We can consider complaints about banks making mistakes when they process payments. This includes wrongly delaying or failing to make a payment, repeating payments, or giving the wrong information about payments. We don’t have the power to set rules about how banks process payments.
Electronic payments to accounts at the same bank happen straight away. Those to accounts at most other banks will happen on the same day, and the exact time of the day will depend on the bank. Payments between banks consist of the following steps:
- A customer instructs his or her bank (the sending bank) to make a payment.
- The sending bank checks the customer has enough money in the account for the payment.
- The sending bank prepares an electronic file, along with other transactions, for the bank whose customer is receiving the payment. This collection of individual transactions is called a "batch".
- The sending bank forwards the batch to the Reserve Bank, which transfers the value of the batch between the sending and receiving banks’ accounts at the Reserve Bank. This is called "settlement".
- Once settlement is complete, the Reserve Bank forwards the batch to the receiving bank. This is called "interchange".
- The receiving bank credits the payment to its customer’s account.
Most banks now process payments to accounts at other banks every day (as of May 2023), including weekends and public holidays. Banks batch and process payments frequently each day. This gives customers fast access to deposits made into their accounts and means banks are likely to take the money for scheduled or future-dated electronic payments earlier in the day. Make sure you have funds available if a future payment falls on a weekend or public holiday.
If such payments aren’t successful the first time because there isn’t enough money in an account, a bank may try again later in the day. This could incur a fee, so be sure to check you have enough money available. Also check that your bank does try a second time. Some don’t.
High value transactions and foreign exchange payments to and from other countries are processed on business days only.
If you set up a payment late in the day, the bank will generally send your payment the next day. Banks stop sending payments at a certain time each night so they can update your account and transaction information. Cut-off times depend on the payment type and can vary bank to bank. Check with your bank.
Once you set up and confirm a payment, your bank will take the money from your account and put it into a batch to await processing. This immediately reduces the available balance in your account. If your account pays interest, you will usually continue to earn interest until the batch is sent to the receiving bank for processing to the recipient’s account. The amount of interest may depend on the timing of processing.
Most banks now process payments to and from other banks 365 days a year.
Processing delay didn't entitle customer to clean out account
Jordan used his debit card to pay a courier fee. A month later, the transaction was processed and charged to his account. Jordan's account didn't have enough money in it, and he went into unarranged overdraft. Jordan complained that the bank caused the delayed processing of the transaction and then charged fees on an overdraft that wasn’t his fault. He wanted the bank to correct his transaction records and reverse the fees.CASE 2
Close of business extends beyond 5pm
Ali had a savings account that would earn her bonus interest, regardless of withdrawals, as long as the account balance was higher at the end of the month than at the start. Ali wanted to withdraw a large amount and looked on her bank’s website for withdrawal information.CASE 3
Preferred method had potential for late payment
Ravi cleared his credit card each month on the due date by the "bill payment" method. Under this method, the transaction wasn't processed straightaway and the bank didn't receive the money until the next business day. Since this was after the due date, the bank charged a late payment fee and interest.
A direct debit authority gives an individual or company permission to take funds directly from your bank account. A typical example is when you arrange a direct debit with your power or telecommunications company so your monthly bill is automatically paid from your account.
To set up a direct debit, you complete a direct debit authority form from the company (which is then called a direct debit i…
The following information outlines the process for foreign cheque clearance, if your bank can deposit them.
Please see our quick guide on Payment Methods
ClearanceBanks clear foreign currency cheques in one of two ways.
By negotiationThe bank converts the foreign cheque into New Zealand dollars (using that day’s exchange rate) and deposits the money into the customer’s account. In doing so, the…
SecurityWhen entering your PIN, shield your hand from view so people around you can't see it. This reduces the chance of somebody "shoulder surfing" your PIN and using your card fraudulently. Some ATMs have built-in security features to protect customers from fraud. You won't be held responsible for fraudulent use of your card as long as you take reasonable care when using an ATM.
Fees and charge…
Updated May 2023