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 one of the ways you can send money electronically in the UK. It’s a real time payments system, which means that any money sent is received in near real time.

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.

Before Faster Payments, funds would take approximately 3 days to move between bank accounts. The system is operated by Pay.UK, the company that’s also responsible for facilitating Bacs payments and the Current Account Switch Service, among other things.

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.

How long do Faster Payments take?

The name says it all. Faster Payments are... fast. Payments usually 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?

The Faster Payments scheme has a £1,000,000 per transaction limit. For Starling customers, payment limits apply to your personal account. You can process payments in the app, and should we need any further information to approve the payment, we’ll get back in touch with you in-app. In some circumstances, you may be asked to provide some evidence regarding your payment.

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. 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 set up in advance and sent and received on a pre-arranged date. The most common example is a direct debit to pay a mobile telephone bill. These can be sent around the clock, but bear in mind that some organisations only will process payments on working days.

Standing orders are 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. These payment types are not supported at Starling Bank.

However, authorised Payment Services Providers can apply to have indirect access to Faster Payments through Starling Banking Services. Our dedicated webpage provides further information on the services available.

Which banks are direct participants of Faster Payments?

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. Starling is a direct participant of FPS.

Directly connected participants of Faster Payments are:

  • The Access Bank UK
  • Atom Bank
  • Barclays
  • BFC Bank
  • Cashplus
  • Citi
  • Clear Bank
  • Clydesdale Bank
  • The co-operative Bank
  • CreDec
  • Danske Bank
  • Ebury
  • Elavon
  • HSBC
  • JP Morgan
  • LHV
  • Lloyds Bank
  • Metro Bank
  • Mettle
  • Modulr
  • Monzo
  • Nationwide
  • NatWest
  • PayrNet
  • PPS
  • Prepaid Financial Services
  • Revolut
  • Santander
  • Equals Money
  • Square
  • Starling Bank
  • Tandem
  • Tesco Bank
  • 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

What are Direct Debits and standing orders

Understanding bank statements

Guide to cheques

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