Payments into your bank account

Money Advice Service

There are several ways to pay cash and cheques into your bank account – and people can also transfer money to you directly. This guide explains the different options and how to use them.

Ways to put money into your account

Pay in cash and cheques made out to you

  • Over the counter at your local branch. Complete a paying-in form and give it to the cashier along with the cheque or cash.
  • Deposit machines at your local branch. These machines give you a receipt.
  • The self-service paying-in box at your local branch – complete a paying-in form, put it into an envelope and put it in the box. Be careful – you don’t get a receipt when you do this, so if there’s a dispute about the amount paid in, it might not be easy to sort it out.
  • By post – cheques only. Send in cheques by post using a paying-in form, which you can get from your bank – they’re sometimes included at the back of your chequebook too.
  • Some banks let you pay in cheques using their mobile banking app.

Safety tips

  • Always get a receipt if you can, and keep it somewhere safe.
  • Never send cash in the post.

Receive money into your account automatically

Salary, benefits and other payments are usually paid into your account automatically, usually under a system called:

  • BACS (Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services), or
  • CHAPS (Clearing House Automated Payment System).

Your employer, or whoever is paying money into your account, will need the following bank details:

  • Your sort code
  • Your account number

Note: to receive a payment you don’t need to share the long number across the front of your debit card.

If the payment is coming from abroad, you’ll need to provide:

  • BIC (Bank Identification Code)
  • Your IBAN (International Bank Account Number)

You can usually find all these details on your bank statement, or by asking your bank.

Online, phone and mobile payments

You can also make and receive payments over the phone and online.

Paym lets you make payments to registered mobile numbers, without needing to know their bank account number.

Cheque imaging

Some banks let you pay in a cheque using their mobile banking app by taking a photo of the cheque and submitting some details. Money typically clears on the next day Monday to Friday, but can take longer over the weekend or on public holidays.

Paying in a cheque in the normal way would take up to six days, so doing it digitally on an app is much quicker.

When can you get hold of the money?

Cash

If you pay cash into your account it’s available for you to spend on the same day, as long as you pay it in on a weekday before the cut-off time your bank specifies, for example 3.30pm.

Automated payments

Automated payments are available the day you receive them.

This can be up to three business days after someone sends them to you, or often more quickly with the Faster Payments Service.

Cheques

If you pay a cheque into your account, you’ll be able to use the money four working days later – but you won’t be sure the cheque has cleared (the money is really yours) until six working days after you’ve paid it in.

If you use the money in the meantime, you might have to pay it back.

For example:

  • You pay in the cheque on Monday
  • You can use the money on Friday
  • You’re sure the cheque hasn’t been rejected on the next Tuesday

If you pay a cheque into a savings account the money is available six business days later.

Even though you can’t access it, you start receiving interest on your money a little earlier – on the second business day after you pay in the cheque.

If you used cheque imaging to pay in your check, the money will be available inside two working days, and often the next working day.

Whichever way you paid in a cheque, remember to add an extra day when there is a bank holiday.

If you pay in the cheque late in the day, you might have to wait an extra day.

What your bank will do when you receive a payment

With most banks or building societies there’s no charge for receiving payments – if they do charge they have to tell you.

Most banks or building societies don’t charge for receiving payments – if they do they have to tell you.

Your bank will give you the details of the payment, on your statement or in your online account.

This includes:

  • the amount of the payment
  • the date the payment was credited to the account
  • any charges or interest that you owe or that is owed to you
  • the name of the payer and any details they provided (like a payment reference)
  • if it was originally in a different currency, the original amount and the exchange rate.

Things to look out for on payments into your account

  • Some cheques paid in late in the day might not be processed until the next working day.
  • If money is paid into your account by mistake, the bank or building society can take it back again – you don’t have the right to keep it. It’s worth contacting them to let them know.
If you have a problem with your bank, read our guide Sort out a money problem or make a complaint.

Find out more

To learn about making payments out of your account or about running your bank account, choose one of the links below.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

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