What To Do If You Transfer Money To A Wrong Account?

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) says the responsibility to provide correct inputs, particularly the beneficiary account number information, rests with the remitter/originator. 

Outlook Money
October 23, 2023
Money Transfer To Wrong Bank Account

Money Transfer To Wrong Bank Account

You could face a harrowing time retrieving the money if you have accidentally sent it to the wrong account. So, make sure you provide the correct details while transferring money.


In a recent incident, a 67-year-old from Latur, Maharashtra, was surprised when he received more than what he expected from a post office fixed deposit scheme on maturity.

Shrikant Jagannathrao Joshi received Rs 2,64,777 instead of Rs 1,63,777 by mistake, PTI reported on October 22. Joshi, however, immediately informed the post office about it.

“Joshi promptly called up his post office agent and returned the excess amount, which was greatly appreciated by the staff here,” PTI reported a post office official as saying.

In this case, it was the post office’s mistake, so the problem was resolved easily. But what if the mistake would have happened at the customer’s end? Fortunately, some of the existing rules actually help minimise the impact to a great extent from such an incident. For instance, the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) has a limit of Rs 1 lakh per transaction. Also, the recipient must be a registered UPI user. For those who do not have UPI or want to transfer a higher amount, they will need to do it through RTGS, ECS, etc.

Here’s what you can do if you accidentally transfer money to the wrong or non-existent account:

Money Transferred To Wrong Accounts

There could be two scenarios: If the account number does not exist, the transaction will be incomplete, and the money will be returned. However, the transaction will be complete if the account number does exist. So, the sender must ensure the account number is correct before transferring the money.

Inform The Bank

The sender must inform the bank about the transaction immediately by calling customer care or visiting the branch. If the beneficiary/receiver account is in the same bank, it takes less time to retrieve the money back as the bank will have all the details of the receiver’s account. The bank may also provide the beneficiary details so the sender can check with the beneficiary directly to request a refund.

Inform The Beneficiary Bank

Retrieving the money may take longer if the beneficiary’s account is in a different bank. In that case, the sender’s bank may provide details of the bank and branch where the money has been transferred, and the sender can directly approach the beneficiary’s bank.

The sender can visit the receiver’s bank branch, inform them, and give a written request to return the amount, showing proof that the money was transferred mistakenly to the beneficiary (screenshot of the transaction, bank account details, etc.). The bank will communicate with the beneficiary and ask to permit a debit of the wrongly transferred amount from the account. If the recipient (beneficiary) allows the transaction, the sender will get the money back.

On the other hand, recovering money could be challenging if the receiver has used the amount or refuses to return it. In that case, one may be required to take legal action. However, this is rare. Generally, when a bank informs the beneficiaries about the wrong credit, they permit the transaction reversal.

Note that the bank cannot transfer the amount from the receiver’s account until the accountholder permits it. So, writing the correct account number while remitting money to anybody is a matter of great caution.

What Does RBI Say?

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) says, “Responsibility to provide correct inputs in the payment instructions, particularly the beneficiary account number information, rests with the remitter/originator. While the beneficiary’s name shall be compulsorily mentioned in the instruction request and carried as part of the funds transfer message, reliance will be only on the account number for the purpose of affording credit.”

Its notification further says that “Banks should put suitable disclaimers on the funds transfer screens in the online/internet banking platform, and funds transfer request forms advising customers that credit will be effected based solely on the beneficiary account number information and the beneficiary name particulars will not be used therefor”.

Additionally, RBI’s notification says, “For transactions requested at branches, the originating bank shall put in place a maker-checker process with one employee expected to input the transaction and the other checking the input.”

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