Money Transfers

Money transfers are a popular way to send money abroad or between accounts. However, confusion often arises around fees and exchange rates, with consumers baffled by charges. In addition, money transfers are often targeted by fraudsters looking to make a quick buck at the consumer’s expense! We examine common issues in Resolver’s guide to Money Transfers.

Fight overseas fees!

We’re supporting the fight for greater transparency in charges and fees for money sent or spent overseas. Launched by TransferWise and powered by Plum, you can find out how much money you’ve potentially been overcharged here.

If you’d like to make a complaint, use Resolver’s free tool to get started. You’ll need to explain that you’re making a complaint about overcharging for money transfers and exchange fees. Most complaints are made by people who didn’t realise the fees and charges would be so high – and weren’t told in advance about them.

Hidden charges

Under the Consumer Rights Act, all costs should be made clear to you up front. If you feel that you have been misled or poorly advised concerning the cost of a transfer, you should use Resolver to make a complaint. The company organising your transfer should be able to resolve the matter through their internal channels. If you’re unhappy with the way your complaint has been handled, you can escalate your issue to the Financial Ombudsman.

The money transferred did not reach its destination

You should contact the company you transferred money through as soon as you suspect that your transfer has failed to reach its destination. The transfer may be delayed, or it may have been incorrectly processed.

Delays can occur when money has to be passed through multiple organisations before it reaches an international destination.


These rare delays should not typically be longer than a month (except in extreme cases).

If your money has not reached its destination due to a processing error, the company who sent the money should work with the receiving organisation to track it down. Under the Consumer Rights Act, money transfer services must take “reasonable care” in providing their service.

If you’re unhappy with the way the organisation has handled your problem, you can escalate your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman.

Can I change the name on a money transfer?

You will be able to make small changes to the recipient’s name. It is unlikely that you will be able to change the full name on a transfer, though, so make sure you enter it correctly!

Transfer made to wrong person

If you’ve accidentally made a bank transfer to the wrong person, you should contact the bank to inform them of the mistake. The money still legally belongs to you, but it may be difficult to reclaim it. On occasion, the bank may not be able to reclaim the money immediately. In these cases, the bank will need to launch an investigation into the payment made in error – they can’t remove the money if it would put the person who accidentally received the funds into overdraft. If the person who received the money denies that it was sent by accident, the bank isn’t allowed to take the money directly from their account. The only way to get it back is to get a court order to identify the person who received the money and pursue them through small claims court (unless the sum is over £10,000).

Our advice is to initially send a small payment to make sure that you’re sending the transfer to the right account.

A delay in the transfer taking place

Transfers abroad can sometimes involve a fairly complicated process, and delays can occur when money has to be passed through multiple organisations before it reaches an international destination. These rare delays should not typically be longer than a month (except in extreme cases).

Your rights say you should expect that the service you’ve paid for is delivered as described within a reasonable length of time – if you feel that your transfer has suffered extensive delays, you should complain to the company responsible for the transfer. They should be able to track your funds and determine when they’ll arrive. You may be entitled to compensation for the delay.

Wrong information or advice

If you feel you have been poorly advised about a money transfer, you should consider making a complaint to the organisation responsible for the transfer.

Make sure to gather evidence beforehand, as you may be asked for records of any discussions that took place about the transaction before it was made. This evidence should include a log of any telephone conversations and emails that may have passed between you and the money transfer company.

All money transfer firms in the UK are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), so you can expect that they will do their best to resolve your issue. If, however, you’re unhappy with the way you’ve been treated, you can escalate your case to the Financial Ombudsman.

Currency conversion that was unexpected or not at the agreed rate

If you have sent money abroad and find that it has not been exchanged at the agreed rate, this may be because the exchange rate has change during the transfer period. If your money has to be transferred across countries, this may take some time and demand that your money be handled by multiple organisations. During the course of the transfer, the exchange rate may change, meaning you receive more or less than you initially thought. If you feel this has resulted from an excessive delay on the part of the company organising the transaction, your rights say you may be able to claim compensation! If you are unable to resolve the issue directly, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman with your complaint.

Fees and charges that were unexpected or high

Under the Consumer Rights Act, companies should be clear and honest about the costs of any services they offer. If you feel you’ve been misled (or that the costs weren’t made sufficiently clear to you beforehand), you can use Resolver’s free Money Transfer Complaints tool to make a complaint.

Transfer made to wrong bank account

If your transfer has been made to the wrong bank account, get in contact with the organisation making the transfer as soon as possible. It is possible that the transfer has yet to be processed, and the organisation may be able to cancel it.

If the transfer has already been processed, you should double-check that the mistake is not the result of an error on your part. In the event that you have made a mistake, the organisation making the transfer is not automatically responsible for reversing the transaction since there is no way for them to determine your intentions regarding the transfer. If, however, the mistake has come as the result of an error made by the organisation arranging the transfer, they are responsible for correcting it.

This may, however, take some time. While the person who incorrectly received your money isn’t allowed to keep it, their bank can’t automatically take money from their account if the recipient contests your claim that it was sent in error. In addition, the bank can’t withdraw the money if it would put the recipient into their overdraft (or if they’ve already spent it).

If this is the case, you will have to take the recipient to court to get your money back.

The funds were collected by someone who was not entitled to them

Typically, someone will need to supply identification to collect the funds you’ve transferred. This makes it quite hard for fraudsters to take your money. In the event that someone has fraudulently taken money you’ve transferred, you should contact the fraud department of the organisation responsible for the transfer. It is the responsibility of the transferring organisation’s agent to check the identity of the person collecting the funds – and if they fail to do so, they may be in breach of contract.

Wrong amount transferred

If you realise that you’ve made a mistake and transferred an incorrect amount, you should contact the transfer company to see if they have yet to process the transaction. If the money hasn’t been sent, you may be in luck! Ask to cancel the transfer immediately.

If, however, the money has been sent, it may be difficult to rectify the situation. The transfer company can’t be held responsible for distinguishing between your intentions and any mistakes you’ve made, so they’re not obliged to reverse the transaction. If you’ve sent an incorrect amount to someone you know (or a company you frequently deal with), you should contact them directly to explain the situation! They may be able to return your funds.

If the wrong amount has been transferred as a result of a processing error on the part of the company, they are obliged to rectify it. You should use Resolver to make them aware of the issue – processing mistakes can most often be resolved through a company’s customer service team. This may, however, take a couple of weeks.

If you’re still unhappy with the way you’ve been treated, you can escalate your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman.

Marketing emails

Companies are obliged by law to provide an “unsubscribe” link in any marketing emails. These links are normally positioned at the bottom of the email. Clicking should remove you from the company’s mailing list, stopping any unwanted mail.

If you find that you are still receiving unwanted emails, you should use Resolver to contact the company in question. It may be that they are unaware that you are receiving the emails, and can stop you receiving any in future.

Scams

Increasingly, fraudsters are posing as friends or family members to extract money by means of money transfers.

Alternatively, fraudsters may ask for payment via money transfer as a form of advance payment. They may offer a cheque in exchange, claiming it will cover sign-up fees or administration costs, but don’t be fooled – the cheque will bounce, leaving you out of pocket!

Always be very wary of anyone requesting a money transfer. Money transfer firms are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), meaning they have to stick to certain rules. They should have a fraud department who will be able to advise you in the event that you’re targeted by a scam. If you think you’ve accidentally sent money to a fraudster, you should ask the transfer organisation to cancel the transaction as soon as possible. If the money has already been sent, you should contact their fraud department.

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