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Since probability that money has been transferred from you to the wrong account has decreased significantly in recent years. “In the past”, you addressed the target bank account by two separate combinations of numbers. On the one hand, you used to indicate the account number in the left section of the transfer, and the bank code number in the right section. The transfer data record was created from this information, no check was carried out. Now, however, you specify a single large field for each transfer, consisting of two letters (the country code) and the IBAN (International Bank Account Number). The IBAN in turn consists of the previous bank code (five digits) and the account number and a check digit. In the following article, we would like to give you some tips in case of an incorrect transfer.

Use telephone banking for a wrong transfer

If you have transferred money to the wrong account and want to retrieve a transfer, you should not look for a corresponding option or menu in online banking. This is because correcting or retrieving a wrong transfer is not a standard procedure and is therefore not usually included as a standard service in the current account price. In Postbank’s telephone banking, for example, there is a menu item “Callback transfer”, which is probably only offered shortly after the transfer has been made.

The following procedure is therefore better: The quickest way is to contact the advisor via telephone banking. The advisor has direct access to the bank transfer system and can, in the best case, stop the transfer before it is executed. “Non-real-time” transfers are booked by the outgoing bank at certain transfer times as a batch file, so to speak, and then sent on the transfer route.

Incorrect transfer with wrong account number: The bank can notify the recipient – you too can take action

If your account-holding bank cannot stop the transfer before it is executed, you should either have the bank retrieve the transfer or notify the recipient. When executing the transfer, you should be aware that the transfer is one of the safest payment methods.

If money was transferred to the wrong account, there is no legal obligation for the bank to retrieve the transfer. You are then in the area of a voluntary service or customer service.

You can choose between the following variants if you have transferred money to the wrong account:

  • Your account-keeping bank notifies the bank where the beneficiary keeps his account and asks the beneficiary to make the transfer back. Since the “giving” bank has no access to the address data of customers of other banks, it cannot contact them directly.
  • You could also notify the account-holding bank of the beneficiary yourself. To do this, you would enter the digits of the IBAN that would describe the previous bank code into an IBAN calculator and find out the name of the bank. And then write to the account management/back office there. If you want to “get” the previous bank code from the IBAN, you can start from the left side and remove the two country letters and the first two digits. The next eight digits are then the bank code. If you have transferred money to the wrong account, you can also take the recipient bank from the original document or invoice, if it could still be found.
  • If you have been a customer of the person you transferred money to the wrong account for a longer time, then in many cases a call to the accounting department will do the job. In the best case you are even happy about it, because the amount is in a kind of interim account with the bookkeeping and they have to find out from your name and customer connection the contract to which the amount could fit.

If you have transferred money to the wrong account and the recipient refuses

It is quite possible that the recipient is happy about the unjustified amount and simply does not want to hand it over.

In this case, you may not be able to retrieve the transfer directly, but you will not lose the money directly due to the incorrect transfer. Then contact the bank’s internal audit department and point out that one of your customers would have indirectly enriched himself. Since the customer who received the money has no legal reason to receive the money, he or she must return it.

Depending on the bank’s friendliness, the bank will make informal inquiries or you would then have to take legal action. Then money will be transferred to the wrong account and then retrieve it unfortunately a little more expensive.