If you live in Britain, then you may well wonder from time to time – do bank transfers go through on weekends in the UK?
In the past, banking took place strictly within set hours and only on working days – that’s the reason public holidays here in the UK are known as bank holidays.
When the bank was closed, you could access your money via an ATM or pay for items with your card, but you couldn’t receive or send any bank transfers.
Over the past couple of decades there has been a huge rise in online banking, which has seen more and more people managing their finances from their computer, tablet or smartphone.
Due to the lack of demand (or so the banks say), many banks have closed a number of their high street branches.
So what’s the story now? Do bank transfers go through on weekends here in the UK, and how does this affect payments you may make or receive?
This guide will give you all the information you need to find out when you can expect money to arrive at its destination.
Continue reading to find out all about bank transfers – whether you’re sending or expecting money on working weekdays, during a Saturday or Sunday, or when there’s a bank holiday.
So Do Bank Transfers Go Through on Weekends in the UK?
The short answer to this question is – it depends on who you bank with.
This is because different systems are used to transfer money, and the system used by the bank you’re signed up with will determine how quickly you can send and receive money.
A service that has speeded up UK bank transfers considerably is the Faster Payments system. This was set up to improve the accuracy, convenience and safety of bank transactions – as well as the speed.
How it works is simple: each payment is sent and received far more quickly than ever before.
The customer sending the payment will request this from their bank online or by phone, and once the security checks are complete – and if there are sufficient funds – the money will be sent to the recipient’s bank account as per the details given by the customer making the payment.
How quickly the receiving customer can see and access this money in their account varies according to whether or not their bank is signed up with Faster Payments.
A limit if £250,000 per transaction is set by Faster Payments, though each bank may set their own threshold to be lower than this.
In fact all bank transfers work in this way. The difference when using Faster Payments is that the whole process takes seconds rather than minutes, hours or even days.
This even applies to international payments made via organisations like Wise.
While it’s normally almost instantaneous, the transfer can take up to two hours to complete. Where these exist, Faster Payments may also be made via banks’ self-service machines.
Which banks use Faster Payments?
UK banks that are signed up to the Faster Payments system include Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, Nationwide, NatWest, Santander, TSB and more.
You can find a full and up-to-date list here – just look for a tick in the ‘Faster Payment System’ column.
BACS is an acronym for Bankers’ Automated Clearing System.
Many UK banks are signed up to the BACS system, and may use this as well as or instead of Faster Payments.
BACS is an electronic transfer system that can send payments straight from one bank account to another.
This system is chiefly used for Direct Debit and Direct Credit payments to and from accounts – such as those belonging to organisations that your household bills are paid to.
BACS payments take 3 working days to clear, which means you may not see or be able to spend the money for several days.
When a bank transfer is made using BACS, it will not therefore go through at the weekend. A payment made on a Friday may not be available as cleared funds until Wednesday – or Thursday in the case of a bank holiday weekend.
Which banks use BACS?
The BACS system is used by a variety of UK banks. Some use it instead of Faster Payments or CHAPS, or as well as.
The Bank of England, for instance, uses BACS but not Faster Payments, and the same applies to the Bank of Scotland. Many major banks use both.
Find out about your bank by checking the ‘BACS Payment System’ column here.
CHAPS stands for Clearing House Automated Payment System.
Payments made by CHAPS can go through a lot quicker than those made via BACS.
When the money is paid from and to a UK bank account, it is guaranteed to arrive in the recipient’s account on the same day – as long as it is a working day. This is also subject to time limits.
CHAPS payments must be set up by the time specified by your bank, and this may vary from one to another. Barclays, for example, requires CHAPS payments to be arranged online by 5pm.
Only their business customers can order these by phone before 3.30pm. In-branch, the 3.30pm deadline also applies.
CHAPS transfers that are set up after this time limit will be processed on the next working day.
This also applies when payments are arranged during a weekend or bank holiday.
As with all transfers, delays can occur when the bank needs to verify facts with the customer or complete extra security checks.
CHAPS is often the preferred system for high-value transactions, such as putting down a deposit on a property or buying in bulk from a wholesaler.
When is the CHAPS payment system open?
The Bank of England has overall responsibility for the CHAPS system, and it normally operates between 6am and 6pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).
Bank transfers at weekends: Summary
If you want to know if a bank transfer you plan to make or expect to receive will go through the same day, it’s best to check which system your bank is signed up with. You can do that via We Are Pay.
The quickest system is Faster Payments, followed by CHAPS. The latter tends to be used for large sums rather than everyday banking.
BACS is slower, and can take up to three working days to reach your account as cleared funds you can access.