2020-07-16

Account switching (Barclays to Monzo)

As you almost certainly know, there is an "account switching service" which UK banks use. I had never used it before.

TL;DR: Switching works, but it seems Barclays "mess about" for a whole day, losing details of payments and even losing credits down the cracks - yes, money just going missing!!!

Why have I not used it before? well, I have accounts with several banks, and there is really no reason to close an "old" account at any point, especially given the hassle it is to open most bank accounts (Monzo and Starling being obvious exceptions). So why would I "switch"? I can simply start using a new account for some things, simples. I appreciate that some people can't do that quite as easily.

The switching does several things - moving over your Direct Debits, and Standing Orders, transferring the old balance over, and closing the old account. Importantly any credits to the old account are forwarded to the new account.

I was interested in the mechanics of the process. I know from dealing with BACS and Direct Debits that there is a method to advise when an account has changed. As a Direct Debit originator we get told if someone changes their bank account and we are required to update the Direct Debit details. We also get told if we send money to a closed account that we used the wrong details (the money is forwarded).

I would hope there is a process for Fast Payments in the same way...

So here goes...

Setting it up (on Monzo)

Monzo make it easy - they have a button with a simple step by step guide. But there is a snag - the step by step instructions say you need last 5 digits of a debit card on the account. Hmm, the account in question did not have a debit card, so I had to order one from Barclays and wait for it to arrive. However, when I then continued with the process it DOES NOT ask for the card digits because I was moving a business account not a domestic one. I have fed back to Monzo.

I had to confirm the Barclays account, name, and address, and agree some terms, and that was it. Simple. It is then set for 8 days later.

Notifications


Monzo immediately did an in app notice saying it was started, a couple of days later another saying they had confirmation from Barclays, and then on the day a notice saying it was done.

Barclays posted a letter saying I was transferring.

All very slick.

On the day


I was curious as to the timing. Banks (traditional banks) tend to work on banking days. So I expected that it would be everything on 13th (the day before) would be normal, then everything dated 14th would be on new account, with closing balance on 13th being the amount transferred to my new account. To my surprise that was not quite the case.

Barclays were a bit odd, they said they would send printed statements, but that if I had another account and continued access to on-line banking that I would be able to see on there and that they would not send a statement. On the 13th they charged me for sending statements (not checked at office if they did). This was slightly devious as I had cleared the account to £0.00. This unexpected charge would make it overdrawn if I had not checked, and break the switch somehow.

07:09 I sent a £1 fast payment from a Lloyds account to the Barclays account. It arrived as normal, showed on the Barclays on-line banking. So I transferred out leaving £0.00 still. So the switch had not happened yet.

09:00 Monzo popped up and said switch done. So I checked Barclays, and account no longer showing. Seems the switch happens at 9am. Would have been good to know to be honest. It was lucky I had downloaded the CSV for previous day from Barclays before 9am, as I could not after 9am.

10:08 I sent another £1 fast payment. It went, and vanished!

15:34 I get a transfer to Monzo, not with the details of the fast payment I sent, but cryptically BFA ACC SWITCH GLOS reference  RESIDUAL BALANCE from account 20-33-83 88010803...

So I assume Barclays idea of when the switch was done, is not quite the same...

16:41 I send another £1, and to my surprise it is not immediately sent to Monzo. It has vanished!

Also, to my surprise, the Fast Payment process has not updated the payee details. Does it lack the simple "wrong account" logic that exists in BACS? That would be really silly, surely? I suppose, as a stretch, the BACS AWACS system is used to update, and so will happen in a day or two.

I emailed my Barclays account manager, and she said "it takes a day to switch" and that it will be all OK tomorrow... Hmm...

Next day


Still no sign of the missing £1.

A download CSV all accounts download from Barclays DOES NOT INCLUDE the old account, so I don't have the transaction on the day of transfer - that is a tad annoying!

08:52 I sent £1.15 from Lloyds to Barclays, and ka-ching, Monzo showed the payment instantly. Monzo shows correct sender sort code and account (i.e. not the Barclays one) and the correct reference. This is working nicely.

The bank details on my Lloyds account have not updated. So looks like fast payment does not have a "push back" to advise the new details. Maybe it uses BACS AWAS, in which case it will be a day or two, so I'll check.

The day after


I checked my Lloyds account, and now the details shown have magically changed to the new account. I assume this was BACS AWACS, but it works. Yay!

Issues


  • It is unclear why Barclays "mess about" for a whole day - surely they could simply set a time, such as 9am, transfer the balance at that time, and relay all payments after that time. It is messy.
  • Whilst a payment in the morning did arrive later as a "residual balance" there are no details. I assume if I had several payments in the morning I would not have seen any details of them, or even how many payments, just a balance. That is crazy. It is fortunate we already had most customers using the new account.
  • The payment in the afternoon is missing still! I will wait and see if it turns up. Of course, customers could have also paid us in the afternoon and also be missing. Very worrying!
  • Of course, I could only download CSVs of my Barclays accounts to the day before, and only because I checked before 9am, so no way to get a CSV of transactions on the day of the switch - also crazy.
My account manager at Barclays says it is the same for all banks - which I doubt. Has anyone else done a bank switch and can they confirm if they have the same fiasco for transactions on the day?

I'll update if I hear any more of the missing £1. I half expected it to arrive 15:30 on 15th, but no, it had just vanished in to thin air. Scary stuff.

Update: After 2 days of nagging my account manager, they say they have found the £1 and sent it to me. However, it has not turned up, even allowing for 2 day BACS (why would they do that anyway), so still chasing. Worrying.

Update: After more chasing, 15:34, 3 days later, they fast payment me the missing £1. Finally.

7 comments:

  1. Reverend, are you comfortable relying on only a smartphone app for your banking?

    For trendy startup banks, I am surprised that none(?) of them seem to offer 'online banking' in the traditional sense - i.e. via a web browser.

    Personally I prefer to manage my current account the way I manage all my other finances - in a browser on a proper computer. Not on a fiddly little smartphone screen on a separate device. Just my two pence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fair point, but mostly I am relying on the API they provide, not the app.

      Delete
    2. https://web.monzo.com/ lets you do basic bits..

      Delete
  2. I find how quickly the payee details update after sending an FPS transaction depends on the bank - with Starling and Nationwide I've seen them update immediately.

    TSB, on the other hand, don't update them at all - they send you a letter saying that the payee has switched your account and you need to update it manually. They don't give you the new bank account details in the letter, they tell you to ask the recepient!

    Recently switched from a HSBC account, they had the same first day weirdness as Barclays, but didn't lose any payments (as far as I know).

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had similar weird things (though not, to my knowledge, any missing payments) when switching from Natwest.

    I forget the details, but it was something along the lines of they transferred the whole balance except for £3. Then charged next months account fee. Then refunded part of it. Then transferred remaining £2 the next day with the 'residual balance' thing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What would have happened if you had not known about the £1 ? What if it was £1,000 from a customer, but you did not know the customer had sent it. Would Barclays ever have noticed it and forwarded it?

    ReplyDelete
  5. I did one from Alliance and Leicester years ago.. instead of transferring they cancelled half the direct debits and standing orders.. first thing I knew I was getting letters and phone calls from people wondering how they were going to be paid. That was a mess to sort out.

    Every transfer since I've done manually. 90% of companies these days you can do it online and the rest are amenable to a letter.

    ReplyDelete

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