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sarahbell

banks and money that might not be yours

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4. Money paid in error
From 13 January all banks will start to share personal information to help a payer, who has paid money in error, to trace that money and claim it back.

If we think money has been paid into your account in error, we might hold onto it until we check it with you. If you agree it's been an error, we'll return it. If you were expecting the money, we'll return it to your account but we may need to share your contact details with the other party.

 

From an email from the bank.

So do they mean any money? Wages? Cheques? Cash over the countr? 

I don't mind them tracing misplaced money but how wide reaching is this as an option for them?

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All they had to do is put a hash at the end of the account number (ie, 10 digit acc. no. with 8 useful digits / 2 hash.  similarly for the sort-code).

But, oh no, they couldn't possibly do that.  Which probably means that their backends are written in Cobol and no-one knows how to do that.

So we have to have a stupid system where a simple digit transposition results in the money disappearing into the ether, never to be seen again.

And they're encouraging use of bacs etc for transfer, instead of cheques (because it is much easier for them).  So the risks of error are only getting higher.

Then they come up with this sort of wheeze.  Exactly the sort of thing I'd expect -- least effort on their part, maximum hassle for everyone else.

Edited by dgul

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9 hours ago, dgul said:

All they had to do is put a hash at the end of the account number (ie, 10 digit acc. no. with 8 useful digits / 2 hash.  similarly for the sort-code).

But, oh no, they couldn't possibly do that.  Which probably means that their backends are written in Cobol and no-one knows how to do that.

So we have to have a stupid system where a simple digit transposition results in the money disappearing into the ether, never to be seen again.

And they're encouraging use of bacs etc for transfer, instead of cheques (because it is much easier for them).  So the risks of error are only getting higher.

Then they come up with this sort of wheeze.  Exactly the sort of thing I'd expect -- least effort on their part, maximum hassle for everyone else.

 

According ti what I've been told by one bank, the software doesn't cross ref the account name with the account number. Hence a transfer with the wrong account number can go to the wrong person and under the current system it's down to good will whetther you get it back.

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3 hours ago, Hopeful said:

 

According ti what I've been told by one bank, the software doesn't cross ref the account name with the account number. Hence a transfer with the wrong account number can go to the wrong person and under the current system it's down to good will whetther you get it back.

There's no official word on this but the account name isn't used in bacs or so I'm convinced. Next time try entering any gobbledygook in the name field and it'll still get there. 

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8 minutes ago, spunko2010 said:

There's no official word on this but the account name isn't used in bacs or so I'm convinced. Next time try entering any gobbledygook in the name field and it'll still get there. 

Yes, I'm sure it isn't, there is no cross referencing. It's amazing given that simple feature would decrease the probability of a mistake to the negligible. It's only the account number.

I am not sure if even the sort code is cross referenced as I think the account number trumps a sort code error.

Someone made a big blunder on a transfer on my behalf once (a digit transposition) and I had a worrying few days until the bank reported that the account number didn't exist and the transfer was in the ether rather than lost to somebody else. The bank confirmed that it would be only good will if any person who received it in error paid it back. Which is odd, because I am sure if the bank credited my account with an enormous sum in error  that I wouldn't get to keep it.

 

 

Edited by Hopeful

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2 hours ago, Hopeful said:

Someone made a big blunder on a transfer on my behalf once (a digit transposition) and I had a worrying few days until the bank reported that the account number didn't exist and the transfer was in the ether rather than lost to somebody else. The bank confirmed that it would be only good will if any person who received it in error paid it back. Which is odd, because I am sure if the bank credited my account with an enormous sum in error  that I wouldn't get to keep it.

 

 

It is odd, because there have been several high profile stories of people spending unexpected deposits in their accounts and then being told that the money was never theirs.

Unless these were just fake news in the hope that people would be encouraged to "do the right thing" if they ever found themselves in that situation?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6966683.stm

Edited by eight
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2 minutes ago, eight said:

It is odd, because there have been several high profile stories of people spending unexpected deposits in their accounts and then being told that the money was never theirs.

Unless these were just fake news in the hope that people would be encouraged to "do the right thing" if they ever found themselves in that situation?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6966683.stm

My situation was a genuine transaction that was paid from my account (by a signatory on my behalf) to a miss-typed account number. In that case the bank were very clear to me that if the account number existed I could lose the money as it would be up to the receiver as to whether it was repaid. I assumed in essence It was me paying somebody and then claiming i didn't mean to do so. In the old days if you realised you made a mistake like that you could stop a cheque as it progressed in the system. I don't think there is any such safety net with online transactions

I think if the bank makes an error it is a different story, as you might expect.......I notice the article leads with "A massive mistake by the Abbey Bank"

Who knows ?

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3 hours ago, Hopeful said:

Yes, I'm sure it isn't, there is no cross referencing. It's amazing given that simple feature would decrease the probability of a mistake to the negligible. It's only the account number.

I am not sure if even the sort code is cross referenced as I think the account number trumps a sort code error.

Someone made a big blunder on a transfer on my behalf once (a digit transposition) and I had a worrying few days until the bank reported that the account number didn't exist and the transfer was in the ether rather than lost to somebody else. The bank confirmed that it would be only good will if any person who received it in error paid it back. Which is odd, because I am sure if the bank credited my account with an enormous sum in error  that I wouldn't get to keep it.

I still don't understand why they don't make the account number incorporate a hash.  It would reduce these types of error markedly.

But they don't want to*.

The whole finance industry is power mad and can't cope with simple innovations that improve customer experience (but that they can't monetise), while at the same time very keen to innovate on new things that will only increase their profit making ability (but that don't benefit the customer, particularly).

We really needed the whole lot to go bankrupt 10 years ago, allowing a new set of customer-focused businesses to come along in their place.

[*Tell you what's crazy.  The IBAN (ie, International Banking Account Number, which all UK bank accounts have) does incorporate a checksum.  But they don't use IBAN for normal transfers because their software isn't set up to use it.  So they continue to use the system without checksum/hash.  Bonkers.]

Edited by dgul

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