Mistakes do happen when it comes to dealing will long identification numbers like a phone number or an even longer bank account number. Sometimes, the sender of the amount could make a mistake copying down the number on the bank slip while other times, the error could be from the receiver's end. For example, you purchased a second-hand car and the owner makes an error while handing out the bank account number to which you need to make a money transfer.
Unlike the older days, most of us do not go to the bank for a money transfer.
Net banking is the preferred medium and banks have placed multiple precautionary walls in the process of NEFT or RTGS transfer to provide safety when you make a transfer to a new bank account number.
The first step is the part where you add the beneficiary. Here, apart from having to enter the bank account number twice, if it an account holder from the same bank (like in the case of HDFC Bank), the account holder's name as per bank records is also displayed. This is one way for you to verify that the bank account number was rightly entered.
However, if the receiver holds an account in a different bank, it gets tricky and you have to rely on the information you have.
In such cases, you could make a small transfer first and send the remainder after confirmation from the receiver.
The Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) notification titled "Electronic payment products - Processing inward transactions based solely on account number information" explains that while "banks are generally expected to match the name and account number information of the beneficiary before affording credit to the account. In the Indian context, given the many different ways in which beneficiary names can be written, it becomes extremely challenging to perfectly match the name field contained in the electronic transfer instructions with the name on record in the books of the destination bank."
Manual intervention will delay the processing time.
While utmost care is taken by the banks and the system to credit the bank accounts rightly to the intended account holder, "responsibility for accurate input and successful credit lies with the remitting customers and the originating banks. The role of destination banks is limited to affording credit to beneficiary's account based on details furnished by the remitter / originating bank."
In order to handle surging volumes in a limited time window, some banks use name matching software, while a few others employ a risk-based approach based on the nature and value of the transfer.
However, as per the rules, the ultimate responsibility of inputting the right account number lies with the customer.
What can you do when you transfer money to a wrong bank account number?
- If you have made the wrong transaction, immediately inform the bank. You can call the customer helpline number.
- You should know that if the account number you mentioned does not exist, your money will be automatically transferred to your account. In case the account number exists, you will need to take immediate action.
- Provide bank details to prove that you transferred the fund to the wrong account.
- If the amount was credited to an unintentional beneficiary account that has the same name as your intended beneficiary, you will need to provide proof to show that the transfer was incorrect.
- For better communication, write a detailed letter/e-mail about the incident to the bank.
- The bank acts only as a facilitator and can provide you with details such as the name of the branch and the contact number of the unintended.
- Since this is your hard-earned money, try to keep track of the situation or the progress of the file.
- The bank can contact the recipient on your behalf if the transfer is made to a different bank. Your bank can request the cancellation of a transaction.
- If the beneficiary accepts the cancellation, the transaction will be cancelled within 7 working days.
What can you do when the wrong beneficiary refuses to return the amount
- It is not possible to recover the money without the consent of the wrong beneficiary. The process is a bit difficult, but he/she is required to accept that a wrong transaction has been made on his/her account, for the bank to cancel the transaction and return the amount to the sender.
- You can approach your home branch and explain the matter in detail. You may also need to provide ID proof, address and other information, as requested by the bank.
- Communicate the problem in detail by email. This also helps keep track of your complaint and their response time.
- The situation becomes more complicated if your bank and the beneficiary's bank are different.
- The person could refuse to return your money. In such a case, you can take legal action.
- If all goes well and the person agrees to return your amount, it will take 8-10 business days to cancel the transaction.