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Nationwide changing online banking payee details

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dollythedog
dollythedog Posts: 38 Forumite
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edited 21 August 2023 at 9:10PM in Budgeting & bank accounts
Last month I paid a plumber's bill, new payee so I set up as usual in my online account.  I use a computer not a phone, so using the website, not the app.  Made the payment and the plumber acknowledged receipt next day. 
Couple of weeks later he did another job for me, when I went to make the payment I noticed something odd, the sort code on the payee details for his account was the same as my own. 
I checked back to my current account and that showed the payment had gone to his correct sort code (not the same as mine).  So I deleted the payee details (it isn't possible to edit payee sort code/account number) and set it up again correctly, made the payment.  Checked my current account and the payment showed up with the correct payee details, but going back into 'manage payees' guess what?  It showed my own sort code again. 
I reported this to Nationwide via their online chat, the agent said she had checked my payee records and the correct code was recorded.  I insisted it was NOT the correct code, she said I had 'probably' miskeyed the sort code, I should try deleting the payee and resetting it.  I told her I'd done this already and the sort code had reverted to the wrong one.  She said Nationwide 'never' change payee info.  Well I certainly didn't so who did?
Getting worried, I phoned their complaints team and the agent checked while I was on the phone and agreed with me, the sort code on the payee record was not the same as on the current account transactions and he did not know how this could have happened.  I held while he spoke to a colleague then came back and said the receiving account was also a NW account and 'sometimes their system changes the sort code', but so long as the first 2 digits are 07, the payment will go to the correct account. 
I have to ask why sort codes are needed if this is the case, and being unhappy with this explanation the agent escalated the complaint. 
I have now received an apologetic letter which does not give any explanation, merely an offer of a small cash sum for my inconvenience and 'being given incorrect information'. 
My concern now is that if NW's computer system can arbitrarily change sort codes when it feels like it, what else might it decide to change?  Might it decide to remove my bank balance entirely?  Or worse, run up an overdraft? 
Has anything like this happened to anyone else? 
Last time I checked (after the letter was received) the payee's sort code remains incorrectly the same as mine.
I've removed nearly all my spare cash from my current account and put it in another bank for safekeeping as Nationwide don't seem to know themselves what their computer does to amuse itself.  

Comments

  • flaneurs_lobster
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    Any chance you could set up the Nationwide app and see if it shows the same incorrect information?

    I'm wondering if it's a "display" problem, doesn't absolve NW of some dodgy code though,
  • born_again
    born_again Posts: 15,323 Forumite
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    Sort Codes were set up back in the old branch days. Giving each branch it's own code for their customers, allowing payments to go to the right branch.
    Now with internet banking the number of customers will not fit on one sort code for that, so users are spread over the available codes that are not used by branches.
    So 07 will be Nationwide, other 4 numbers are now redundant in many ways. How their system deals internally I do not know, but I would not worry, so long as payment got to where it was meant to go.

    Stuff like this is not something that agents are taught about, so any explanation is going to be at best, a guess.
    Life in the slow lane
  • p00hsticks
    p00hsticks Posts: 13,169 Forumite
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    So 07 will be Nationwide, other 4 numbers are now redundant in many ways. How their system deals internally I do not know, but I would not worry, so long as payment got to where it was meant to go.

    But that 'so long as payment got to where it meant to go' is the big point and has not been proven, as the OP says they spotted and corrected the displayed details before making the payment.  

    Nor is there any indication either that the plumber banked with Nationwide (and so woold have had a similar sort code starting '07' to the OP).
    .
    I'm with the OP - I'd be concerned, and will certainly be double checking the details before I make any new payments to pre-saved payees from now on.  
  • dollythedog
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    and will certainly be double checking the details before I make any new payments to pre-saved payees from now on.  
    NW have an irritating policy of removing payees from the saved list if a payment hasn't been made for 13 months.  So I have to re-input when making a new payment.  This, of course, raises the possibility of an error of input by me in re-entering a total of 14 digits of sort code/account number.  NW have the nerve to tell me their removal policy is 'for the security of users'.   :(
  • Section62
    Section62 Posts: 8,034 Forumite
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    Sort Codes were set up back in the old branch days. Giving each branch it's own code for their customers, allowing payments to go to the right branch.
    Now with internet banking the number of customers will not fit on one sort code for that, so users are spread over the available codes that are not used by branches.
    So 07 will be Nationwide, other 4 numbers are now redundant in many ways. How their system deals internally I do not know, but I would not worry, so long as payment got to where it was meant to go.

    Stuff like this is not something that agents are taught about, so any explanation is going to be at best, a guess.
    Nationwide do things slightly differently - they use(d?) the sort code to identify different account types.  For example 07-01-16 was the sort code for original FlexAccounts, 07-10-40 was used for some savings accounts.

    Nationwide now use other sort codes for current account products, but I'd speculate that where an acount number in (say) the 07-02-46 range is not in use in 07-01-16, the 07-01-16 account number could become an alias of the original account... i.e. payments to either 07-02-46 12345678 or 07-01-16 12345678 will end up in the same account, and for internal tidiness Nationwide modify the sort code on a saved payee to whichever one they prefer to use.
  • Section62
    Section62 Posts: 8,034 Forumite
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    and will certainly be double checking the details before I make any new payments to pre-saved payees from now on.  
    NW have an irritating policy of removing payees from the saved list if a payment hasn't been made for 13 months.  So I have to re-input when making a new payment.  This, of course, raises the possibility of an error of input by me in re-entering a total of 14 digits of sort code/account number.  NW have the nerve to tell me their removal policy is 'for the security of users'.   :(
    Interesting.... they used to say they deleted saved payees after 13 months because their computer system was "full" and couldn't cope with the number of saved payees members were creating.  Maybe they've now realised how silly that excuse sounded and come up with a new one.
  • dollythedog
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    Section62 said:
    . i.e. payments to either 07-02-46 12345678 or 07-01-16 12345678 will end up in the same account, and for internal tidiness Nationwide modify the sort code on a saved payee to whichever one they prefer to use.
    Aaahhhh!  This is what, I think, the complaints agent was trying to explain.  The payee's correct sort code begins 07-44 and it was replaced with one beginning 07-01, the agent said that provided the account number was correct the money would go to the right account, which it did.  I always believed sort code was unique to branch, so this is news to me.  None of my other payees are NW accounts, and none of their sort codes has been affected.
  • stubbouk
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    Section62 said:
    Sort Codes were set up back in the old branch days. Giving each branch it's own code for their customers, allowing payments to go to the right branch.
    Now with internet banking the number of customers will not fit on one sort code for that, so users are spread over the available codes that are not used by branches.
    So 07 will be Nationwide, other 4 numbers are now redundant in many ways. How their system deals internally I do not know, but I would not worry, so long as payment got to where it was meant to go.

    Stuff like this is not something that agents are taught about, so any explanation is going to be at best, a guess.
    Nationwide do things slightly differently - they use(d?) the sort code to identify different account types.  For example 07-01-16 was the sort code for original FlexAccounts, 07-10-40 was used for some savings accounts.

    Nationwide now use other sort codes for current account products, but I'd speculate that where an acount number in (say) the 07-02-46 range is not in use in 07-01-16, the 07-01-16 account number could become an alias of the original account... i.e. payments to either 07-02-46 12345678 or 07-01-16 12345678 will end up in the same account, and for internal tidiness Nationwide modify the sort code on a saved payee to whichever one they prefer to use.
    This is exactly whats happening, you'd only ever see it on NW > NW transfers and anything external to NW would stay as you input, seen it myself a couple of times back in the day!

    It's nothing to worry about but also its something that should be handled in the background and never visible to the user, as it causes worry!
  • dollythedog
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    stubbouk said:
    as it causes worry!
    Indeed!  With all the press coverage of bank scams, it is a worry when something is changed on a bank account without input from me/reference from my bank, and I get told I must have done it myself ... somewhat different from my experience when setting up the new bank into which I moved my 'float' for safety, I got screens full of red-type messages about not being able to verify the account holder and STOP NOW IN CASE THIS IS A SCAM ...  so I did that safety thing of moving £1 first and then shifting the balance after I'd verified the £1 transfer myself.  NW no longer have the benefit of a lump sum to invest on the overnight money markets and soak up the interest. Thank you to everyone who commented for putting my mind at rest.
  • [Deleted User]
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    Section62 said:
    . i.e. payments to either 07-02-46 12345678 or 07-01-16 12345678 will end up in the same account, and for internal tidiness Nationwide modify the sort code on a saved payee to whichever one they prefer to use.
    Aaahhhh!  This is what, I think, the complaints agent was trying to explain.  The payee's correct sort code begins 07-44 and it was replaced with one beginning 07-01, the agent said that provided the account number was correct the money would go to the right account, which it did.  I always believed sort code was unique to branch, so this is news to me.  None of my other payees are NW accounts, and none of their sort codes has been affected.
    The original Flex Account sort codes were 074456 and 070116 (both are interchangeable) '56 was used when issued an ATM card and '16 was used when issued a cheque guarantee card or debit card.

    The newer sort codes 070246, 070436 and 070806 aren't interchangeable. 
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