How Can I Get My Money Back from a Bank Transfer

can i get my money back from a bank transfer

A bank account is a special arrangement you get from a bank to deposit and spend your money. Again, a bank account allows you to transfer money to other recipients of either your bank or other banks. But can I get my money back from a bank transfer if I send the funds to the wrong recipient? Well, this is the topic I want to handle today and show you the possibilities of getting your hard-earned money back when you transfer to the wrong recipient.

It is very disappointing to learn that you did not transfer money to the intended person. Most people are not honest, and as soon as they get a notification that they have received money from someone, they rush to withdraw immediately. By the time you start taking action to get your money back, then it is too late. However, there are still good people on this earth, and some people will leave the funds for you to reverse, or they can even reverse upon request. 

Most banks and especially online banks, always prompt you to confirm your transaction details. Here, you should confirm the amount of money you intend to transfer and the recipient’s details, such as the full names and the account number. Some banks allow instant transfers, and if you hit confirm, funds move immediately to the recipient. Therefore, you cannot cancel such a transaction.

How do I send money using a bank account?

There are four main ways you can send money to someone else using a bank account. They include the following.

i) Use their contact details

You can send money online to someone using their phone number or email address. This is possible when using the Zelle app. The Zelle app allows you to transfer money instantly to recipients using Zelle as well.  You can also send money to someone, not on Zelle, but they have to follow the guidelines sent to them to claim their funds. You should only use Zelle with people you trust, such as friends and family members. Zelle transfers are instant, and recipients get the money within minutes.

Furthermore, you can use Zelle without a bank account. If your bank does not support Zelle services, you can use the stand-alone app to receive and transfer money. Therefore, the app offers a solution to send money to someone without a bank account. Interestingly, Zelle transfers are free whether using the Zelle app or online banking.

ii) Use their account number

You can use the recipient’s account number to transfer funds into their bank account. If the person is from a different branch from yours, you should include their routing number. A routing number, also called transit or ABA routing number, helps to identify the bank, branch, and location.

You can get your account and routing numbers from your bank’s website or your online banking app. Check also contains routing and account numbers.

Transfers within the same bank happen immediately or within minutes, while transfers across banks may take up to 5 days to complete. In short, you should expect the transaction to complete within 2-5 days. Some banks charge fees when transferring money. You should be aware of the fees involved when moving money for proper calculations. 

iii) Write a check

You can transfer money to someone else using a check. You can request your bank to write the recipient a check by providing the necessary details. Not everyone would like to deal with electronic money since others may be illiterate or unwilling to operate their bank accounts online. When they receive the checks, they can cash them out at the bank or use their mobile money apps.

You can either send the cashier’s check or the regular check. The cashier’s check allows recipients to cash their money immediately, while the regular checks may take several days for the money to reflect in the recipient’s account.

Check transfers may attract some fees depending on your bank as well as the recipient’s bank. The delivery time of the check may vary depending on the recipient’s location and thus affects the time one gets the money.

iv) Set up a wire transfer

Wire transfers help you to transfer large amounts of money. The transfer method is very effective when transferring money to international recipients. You can perform a wire transfer online with your bank or a money transfer company such as TransferWise and Western Union. You can even make a call to your bank to request for wire transfer and provide the necessary details to get started.

Wire transfers can take a day or less to complete. Most banks and Wire transfer companies charge some fees for the service, although others may charge nothing depending on the type of bank account you hold. When transferring money outside the US, the cost is usually high.

How can I get my money back from a bank transfer?

can i get my money back from a bank transfer

There are various ways you can get your money back once you send it to the wrong recipient or if you send it accidentally. These include the following.

1) Cancel a transaction

When you transfer money from one bank to another online, the transaction can stay pending for some time. At this time, most banks will allow you to cancel the transaction and get your money back to your account. However, just as I mentioned earlier, most transfers within the same bank are instant, and you may not be able to cancel the transaction once you authorize it.

2) Request the recipient to send back your money

You can call, text, or email the recipient if you send money to them by mistake and tell them to send it back to you. Some banks may be able to reverse the transaction but under the authority of the recipient. If there is a need, the recipient’s bank may freeze the recipient’s bank account to handle the case.  

3) Follow the legal process

If you transfer money to the wrong recipient and they refuse to return it to you, that is not the end. You can still take a legal suit to get your money back. You can file a case against the recipient, and they can be arrested, prosecuted, and forced to pay you your money.

However, the legal process should be the last option due to the lengthy procedure you have to follow. Furthermore, you may spend more money on the case than what you are trying to recover.

How to avoid making mistakes when sending money

You can save yourself from the pressure of following up on funds sent to the wrong person by being very keen when performing a transfer. The following are the ways you can use to avoid transferring money to the wrong recipient.

1. Confirm the transfer details

When sending money, you need the recipient’s details, such as their account number, phone number, or email address. It is crucial to always confirm the details before hitting the confirm button. If possible, you can call them to confirm the information once more before submitting an online transfer request to your bank. Doing things in haste will only haunt you back and put you in a regrettable situation. Always double-check the recipient’s details.

2. Use your saved contacts

Most online banking apps can sync your contacts so that you can access them when they need to send money. Furthermore, you can save your favorite recipients so that you do not have to enter the details every time you want to send funds. By doing so, you will avoid making mistakes when manually entering the details.

3. Utilize the officials’ services at your bank

Banks have officers who are always on standby to help the needy customers at the branch. If you are sure, you will encounter troubles, it is better to walk to your bank and request them to transfer a certain amount of money to a particular recipient.

You will provide their necessary details for the transfer to complete. You might pay more fees than when transferring online but the better. Alternatively, you can call your bank and request them to transfer money to someone on your behalf.

4. Send via trusted platforms

There are numerous apps on the internet that claim to assist in transferring money faster to your recipients. You must be very careful not to fall into the hands of scammers. Zelle is one of the most trusted apps that can help you to move funds across banks.

Can I get my funds back from a digital wallet transfer?

Just like banks, you may find it challenging to get your money back when you send it to others using digital wallets such as PayPal, Payoneer, Google Pay, and Venmo, among others. However, if you use the standard transfers that take up to three days to complete, you can cancel a transaction and get your money back. Instant transfers are difficult to reverse without the consent of the recipient.

Alternatively, you can request the recipient to send you the money back to your digital wallet account. Some people will agree while others will not. If you are lucky to get a good-hearted individual, then you get your funds back.

Bottom line

A bank account helps you to move money between accounts of the same bank or a different bank. You can send money using a phone number, email address, or the recipient’s account number using your bank account. Instant bank transfers are difficult to reverse compared to those that stay pending for a day or more. If someone refuses to return your money sent to them accidentally, you can take legal action.

Spencer Tierney is a writer and expert on certificates of deposits at His work has been featured by USA Today, MSN, SF Gate, the Los Angeles Times, NerdWallet and more. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English at UC Berkeley.