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Reversing mistaken internet payments

11/10/2019

Transferred money to the wrong account? Here’s a guide on what to do.

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We’ve all heard the horror stories about people making a mistake in an online transaction and having trouble recovering their money. So if you’ve ever made a bungle yourself when transferring money, you’ll recognise that feeling of blind panic after clicking send!

Mistaken internet payments aren’t hard to do. With the New Payments Platform (NPP) in Australia, many transactions are made in real time. In 2015, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) figures from a three-month period showed that 83 percent of mistaken transactions were because people accidentally entered the wrong account details of the person they were transferring money to.

4 steps for recovering your funds

  1. Check that the financial institution complies with the ePayments Code. You can do that here. Any financial institution who subscribes to the Code must have processes in place to return your money, but even if they’re not a subscriber you should still raise the issue with them.

  2. Let your financial institution know all the details. The minute you notice any discrepancy with a transaction or on your account in general, you should ring your financial institution and notify them. In the case of a mistaken internet banking payment, let your financial institution know the amount transferred, the date and the time transferred, and the details of your BSB and account number (and the account you sent the money to). They will then try to determine what went wrong in the transfer and where the funds are currently.

  3. Wait for your banking institution to send a request to the recipient’s banking institution. In many cases, if you got the account number wrong (i.e. the funds were transferred to an invalid account number), the funds will simply bounce back into your account within 2-3 days. If you have sent it to an open account and it’s a genuine mistake, your financial institution will make a request for the funds to be returned (and they may charge you a fee to do this).

  4. Keep any reference numbers handy. If the financial institution opens an investigation to recover your funds, they may give you a reference number so you can keep track of what’s happening with your money.

Tips for avoiding accidental transfers

Use a PayID. This shows the recipients full name so you can check it’s correct before sending.

Check and double-check the details. Always check the account details and BSB are correct before pressing submit on any transaction.

If it’s a large payment. Make a small payment first to ensure the money arrives safely, and then you can feel more confident in transferring the larger portion of funds.

Confirm it’s the correct payee. If you’re transferring money to a payee saved in your online banking list, perhaps because they’ve sent you an invoice, check that their account details match the ones on the invoice.

Choose a trusted service. If you need to send funds overseas and want to use a money transfer service, make sure you use a platform with a good reputation.

When making a BPAY® transaction. Always triple-check the numbers you’re entering, including the BPAY reference number and if you make a mistake call both the biller and the banking institution to let them know and see if the payment can be reversed (this can take up to 14 days).

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. This information has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, before acting on this information, you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these matters and the product terms and conditions. Information in this article is current as at the date of publication. Terms, conditions, fees, charges and credit criteria apply. The BPAY Scheme is managed by BPAY Pty Ltd (ABN 69 079 137 518). ® Registered to BPAY Pty Ltd ABN 69 079 137 518.

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