Unless you’ve saved someone as a ‘Favourite’ in your online banking transactions, transferring money to a new account each time can be a hassle. And when you have to key in a bunch of random numbers, mistakes can happen...like transferring some cash to the wrong account.
First and foremost, know that the chances of your money going to the wrong account is quite low. Banks have a way of preventing this from happening. For example, it would be quite unlikely for someone to have a bank account number that had just one digit different from yours.
Secondly, the name of the recipient will be displayed when you’re about to make that transfer, so you would be able to confirm if you’re sending money to the right person.
But let’s just say that somehow, your money ended up going to the wrong recipient, anyway. Here’s what you should do:
1. Inform your bank
The most logical thing to do would be to reach out to your bank first (not the recipient’s), since the money went out of your account. Bear in mind that your bank is not legally allowed to forcefully reverse the transaction without the recipient’s permission.
It would be easier if the recipient was also an account holder in the same bank as you. If it was an interbank transfer, your bank would have to reach out to the recipient’s bank on your behalf. But like we mentioned, neither your bank nor the recipient’s can just transfer the money back to your account.
Based on this writer’s own experience (where someone had wrongly transferred money to her account), the bank will contact the recipient to let them know about the transfer. Phone calls are made first, but if the recipient is unreachable, a notice will be sent to their address. Once the recipient is aware of the transfer, they have to consent to the money being sent back to you. Either the bank will reverse the transaction (this is allowed now that the recipient has consented), or, the recipient will be asked to directly transfer the money back to you.
2. Make a police report
It’s pretty straightforward if the recipient sends you your money back without an issue. But let’s say that they can’t be traced...or they’re just downright refusing to return the money. Your next step would be to file a police report.
You’ll need to be as descriptive as possible in your report, so that the case can be investigated more thoroughly. It can be unnerving to make a police report for a tiny error that you made, but since you can’t force the recipient to resend the money, this would be your next best bet.
3. File a claim in court
Assuming that the first two options have not worked for you, the final and last option you can resort to would be to seek legal assistance.
If you had wrongly transferred RM5,000 or below, you’ll need to go to the nearest Magistrate Court and file a claim through the Small Claims Procedure. For a small claim like this, you cannot have a lawyer handle your case, but you may get the advice of one externally.
However, if the amount exceeds RM5,000, you’ll need the help of a lawyer to file a case against the recipient. You have the right to do this, especially if they seem to be holding your money hostage for no reason and have been ignoring any calls from the bank or police.
As you can see, it’s not exactly an easy process to get your money back if you wrongly transfer it. It really depends on your luck and whether the recipient is honest enough to return the money.
The best thing to do would be to double check every transaction you make so that this can be prevented altogether. And speaking of money and accounts, did you know that the government is keeping roughly RM8.75 billion of unclaimed money?
You can check if any of that money belongs to you, and if it does, you’re entitled to claim it! Check out our guide on how you can do this: