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From 1st January 2012 payments made on the Internet and by phone banking will be faster, almost instantly in some cases. From New Year’s Day, payments made in the UK and the Eurozone will have to reach the account of the recipient by the following business day at the very latest. According to the Payments Council, which monitors methods of payment in the UK, most payments will reach their destination within two hours in the UK.

Previously, once banks received instruction for payment it would take three working days for the payment to clear. The new payment instruction is a part of the Payment Service Regulations, and experts believe that more than 15 million extra payments will be made every month using the Internet, phone banking and standing orders. The changes will make it possible to conduct online transactions like paying a tax bill much faster, in addition to making payments to businesses, credit card bills and one off payments to friends.

Standing order payments will also be covered, with money being taken from the account the same day as the payment is received. To qualify for the new faster service, accounts must be payment accounts. Any account which has restrictions, like having to give notice for withdrawals, won’t be covered by the new regulations. Some savings accounts will meet the definition of a payment account, and credit card accounts all qualify. Payments made by Direct Debit and Bacs are already operating under these terms and so won’t be affected by the rule change.

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