May 19 2014.

Following the publication of a Code of Best Practice by the Payments Council those that accidentally send a payment to the wrong account can expect better help. From May 2014, under the new voluntary code, banks and building societies will have in place standard central processes and defined maximum timescales to help customers recover money.

The process will start within two days of the loss, will report back within 20 days (especially if there's a dispute on the return of funds) and will offer guidance on options if it cannot help. Importantly, banks and building societies will have to ensure the design of online, mobile and telephone payment channels reduce the risk of a customer making a mistake.

The new code cannot guarantee a customer will always recover any money paid in error but it will help a customer to know the outcome quickly and consistently, and enable them to seek legal advice or take further action if required.

In addition to the code, the Payments Council has updated its consumer education website with tips to help customers avoid making mistakes when sending a payment

The Misdirected Payments Code of Best Practice is available to view on the Payments Council website HERE.