How to Reverse a Mistaken Bank Transfer in Nigeria


About 11% of all bank transfers using an Atm & mobile phone end up as a mistaken transfer to another user’s bank account. This means over 10 Million Dollars ($10,000,000) is sent by mistake to a wrong bank account by accident a day. This is one problem that millions of people face worldwide.

This mistake can leave you in a lifetime of debt if not rectified. Since this mistake may be from your end the bank may not take it seriously. In this article, I’ll be teaching you how to reverse a mistaken bank transfer easily.

Transferring money from one bank account to another involves inputting digital details. But accidents happen. One wrong number when inputting an account number or even selecting the wrong payee from your contact list can cause a mistaken bank transfer. This is why you should check every detail closely before sending any funds.

What Is a Mistaken Bank Transfer?

A mistaken bank transfer simply happens when a user transfers money to a wrong account. Unlike an unauthorized transaction that occurs when someone accessed and uses your bank account without your knowledge or consent.

Causes of Mistaken Bank Transfer?

Depending on the transfer method you used, mistaken transactions are quite rare. Transferring money involves inputting a payee’s bank details (bank name and account number). One simple mistake when inputting the digits in an account number or even selecting a similar name is all it takes for a mistaken transaction to happen.

Reasons why mistaken bank transfer occurs

There are a lot of reasons why mistaken bank transfer occurs some of them include:

1. Human Error

This is the most common reason for a mistaken bank transfer. By simply typing a wrong account number or beneficiary, your money is sent to the wrong bank account.

2. Technical Errors

Technical errors are caused by an error in the transaction at the bank’s end. This is caused by a technical glitch in the bank servers, network errors or memory overload. These factors may affect the process of the transaction and cause it to be transferred to the wrong account. But once these problems are solved, the bank would correct it automatically.

Easiest Ways Reverse a Mistaken Bank Transfer

If you want to reverse a mistaken bank transfer, these are the best ways to do to revert it;

1. Fallacious transfers

If the account number you credited does not exist, the money will be returned to your account automatically. This is the easiest way to reverse a mistaken bank transfer.

2. Known Beneficiary

This is a more manual way of reversing a mistaken bank transfer. Here the fund transferred is not to the intended but a close relative. For instance, you wanted to transfer $36 to your brother, Dave Peters but the fund was sent to your uncle who also bears Dave Peters.

If you know the beneficiary, you can easily contact the person (immediately) and narrate the ordeal and request a refund immediately. Try to inform your bank or your financial institution as soon as you notice what was wrong.

3. Unknown Beneficiary

This is a more rigorous way of reversing a mistaken bank transfer. Here, the money was not delivered to the intended or a relative but a stranger.

If it is an active bank account or the beneficiary is unknown to you, you should contact your bank immediately using your bank customer care line or mail (you can also send a mail to the bank, narrating the matter, reporting wrong bank payments in detail for better understanding.

The bank may act as a middleman and provide you with the contact name, number, and bank of the beneficiary). What happens if you send money to the wrong account number? The funds can be used by the beneficiary.

The bank call center will require the amount sent, account name, account number, transaction date, transaction time and you will have to prove the bank call center in details that you mistakenly transferred the money to a wrong beneficiary’s account (If you accidentally credited the account of an unintended beneficiary with the similar or the same name as your intended beneficiary, you’ll have to prove that it was a mistaken transfer before the bank can help).

When you’ve proven this, the bank will freeze that account/funds for 48 hours only (2 days). During this time, your bank will have only 20 days to investigate the case, contact the unintended beneficiary or recipient who you credited and notify you of his action.

If he agrees that it was a mistaken transaction and make a formal reversal (by signing the required documents that will authorize the bank to reverse the transaction and refund your money). Then you get back your money.

Note: The bank cannot return your money if the beneficiary/recipient, does not agree to it. That means, the beneficiary claims that the money in his account is his and not yours, there is no mistake involved, the bank can’t give you your money, no funds will be moved without the consent of the recipient. You won’t get your money back.

What if the Beneficiary/Recipient refuses to return the money?

If the unintended beneficiary claims that the money in his account is his and not yours and there is no mistake involved. The best course of action is to take a legal decision, you’ll need a bank statement, calls, address, transactions messages, ID and intended beneficiary testimony as proof to win. It is important to keep a record of your complaints. Banks are also required by law to have a copy of the written complaints process.

When you win, the unintended beneficiary will be fined for theft. When you provide a copy of your court order or indemnity form to the bank, the transaction would be reversed and your account will be refunded.

How to Avoid a Mistaken Bank Transfer

Below are the steps to avoid mistaken bank transfers:

1. Double-Check

Prevention is better than cure. Double-check the account number before making the transaction. No law requires the bank to verify all the details for you. You can also transfer in bits, after the intended recipient confirms the transaction, transfer the rest after he receives the first alert.

2. Complain immediately you notice this error.

Get the bank involved and reply the bank messages as quick as possible. Try to follow up on the situation daily. Request for updates and learn how the matter is being handled. Don’t rely on what you’re told, because it’s your hard-earned cash that is at stake.

3. Be persistent

Follow up the matter vigorously.  If your calls are not taken seriously, head to the bank immediately or mail the problem in details for better communication. Intra-bank transactions may be complicated but follow similar procedures.

If the beneficiary agrees, it would be reversed and you will be credited within 2 – 10 working days. If the beneficiary is of another bank and you transferred the amount by mistake, then you have to go personally to that particular branch and meet the bank manager to get the solution done.

4. Use an e-payment code

It protects you every time you make an electronic payment. These are the easiest ways to avoid and reverse a mistaken bank transfer

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