Does the banking system check the recipient's name and/or address when doing (domestic) wire transfers?

What happens if there is, say, a typo in the bank account number?

Is the money essentially lost, or is there some grace period in which to get it back?

  • It is (basically) a totally manual process - like delivering a letter. So it depends on the humans involved. – Fattie Jul 20 '18 at 19:10

It will depend on many things, for instance, if the typo leads to an invalid account number in which case the money won't be lost, it will return to the sender, if it leads to a valid account number there might be a grace period but it will depend on the banks.

Anyway, you should contact both banks ASAP when something like that happens.

In the case of the address, normally there shouldn't be a problem with domestic wire transfers.

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  • Do I understand it correctly that neither the name nor the address are checked to match the actual account holder's name and address? – MaxB Jul 20 '18 at 4:57
  • @MaxB Address are never checked. Some Banks do check for names on certain types of transactions, however most banks operate only on account numbers. – Dheer Jul 20 '18 at 7:41
  • N.B. Bank account numbers often to incorporate a checksum (IBAN at least does), so a simple typo isn't likely to result in a valid account number. – HAEM Jul 20 '18 at 10:51

In the UK, there is no check on the name and address field at all. You can put "Micky Mouse" there if you like, and nobody will notice.

Furthermore, almost all UK bank account numbers do not have a checksum - so a typo in the account number will not be automatically detected. If you are lucky, the typo'ed account number will not correspond to an account number, and the receiving bank will bounce it back. Typically however, the money just goes into the wrong account.

Whether you are entitled to claim the money back is a rather complicated legal question, but the short answer is "yes, providing you do so quickly". However, banks don't make it particularly easy to do so and may require you to go to court (you may even need a court order to force the receiving bank to identify who you have to sue - a "Norwich Pharmacal" order). There have been a number of such cases highlighted in the media, and there have been agreements to improve the ability to recover the money.

But if you are transferring a large sum, triple check the account number.

Edit: I see that the question is tagged "united states", so my answer is (of course) not directly relevant - but it may still be useful to other readers with a similar question.

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