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What time do bank transfers go through on weekends?

Despite most of the banking and payments industry embracing the digital world we live in, there are still some things that move at a slower, more traditional pace.

That includes payment processing at certain times throughout the calendar. Do banks process payments on weekends? Continue reading to find out.


Banks have embraced Faster Payments

Previously, banking would slow down at the weekend but not anymore. Prior to the digital revolution taking over the modern world, banks wouldn’t normally process payments over the weekends.

However, with the introduction of Faster Payments and online banking apps on smartphones and tablets, people are now able to move money around freely within the UK with instant results. As long as the recipient of your bank transfer also has access to Faster Payments from their bank, they will receive the money in minutes rather than hours or days, as was previously the case.

So it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is, with Faster Payments, online banking and processing is quicker than ever.


How do Faster Payments work?

Faster Payments allow customers of certain banks or building societies to make quicker online payments or transfers over the phone or online. Funds can be transferred almost immediately and usually within a couple of hours, rather than days.

Banks and building societies operating the Faster Payments service can process payments and transfers 24 hours a day, any day of the week, including weekends and Bank Holidays.

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What can’t banks process over the weekend?

Standing Orders and Direct Debits, unfortunately, do not fall under the Faster Payments umbrella. If you have a bill to pay that’s either a Direct Debit or standing order over a weekend, the likelihood is that your bank will remove the funds from your account - or add them - on the next working day, which is typically the following Monday.

In the case of Bank Holidays, the funds will generally be cleared on Tuesday, unless during the festive season when, on occasion, Christmas and Boxing Day can fall on a weekend. In this instance, the next working day is likely to be Wednesday.

In a similar vein, salary payments also can’t be processed at the weekend. However, they are different from Direct Debits and Standing Orders in that, typically, you’ll receive your salary payment on the last working day before the weekend, so Friday.

This is because payments like salary payments can be made earlier at the company's discretion. However, Direct Debits are prohibited from early collection and must be taken on or immediately after the expected date. This is a mandatory BACS rule and must be included in your advance notices.

Standing Orders are automated so changing the payment date is possible but you'd have to do it yourself and then change it back the following month. Is it worth it? Most people think not and just let it go a day or two later when it hits a bank holiday or weekend.


Is there any particular reason why a payment may take a while?

Despite having Faster Payments throughout the UK banking industry, some payments can actually take a little longer than expected. It’s rare in 2022 but banks can often hold onto funds as they do their due diligence over the financial movements, especially if they’re large amounts, or in some way suspicious like multiple small transfers in quick succession.

If you feel like your payment has taken longer than expected to reach its intended recipient, you should contact your bank to seek reassurance and find out the reason for the delay.


International bank transfers

While transferring money between accounts in the UK is pretty straightforward and almost instantaneous, sending money to another country has its own set of rules and timescales. Unfortunately, transferring money abroad can take between one and five working days. So plan ahead if you intend to send money before the end of the working week, as the weekend will only extend the amount of time it takes to process the transfer.


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