If you’ve ever transferred money from one UK bank account to another, it’s very likely that the payment was facilitated by the Faster Payments Service (FPS). Faster Payments is a very common way of making fast and reliable payments in the UK. In this guide we’ll talk about Faster Payments and explain how it works.

What is Faster Payments?

Faster Payments is a way of sending money electronically in the UK. Faster Payments is operated by Pay.UK, the company that’s also responsible for facilitating Bacs payments and the Current Account Switch Service, among other things.

Faster Payments was launched in 2008 as an initiative to help enable mobile, internet, telephone and standing order payments to move quickly and securely between UK bank accounts, 24 hours a day. Since then, Faster Payments has reached record-breaking numbers with over 2.9 billion payments being processed in 2020.

How does Faster Payments work?

Faster Payments generally works via the methods you would normally use to make a bank transfer, be it through a banking app, online banking portal or an in-branch visit. One thing to keep in mind is that not all banks and building societies are direct participants of the Faster Payments service. More on that later.

How long do Faster Payments take?

The name says it all. Faster Payments are... fast. If both the sending and receiving bank are direct participants of Faster Payments, then the payment should arrive in the recipient’s bank account instantly, or within a couple of minutes. Sometimes Faster Payments can take up to two hours to arrive, but this is uncommon.

What is the Faster Payments limit?

Generally, the Faster Payment Services can facilitate individual payments of up to £250,000. However, each bank and building society will set its own transaction limits depending on the type of account. By default, Starling’s Faster Payments limit is £25,000 for both current accounts and business accounts. However, if you do need to transfer a larger sum, we’ll be able to help you. Find out how in our blog post on high-value payments.

What are the different types of Faster Payments?

There are four different types of Faster Payments. These are:

  • Single Immediate Payments
  • Forward-dated Payments
  • Standing Orders
  • Direct Corporate Access

Single immediate payments are typically one-off payments made via mobile or online banking (or by visiting a branch). This type of payment is the most common and can be made 24 hours a day.

Forward-dated payments are also one-off payments but, they’re sent and received on a pre-arranged date, for example, to pay a bill. These can be sent around the clock, but bear in mind that some organisations only process payments on working days.

Standing orders are also a pre-arranged payments where both the amount and date are fixed. These are also typically used for expenses, such as bills and rent. Payments by standing order can usually only be made on weekdays, and if the pre-arranged date falls on a weekend, the payment will be made on the following working day.

At Starling, we have our own version of standing orders, which we call ‘scheduled payments’. This allows us to process payments 24/7, even if the payment date falls on a weekend.

Direct corporate access payments are designed for businesses. These allow businesses to send payment messages in bulk to Faster Payments.

Which banks are direct participants of Faster Payments?

According to Faster Payments’ website, almost any bank in the UK can receive Faster Payments. However, some banks, building societies and financial services companies are direct participants of the Faster Payments Service, which means that these connect directly to the service, without the need for a third-party sponsor.

Directly connected participants of Faster Payments are:

  • The Access Bank UK
  • Atom Bank
  • Barclays
  • BFC Bank
  • Citi
  • Clear Bank
  • Clydesdale Bank
  • The co-operative Bank
  • CreDec
  • Danske Bank
  • Ebury
  • Elavon
  • HSBC
  • LHV
  • Lloyds Bank
  • Metro Bank
  • Modulr
  • Monzo
  • Nationwide
  • NatWest
  • PayrNet
  • Prepay Solutions
  • Revolut
  • Santander
  • Equals Money
  • Square
  • Starling Bank
  • Tandem
  • Wise
  • TSB
  • Turkish Bank UK
  • Virgin Money

You can use our sort code checker to easily verify if a bank can receive Faster Payments.

Is Faster Payments the same as a bank transfer?

Yes, Faster Payments is a type of bank transfer and the two terms are often used interchangeably. Other types of bank transfers include Bacs and CHAPS.

Other resources

Bank accounts explained: Sort code and account number

What are IBAN, SWIFT and BIC?

What is Bacs? A guide to Bacs payments

Interest rates: What are APR, EAR and AER?

What is CHAPS? CHAPS payments explained