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What's a sort code?

Published 16 February 2017 by

You use your sort code every time you want to get money paid into your account. But have you ever stopped to think about what the numbers actually mean?

It might surprise you to find out that the numbers in your sort code aren’t just random: they actually mean something. We’ll take you through what you use a sort code for, why it’s important you get the numbers right – and what can happen if you get it wrong.

What a sort code means

The first two digits of any sort code tell you what bank it’s from. For example, 01 is NatWest, 40 to 49 are for HSBC and 16 is for RBS – and this is what you’ll have if you’re a thinkmoney customer.

The other four numbers in a sort code tell you the branch of the account. So if you opened a bank account in Leeds city centre, the last four digits of your sort code will reflect this.

Why you need to check your sort code

When anyone is paying money into your account – either by a Faster Payment transfer, a Direct Debit or a standing order – they’ll need your sort code and your account number. As you can see, each sort code relates to a specific branch of a particular bank. That’s why it’s really important that you get these details right.

If you don’t – you accidentally give someone the wrong sort code, for example – it’s possible that the money that someone was trying to send to you could end up in someone else’s account in a different bank. You might be able to reclaim this – find out you can get money back you’ve sent to a wrong account.

But of course, the best way to avoid any problems with money going to the wrong account is to make sure you’ve got the details right in the first place. If it’s the first time someone’s sending you money, get them to double check that they’ve got your correct sort code and account number.

It might even be worth asking them to read out the information they’ve got for you and you can check it against your debit card as they do this. That way, you can be sure that the money will only be going to your account – and you’ll avoid any delays if it went missing.

If you’re a thinkmoney customer

At thinkmoney, we have two sort codes: 16-20-15 and 16-31-30. So if you’re a thinkmoney customer, your sort code will be one of these.

You can find out which of these is yours by looking at the bottom of your thinkmoney debit card. And if you can’t find it, look in the top right hand corner of your thinkmoney statement, on the App or on your Online Account Management to check your sort code.

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