UK credit card payment checker tool updated

By Uk CreditCards.com

Debit and credit card customers in the UK have received a boost this week with the news that the Payments Council has revamped its Sort Code Checker online tool. The move is designed to make it easier for consumers to make different types of payments into bank accounts. So what are the main changes?

Faster payments
The tool was originally launched in May 2008 to coincide with the new Faster Payments Service, an initiative that has seen payment times between accounts at different banks reduced from three working days to near-real-time. Britons were informed that, by using the checker, they could see if the account they wanted to transfer money to was registered with the new service.

Prior to the Faster Payment Service, the main payment options were Bacs (three working days), paper credits, writing a cheque or Chaps, a same business day service. However, they were not covered by the checker, which contains all of the UK's 20,000 sort codes, until now.

Avoid unnecessary delays
The Payments Council decided to extend the scope of the checker as it has been extremely well received by the banking industry and now generates about 4,000 hits per day. Gary Cook, payments integrity executive at the body, explained that the move should simplify the bank transfer process for consumers.

"This improved checker provides a very simple way for someone to check whether an account is set up to accept a Faster Payment, Chaps payment or Bacs payment," he said. "As more of us are making payments online or on the phone it provides a very easy way of avoiding unnecessary delays. The Sort Code Checker strips out the element of chance because it quickly confirms to users what forms of payment are at their disposal."

Leaving nothing to chance
As part of the extension, the Payments Council has also confirmed that customers will now be able to see if an account allows a Direct Debit instruction to be established and if a cheque or paper credit can be paid in through the clearings. The checker is regularly updated and will be particularly useful for businesses, which can ensure that there are no delays to payments or the validation of new customers' debit or credit card details.

"The Sort Code Checker strips out the element of chance because it quickly confirms to users what forms of payment are at their disposal," Mr Cook concluded.

Published: 26 March 2010