Happy (11 Months) Birthday Faster Payments Service

It’s been (almost) a whole year since the banks pulled their heads part of the way out of their backsides and snazzed up the bank-to-bank transfer system. Since forever, customers had to wait three working days to move their money from one bank to another, presumably while the cash itself physically travelled on the backs of blind mice via a secret network of underground tunnels from your bank to theirs.

But in these modern days of computers and that, the idea that it should take three working days to move a couple of quid from Bank A to Bank B is utterly ridiculous. Especially when the paid-for CHAPS method proved it could be done. Which is where the FPS (Faster Payments Service) comes in.

It launched on May 27th 2008 but at this point in time, it’s far from perfect and some major banks still aren’t participating – this Wikipedia table gives you an idea of who is playing the game and who is standing in the corner by the gate, picking their noses and staring at their shoes.

You can find out if the account you’re sending money to is part of the scheme using this sort code checker but it doesn’t tell you about the limitations that each individual bank has in place. This writer tried to transfer £500 from Smile to the HSBC yesterday morning – almost 30 hours later and there’s still no sign of it arriving in the HSBC account (further research revealed the fact that Smile seems to have a £100 FPS transfer limit – bastards.)

What have your experiences of FPS been over the past 12 11 months? Or, for that matter, did you even know it had been launched? Do you trust it to deliver your money on the same day or would you still rather give three working days for the blind mice to do their work? Fill in the little box below with your thoughts and feelings.


  • jacvkdbuk
    i knew this system has been rolled out, but it hasnt happened once for me, i checked the sort code thing and can accept fast payments... does this system cost more or something?
  • Mike H.
    What will happen to all the blind mice? Are they going to be made redundant, or given steroids to increase the speed of transfer?
  • Andy D.
    @jacvkdbuk - it's supposedly free for personal customers, but I believe that some banks levy a small charge to customers with business accounts.
  • Rob L.
    Err.. am I missing something, or am I stuck in a timewarp? - did it launch on 27th May or 27th April last year?
  • Kev H.
    I have used this system on a couple of occasions, having an Alliance and Leicester account and a HSBC - transferring money between them now happens instantly, and the best thing of all is I don't have to do anything different, just use online banking as normal. I think it's the best thing since sliced bread. Prior to this system occasionally money wouldn't show as being transferred instantly even between Alliance & Leicester accounts, both of which are held by me - unbelievable!! Good riddance to blind mice.
  • Andy D.
    @Rob - erm, it's May now isn't it? No? Oh bugger. That's not good. Story altered. Tell you what though, it's a bloomin' exclusive. You know, being a month early and everything... ;-)
  • Rob L.
    Hehe - I was seriously worried for a second there - had me counting months and everything, praying I hadn't just made a complete arse of myself.
  • Pook
    Got a letter through from Clydesdale bank yesterday suggesting they're going to do fast transfers in the near future. Bless.
  • Jill
    When I transfer money between HSBC and Alliance and Leicester, the payments always go through instantly (its in the other account before I get a chance to log into it)
  • Phil S.
    I get annoyed with the Faster Payments system because A&L, Barclays and Co-Op (who my partner and I bank with) don't tell you on their website whether the payment you are making will be fast, or not. They don't seem to publish the transaction limits anywhere obvious. The Wikipedia article on it is useful, but it's Wikipedia and never 100% trustworthy...
  • Kev
    Nearly two years down the line and the Faster Payment system is a farce. I have lived in Spain for over three years and we have our income sent to us by currency exchange companies, so our UK sterling income is sent to our Spanish (euro) account. Our bank, Smile, does not honour the Faster Payment system, although it claims to on their website (for transfers up to £2,500). When questioned, they simply say "We cannot guarantee that a payment will be transferred using the new system, even if the receiving account supports it." It now takes longer for our money to reach us than it did three years ago - now, it takes a week just to get the money to the currency exchange company in the UK! Then there's another 3 -4 days to get the euros in our local account, but as we're talking working days here it's the best part of 2 weeks. Previously, it had managed it in 5 days, but hey, this is progress....

What do you think?

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