Home Wire Transfers How Safe Are Bank Transfers

Are Bank Transfers Safe?

In this helpful guide we will share all you need to know about the safety of bank transfers, the different options available to you and the regulations that are employed to keep your money safe. Our goal is to make it easier for our readers to send international money transfers quickly and efficiently, albeit through a bank or money transfer company.

Updated: 18/10/2022
Read time: 10 minutes
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When looking for the safest ways to send money, sending your money via a bank transfer can be a convenient way to transfer your money either domestically or internationally, but it does require a certain level of trust in the person or organisation you are sending your money to, not to mention the institution you are relying on to transport your money.

Until you receive confirmation that your money has been safely received on the other end, it may not be explicitly clear what exactly is happening to your funds once they leave your account. Particularly for those making international transfers, that can be a worrying 5 to 7 working days wondering if your money is still safe.

Is it safe to pay by bank transfer?

Money transfers from your bank are usually a fast, safe, and convenient way of sending money. Provided care is taken that you are sending your money to a trusted recipient. Also, you need to make sure your bank is a good money transfer provider. Read on for a better overview of the rules and regulations banks and money transfer companies have in place to keep your money secure.

Your options for making safe bank transfers

  • Making a transfer with your bank: Initiating a bank transfer with your bank is a convenient way to send money, whether you’re simply sending your half of the bill to a friend on a night out, or are sending large sums of money home to family abroad.
  • Bank transfers are considered a secure way to send money, some will allow you to wire money with a credit card or debit card, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best method when you consider other factors such as fees and transfer time. There are ways to wire money for free, check our guide on making free wire transfer to learn more.
Making an international bank transfer with WorldRemit

WorldRemit is one of our top recommended partners for international bank transfers, providing fast transfers to over 150 countries worldwide.

One of the biggest appeals to a money transfer provider such as WorldRemit is the company’s low fees for sending money abroad and more competitive exchange rates than a traditional bank.

New bank transfer safety rules 

Earlier in 2020, new bank transfer rules became law in order to protect customers further when making domestic wire transfers. Major banks are now required to have increased security checks known as ‘confirmation as payee’ – a measure that was first introduced in October 2018 but only became law on the 30th of June 2020.

The security measures mean that as well as requiring your recipient’s bank account and sort code for a domestic wire transfer, you are now also required to supply your recipient’s full name. If the name given does not match with the bank account on record, your bank will notify you before you make the transfer.

These rules come into place in order to tackle bank fraud scams, in which people would pose under someone else’s name in order to trick others into sending money. Major banks including First Direct, Halifax, Lloyds, RBS, Bangkok Bank, NatWest, Nationwide, Santander, and TSB have now implemented these additional measures. 

2020 bank transfer regulations

You should note that these new rules that came into effect earlier in 2020 only apply to domestic bank transfers, not international transactions.

For this reason, checking all of your details are correct and only sending to a trusted party is always recommended.

Bank transfer regulations

Banking regulations are constantly updated to meet the demands of modern changes and technological development. Here is a list of banking regulation trends that you can expect to see in 2022:

  • Digital assets:  the regulation of digital assets will increase. There are 2 key areas where this takes place. The first is regulated entities such as banks, broker-dealers and money transmission entities. The second is financial instruments like securities, futures and deposits. 
  • Third-party risk management: regulators understand that the financial ecosystem is expanding. Therefore, regulators will focus their attention on third-party financial systems that interact with banks. 
  • Consumer protection: in 2022 you can expect to see an increased focus on responsible and fair banking practises to protect consumer interests.
  • Anti-money laundering (AML) and compliance: AML reform is in progress that will improve the balance between compliance with regulations and adopting new approaches. 

Canadian Regulators

We created the following guides about some organisations to help customers by providing relevant information related to the process of sending money in Canada:

  • CDIC (Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation): it helps customers by ensuring their money always is protected.
  • FCAC (Financial Consumer Agency of Canada): ensures customers are protected by the laws against money transfer companies.
  • FINTRAC (Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada): investigates and detects money laundering.
  • IIROC (Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada): it is in charge of overseeing the trading activity and investments in the Canadian markets
  • PC (Payments Canada): also known as Canadian Payments Association, it makes sure the Canadian economic system is trustable.

What can affect the safety of bank transfers?

Incorrectly entered digits or information

It is of paramount importance that you check you have the correct information for your bank transfer before you initiate it. This includes checking the bank account number, sort code, IBAN/BIC, and the name of your recipient is all as it should be.

Your bank may not register that you have entered your details incorrectly until your funds have already left your account. This can lead to severe delays in getting your money refunded back to you before you can re-start your transfer – and will most likely mean you end up paying far more fees for a transfer than necessary.

Can a wire transfer be reversed? Fortunately, yes. As soon as you realise that you have accidentally sent money to the wrong account, notify your bank. The earlier you are able to notify your bank or transfer provider of a mistake, the more likely you are to have your funds returned to you. Your bank or remittance provider will work with the receiving bank to try to get your money back for you. 

The good news is that the chances of you accidentally entering the wrong account details that actually line up with another person’s bank account are relatively slim – more realistically, the mistake will be picked up automatically by the institution you are using to send your funds and the money will bounce back to you.

Les virements bancaires

SWIFT network

While the SWIFT system is considered secure and is used to transport billions across the world every day, it is not completely invulnerable to cyber hacks. The SWIFT network is considered a secure way for banks to send information to one another, including money transfer information. However, the network also means that this information can go through a number of institutions before it reaches your final destination, and the most stops, the higher the risk for your information to be intercepted.

With that said, the most important thing you can do to ensure your money stays safe when sending it via bank transfer is to verify that you are absolutely certain you have the correct information for your recipient and that you are sending your money to someone you trust before you initiate a transfer.

Transfer securely with money transfer providers

Money transfer providers are an alternative way to send money via bank transfer across the world. These companies are a popular alternative to traditional banks because they often have lower fees, better exchange rates, and faster transfer times, but an understandable concern is how they keep your money safe.

Most reputable money transfer companies will be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Operators that we recommend regulated by the FCA include  WorldRemitWiseXECurrencyfairCurrencies DirectKey CurrencyInstarem and TorFX (plus many more). The FCA ensures that a transfer provider is legitimate and has the necessary security in place to provide safe money transfers.

In addition, most transfer providers will provide details of the additional security measures they have in place. For example, most transfer companies have encryption technology and multiple verification steps to protect your account and your money.

Bottom line: how safe are bank transfers?

As a method of sending money from one account to another, bank transfers are inherently safe. Human error is most likely to play the biggest part in your transfer going wrong, so here are a couple of key takeaways to ensure your transfers are hassle-free:

  • Always ensure you trust the person or organisation you are sending money by bank transfer to
  • Double-check that you have the correct information for your recipient, including the account and sort number
  • If you are sending money to someone you don’t know, consider an alternative method such as using your credit card which gives you additional protection

Cheaper alternatives to bank transfers

Bank transfers do not provide the best value for sending money internationally. In most cases, banks charge some additional fees and markups that make international bank transfers more expensive.

If you would like to learn more, you can check the following bank guides depending on where you are sending money from and which bank you are using:

*You should have an account to send money via the banks mentioned above.

Switch over to specialist transfer providers to save money on fees and currency conversions. Take the time to check out the live rates of money transfer companies using our comparison engine. Shop around to get the best deal and you will save large sums of money compared to banks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I safely make bank transfers with my mobile?
How can I avoid scams with international bank transfers?
What bank safety features should you use?

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Article Factchecked by Elliot Laybourne on 20th July 2022

Elliott is a former investment banker with a 20 year career in the city of London.

During this time he held senior roles at ABN Amro, Societe Generale, Marex Financial and Natixis bank, specialising in commodity derivatives and options market-making.

During this time, Elliott’s client list included Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Schroders Asset Management, and the Pennsylvania State Public School Employees Retirement System, amongst others.

Yasmin Purnell

Yasmin Purnell is a Content Writer and Editor for MoneyTransfers.com. Having over 5 years’ experience writing across a range of industries including finance, insurance, and travel, Yasmin joined the team with a mission to make international money transfers and everything they encompass accessible to all.

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