with receiving payments.

Alternative methods

There are multiple ways to receive money besides standard bank transfers. Direct debit, for instance, is an arrangement where you permit a company to take money from your account on agreed dates, typically used for recurring payments like bills or subscriptions.

While direct debits offer convenience, ensuring that bills are paid on time, they require you to trust the company not to withdraw more than agreed.

Wire transfers, often used for international money transfers, are secure but might incur higher fees. They typically involve banks at both ends of the transaction, ensuring the money’s fast transfer across borders.

CHAPS (Clearing House Automated Payment System) payments are another option, mainly used for high-value transactions in the UK. They’re swift, often settled on the same day, but can be more costly than other methods.

Each method has its pros and cons. Your choice will likely hinge on the urgency, the amount involved, and any fees you’re willing to incur.

The UK perspective – Receiving money in a UK bank account

Navigating the banking waters in the UK is relatively straightforward. Online bank transfers are commonly used, offering a swift, hassle-free method to send and receive money.

The digitalisation of the banking sector has been a game-changer, ensuring that customers can complete transactions at the tap of a button.

A quintessential feature of UK bank accounts is the 8-digit account number. This number is unique to each account and is imperative for any kind of transaction.

Alongside this, the 6-digit sort code acts as another crucial identifier. This code is specific to the bank and branch where the account was opened. The account number and sort code form the backbone of domestic banking transactions in the UK.

Additional tips and common pitfalls

While the processes for transferring and receiving money have been significantly refined, there remains room for human error. Such mistakes, even if minor, can lead to significant inconveniences or financial losses.

Double-check details

When it comes to bank transfers, precision is paramount. A single incorrect digit or a minor oversight can lead to transferring money to the wrong account.

As rectifying such mistakes can be both time-consuming and sometimes impossible, it’s crucial to double-check all the details before authorising any transfer.

Whether it’s the account number, sort code, or the account holder’s name, always ensure that the details entered match those provided. It’s a simple step that can prevent potential financial and emotional distress.

Sufficient funds and future payment date

Before transferring, you must ensure your account has sufficient funds to cover the transaction. Overdrawing might lead to fees, declined transactions, or both.

If you’re planning for a substantial transfer, reviewing your account’s balance and setting reminders can be a wise move.

Additionally, many Internet banking platforms in the UK offer the option to set up transfers for a future payment date.

This feature allows individuals to schedule payments according to their convenience, ensuring that funds are available and transfers occur seamlessly. However, always review the set date to avoid mishaps or missed payments.


Understanding the specific details required to receive domestic or international money is fundamental to modern financial literacy. With many banking methods available, the correct information can distinguish between a smooth transaction and a frustrating delay.

This guide is a comprehensive overview detailing the nuances of various transfer types, safety precautions, and best practices. Keep it close, ensuring you’re always prepared and informed, whether you’re expecting funds or orchestrating transfers yourself.

In the digital age, being bank-savvy is both convenient and necessary.


Can I use bank account details to pay bills?

Yes, the account details provided are typically used for paying bills and other transactions.

How many financial institutions are involved in international transfers?

Usually, two leading institutions are involved – the sender’s bank and the recipient’s bank. However, intermediary banks might be part of the process in some cases.

Can I set up a transfer for a future date?

Absolutely. Most online banking systems allow you to schedule payments for a future date. Always ensure you have sufficient funds in your account by the scheduled date.

Renata Pacheco

Renata is a seasoned financial market expert with over 30 years of experience in journalism and content creation, primarily focusing on the financial market. Throughout her extensive career, she has worked with leading financial institutions such as Citibank Brasil, Fiserv in Latin America, and other notable financial entities, further honing her expertise and credibility in the sector.

For more than six years, Renata has also been writing for the crypto market, collaborating with financial publications in Brazil, the US, and Europe. Her deep understanding and extensive knowledge make her a respected voice in the industry, appreciated for her ability to demystify complex financial concepts and market trends. This skill enables her to make financial insights accessible to a wide audience, from novice investors to seasoned professionals.

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Please be advised that the information presented in this article is intended for general informational purposes only. It should not be construed as professional advice from swissmoney. It is important to note that swissmoney does not act as a financial adviser, and individuals are strongly encouraged to seek independent advice from qualified legal, financial, or accounting professionals before making any decisions related to cryptocurrency investments. Furthermore, investing in cryptocurrency assets carries inherent risks, and individuals should be aware that they may potentially lose all of their invested capital.
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