What details do you need for a bank transfer?

What details do you need for a bank transfer?

Whichever bank account or financial service you use to transfer your money, there are certain details you’ll need to make a bank transfer – here's what you need to know.


To help you make sure your money reaches the right person, we’ve outlined the details you need for a bank transfer in the UK, for transferring money abroad and for making a transfer to a business bank account.

The details you need to transfer money

If you want to send a wire transfer to someone through online banking or at a UK bank branch you’ll need their: 

  • Full name
  • 6-digit sort code
  • 8-digit account number

You’ll also need to confirm the date you want the payment to be sent. Most financial institutions offering online bank transfers will let you set a future date for the transfer if you don’t want the money to leave your bank account immediately. The time it takes wire transfers to arrive in the payee’s account can vary – double check with your bank how many business days it should take.  

In addition to the person’s name, sort code and account number, your bank might also ask you for:

  • Their address
  • A reference phrase or number – this is often needed for bill payments
  • The name and address of the bank you’re sending the money to 

Extra security details you need for a bank transfer 

To help prevent fraud, recent legislation has been brought in that means you need to provide some extra details when you make a bank transfer.  

Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) has been introduced to make sure you’ve authorised a payment and that someone isn’t using your bank account details or online banking fraudulently. This means you’ll need what’s called two-factor authentication to make a new bank transfer or to set up a standing order. Your bank will send you a verification code to your mobile or email address so double check the contact details they have for you are correct. You’ll then need to enter the verification code to authorise the online bank transfer.   

When using online banking, banks may also ask you to confirm what the payment is for, for example whether it’s for a friend or family member or to pay a bill or invoice. They’ll then post a warning about scammers and recommend that you double check the details are correct. You then might need to select that you understand the fraud risk and want to continue with the payment before the bank will send your online bank transfer.  

The details you need to receive money

If someone wants to transfer funds to your bank account, double check they have all the information listed above. There are no bank account details you’ll need to enter into online banking as all the details need to be submitted by the person making the payment to you.

Transferring money abroad

It can be tempting to send money abroad by bank transfer as it can be as simple to do as a domestic transfer via online banking. However, it’s well worth looking into faster and cheaper services like WorldFirst before exchanging foreign currency or transferring money through your bank. This is because banks usually charge a fee and international money transfers can take up to five days.

Pay like a local

  • Pay suppliers, partners and staff in 40 currencies
  • Send up to 200 payments in a single transaction to save time and money 
  • Open up to 10 local currency accounts, with local sort codes, account numbers and IBANs
  • Lock in conversion rates to manage your currency risk
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The details you need for an international bank transfer

International bank transfers are usually done through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) network. Each financial institution is assigned its own unique SWIFT code, so banks and other financial services can make secure international bank transfers through the SWIFT network. This SWIFT code is also known as a Business Identifier Code (BIC). 

As well as a SWIFT code/BIC you’ll need the International bank account number (IBAN) of the account you want to credit. Find out more about SWIFT codes and IBANs.   

So to summarise, the details you need for an international bank transfer are the payee’s 

  • Name or company name
  • IBAN
  • BIC – also known as a SWIFT code

You’ll also usually need to confirm the foreign currency you want the payment to be in and the country you’re sending it to. 

Transferring money to a business bank account

The details you’ll need to transfer money to a UK business bank account are the: 

  • Company name – or full name of the sole trader
  • 6-digit sort code
  • 8-digit account number

Some banks might ask you to confirm that you’re paying into a business rather than a personal account. For your own accounting records you might also want to note the business’s address and registered company number. 

A better way to pay 

WorldFirst's World Account is a fast alternative to bank transfers for business payments at a great exchange rate. Through our extensive payments network, we deliver international wire transfers at speed, with same-day availability on 97% of currency pairs actively traded through our online platform (cut off times apply).


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