better banking

Credit card balance transfer goes wrong with mistaken payment

10 Jan 2017

Ms W wanted to transfer her credit card balance from bank A to bank B.  When filling in a form at bank B to complete the transfer she entered the wrong bank account so the money was sent to another customer’s account (Ms L’s account) at bank A instead of Ms W’s credit card.    This meant Ms W now had a debt with both banks.

When Ms W realised she had made a mistake she contacted bank B.  It then contacted bank A asking it to contact Ms L to return Ms W’s money.  This is because as a general rule, banks can only reverse payments customers have made in error with the consent of the account holder who received them.  This usually involves the recipient’s bank contacting the account holder to ask their permission to reverse the transaction.  If the recipient refuses to return the money, the customer needs to resolve the issue directly with them.  

After a delay, bank A contacted Ms L to ask her to return the money but she declined to.  Bank A passed this on to bank B and said there was nothing more it could do.  Bank A made an offer to Ms W as it believed it could have been quicker contacting Ms L.

Ms W complained as she believed bank A’s delay in contacting Ms L was the reason the money hadn’t been returned.  We felt bank A could have contacted Ms W sooner and communicated with her better.  But we couldn’t say the bank’s delay in contacting Ms L was why the money wasn’t returned.  We asked bank A to reconsider its offer to Ms W.  It then offered to reduce Ms W’s debt with it by $650. 

Ms W accepted bank A’s offer. 

See our Quick Guide on Mistaken payments for more information about what to do.