Understanding payments and transfers

The information in this guide was last updated on 26/02/2014

If you need to make payments or transfer money in the UK read our guide to the various payment options available.

Direct Debits

Direct Debits are a way to pay regular bills where the amount can vary from time to time. The company you pay requests the money from your account. They are backed by a guarantee to give you added protection as outlined below.

The Direct Debit guarantee

This is offered by all banks and building societies that accept instructions to pay Direct Debits. It guarantees that:

  • if there are any changes to the amount, date or frequency of your Direct Debit the company will notify you (normally 10 working days) in advance of your account being debited or as otherwise agreed. If you request the company to collect a payment, confirmation of the amount and date will be given to you at the time of the request
  • if an error is made in the payment of your Direct Debit, by the organisation or your bank or building society, you are entitled to a full and immediate refund of the amount paid from your bank or building society. However, if you receive a refund you are not entitled to, you must pay it back when the company asks you to
  • you can cancel a Direct Debit at any time by simply contacting your bank or building society. Written confirmation may be required. Please also notify the company.

Are you a Nationwide customer? See how to set up a Direct Debit

Standing orders

A standing order is an instruction to your bank to pay a fixed amount of money to an individual or a company, at regular intervals, either for a specific period or until the instruction is cancelled. 

A standing order is normally used to pay bills that have a fixed amount (which doesn't change over time), for example a gym membership or to pay money into a savings account. (They differ from direct debits, which may vary in amount and frequency.) 

Are you a Nationwide customer? 

See: how to set up a standing order.


Paym is a free service that lets you send and receive money securely to and from friends and family using just a mobile phone number. No account numbers, no sort codes – and they don’t even need to bank with Nationwide. Just as long as they’re registered to use the service. 

To send and receive payments, you must sign up via the Internet Bank and then link your UK mobile phone number to a Nationwide current account. 

If you’re a Nationwide customer, find out how to sign up to Paym.

Single payments

Single payments are also called bill payments or faster payments. If you’re a Nationwide customer and you set up a single payment, you can also use it to make payments or transfers in the future.

Are you a Nationwide customer? See how to make a single payment.


CHAPS (or Clearing House Automated Payment System) is a same day electronic payment service within the UK. It's used regularly for business-to-business payments, by solicitors acting in house purchase transactions or where the funds are needed the same day (for example, a car purchase). There's usually a charge for this service.

Are you a Nationwide customer? See how to make a CHAPS payment.

Transfering money securely

When you make payments or transfer money from one account to another, it’s important your money is secure. At Nationwide, we take several steps to make sure this is the case. 

Internet banking: like many banks and building societies, Nationwide uses card readers to provide an extra layer of security for internet banking. These use your PIN to create a unique code each time you log in to the internet bank and are used to verify payment transactions.

See our guide to using your card reader.

Mobile banking: when you use Nationwide’s mobile banking app, you’re protected by your internet banking security details, so only you have access to them. Plus, data is encrypted, so it can be transferred securely from your mobile phone.

Branch banking: to prevent fraud and make sure your payments and transfers are made securely we will ask for ID when you set up and use many of our payment and transfer services.

Understand more about keeping your money secure.

Transferring money overseas? See our guide.

Personal cheques

You can also send money using a personal cheque, but this isn’t as secure as an electronic transfer and will take longer to clear. 

How do I transfer money by personal cheque?

You’ll need to write the beneficiary’s name clearly on the cheque. (Nationwide will only accept the payment in sterling.)

How much does it cost to send a personal cheque?

We do not charge you for cheques you write or receive into your Nationwide account. If you request a foreign cheque your Bank may charge for this.