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What Happens if You Send Money to a Closed Account?

Many people have undoubtedly opened several bank accounts over their financial journey. However, over time, some conditions or services fall short, and the bank account is usually closed.

Unfortunately, your prior account’s footprint may follow you. Your old account may have been tied to subscriptions or recurring payments. Perhaps you mistakenly wrote it in your new work contract, sending money to a closed account.

Many things could go wrong, but what happens if you send money to a closed account?

What is a misdirected payment?

A misdirected payments occur when money is accidentally transferred to the wrong bank account. It can happen when you misspell the recipient’s name or enter an incorrect account number.


What happens if you send money to a closed account?

There are a few things that can happen when sending money to a closed account.

The bank may decline the bank transfer

Banks frequently identify faulty account numbers or closed accounts. In scenarios where the recipient account is nonexistent, payments should fail and you should receive money back automatically.

The duration for funds to rebound from a closed account varies by bank, but a general estimate is 5 to 10 days. Expedited resolution is more likely for account holders in good standing.

However, in cases where the closed account doesn’t exist or the recipient disputes ownership, an investigation may be initiated. Whether due to incorrect input or potential fraud, legal recourse against the recipient is possible.

Resolving such matters might take about 15 days. Therefore, prompt action is advised within the initial two business days of identifying the discrepancy.

The bank may maintain the account open.

If you send money to a closed account, the financial institution may decide to keep it active. Customers have 24 hours to rectify the situation by adding funds to their account.

A bank should be willing to help you if this is your first time having money transferred to a closed account. In case of a wrong deposit, always look into it and contact the bank to explore solution options.

The bank may write you a cheque.

To recoup the missing money, certain financial institutions may issue a new cheque to the account holder.

Let’s say you join a company that pays its employees by direct deposit. If there is a problem with your first paycheck owing to a closed account, the employer will wait to be reimbursed from the bank until you resolve the problem.

The next step is for them to physically mail you a cheque for your due compensation.

Tips on how to avoid misdirected payments

To ensure your financial transactions proceed without hitches and to avoid the inconvenience of sending money to closed accounts, consider these steps:

  1. Thorough document and code review: Take the time to carefully inspect official documents and codes associated with direct deposits. This precautionary measure ensures your payments are well-protected.
  2. Validation and documentation: Double-check the accuracy of payment amounts and recipients. Maintaining a clear record of intended transactions alongside their actual execution serves as a useful reference.
  3. Prioritize deposit cancellation: If you’re in the process of closing a bank account, prioritize the cancellation of any existing direct deposit arrangements. This foresight prevents disruptions to your financial flow.
  4. Leverage tracking services: Embrace the benefits of tracking services. These tools empower you to identify and address any concerns at an early stage, potentially enabling you to secure refunds when necessary.
  5. Triple-check transaction details: Follow these essential steps before sending money:
    • Validate the accuracy of sort codes and account numbers.
    • Scrutinize payment amounts and associated references.
    • Ensure the account holder’s name matches the recipient’s information.
    • Test the process with a modest transaction amount.
    • Verify if any specific requirements apply when dealing with building societies.


How much time do I have to contact the bank about a misdirected payment?

You should aim to promptly contact your bank about a misdirected payment as soon as you become aware of the issue. Taking immediate action increases the likelihood of a swift resolution.

It’s advisable to reach out within the first two business days of discovering the problem, as this window provides the best opportunity to rectify the situation efficiently.

Can I get my money back if it is sent to the wrong bank account?

Yes, you have the possibility of getting your money back if it’s sent to the wrong account.

However, the success of retrieving the money depends on several factors, including how quickly you notice the error, the cooperation of the recipient, and the policies of the involved banks.

If you realize the mistake promptly, reaching out to your bank and the recipient’s bank is crucial. They can initiate an investigation to trace the money and potentially reverse the transaction.

If the recipient acknowledges the error and agrees to return the money, the process can be smoother. However, if the recipient disputes the return or doesn’t cooperate, the recovery process might be more complex and can involve legal actions.

How long does it take for money to bounce back from the wrong account?

The time for money to bounce back from the wrong account varies, typically taking a few days to weeks, but it can be longer if there are complexities or disputes.

However, if you want to reclaim funds straight from a closed account, it may take from 5 to 10 days.

What happens if you send money to a closed account in the UK?

The transaction will likely fail when you send money to a closed bank account in the UK. The receiving bank will recognize that the account is closed, and the funds won’t be able to be deposited.

In such cases, the money should be returned to the sender, and the transaction will not be completed.

What if the bank is unable to return the money?

If the bank can’t reclaim funds straight away, it should look into it and give you an answer within 15 business days.

Živilė Šarkauskaitė

Živilė is a writer with a diverse background, having worked with tech start-ups and pioneering brands across various industries. Her profound interest in progress and innovation drives her to the field of Fintech, a realm that sparks her curiosity and inspires her to share insights with others.

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