Fun with banking call centres (not).
January 25, 2008 3:58 PM   Subscribe

Help! What 'eight digit' number regarding my Visa credit card are the Abbey National call centre trying to get from my fiancé? We're in the UK.

I have a Co-op Visa credit card. It has two important numbers you normally need to know for paying money into the account: the sixteen digit account code (card number) and the six digit 'sort code' for the bank.

Fiancé, who banks with Abbey, is trying to transfer much-needed money to me using Abbey's telephone banking system, but they're being extremely unhelpful, and insisting that he must also give them an eight digit 'account number' for my card, which I've never heard of. They don't mean the card security number (it's not eight digit), and my account statement has nothing eight digit on it. Does anyone know what this number could be and how I would get it from my bank?

Or alternatively are the Abbey call centre just wrong about this? Their previous record doesn't inspire confidence.
posted by Flitcraft to Work & Money (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
maybe leading zeros?
posted by lester's sock puppet at 4:10 PM on January 25, 2008

Your bank account is identified with an 8-digit account number and a 6-digit sort code. This isn't just an Abbey thing, it applies to all bank accounts. It will be printed somewhere on your chequebook or account statements. It must be somewhere on your account statement for the bank account (which is perhaps different from the credit card statement), otherwise how else would you identify the account?
posted by Burger-Eating Invasion Monkey at 4:26 PM on January 25, 2008

Do you have any statements for the credit card? Does it have a Bank Giro Credit stub on it? The appropriate sort code (which is probably not the sort code of the branch where you do business) and account number should be at the bottom of the giro.
posted by grouse at 4:26 PM on January 25, 2008

BEIM, it looks like Flitcraft wants the money paid into her credit card, not her current account, so she shouldn't give Abbey the sort code and account number for the current account.
posted by grouse at 4:28 PM on January 25, 2008

One more point: make sure that your sixteen-digit credit card number is in the customer reference field, or they won't know who to credit the money to.
posted by grouse at 4:31 PM on January 25, 2008

In order to pay money to your credit card, it has to be paid into the Co-operative's generic account used for such things. This is an account with a six-digit sort code and an 8-digit account number, and the reference number is your 16-digit credit card number.

For example, Smile, the Co-op's Internet only bank has the following account number for transfers to be made to it: sort code 08-90-98 and account number 97491004.

I'd suggest you phone the Co-op's call centre and explain that your b/f wants to pay money to your credit card, electronically, and could you please have the account number to give to his bank so they can make the transfer. (I've looked online but can't find the account number for the Co-op.)

The Co-op should be able to give you the generic account number and sort code, and your b/f can make the transfer, giving Abbey the sort code, account number and your 16-digit credit card number as the reference number.

It will take about four working days for the money to reach your account.
posted by essexjan at 4:49 PM on January 25, 2008

Thanks but I have both my sort code and account number for this credit card and use them regularly to transfer money from my current account at another bank and have done so for years without incident. (My current account is not with the co-op, only the credit card)

The account number, clearly labelled as such in two places on my statement, is a *sixteen digit number* with no leading zeroes, not an eight digit number. There has never been any problem with this using telephone banking for money transfers from other banks. Only Abbey is demanding an eight digit number.

Have they confused my credit card with an ordinary banking account which would have an eight digit number? Or do they want the last eight digits of my credit card account number? Or is there another explanation?
posted by Flitcraft at 4:57 PM on January 25, 2008

Oops hang on! accidentally cross-posted with a bunch of people
posted by Flitcraft at 4:58 PM on January 25, 2008

Ah Essexjan seems to have cracked it - thanks! Funny that my own bank, Clydesdale never gave me a problem with this.
posted by Flitcraft at 5:01 PM on January 25, 2008

They want the sort code and account number for your credit card account, I suspect, and will then need your credit card number as the reference number for your account.

Could your b/f not do this online, set up a one-off payment through internet banking to make a transfer to the sort code/account number, with your credit card number as the reference so the Co-op can identify it?
posted by essexjan at 5:03 PM on January 25, 2008

The reason I mentioned doing an online transfer is that, my bank (Nationwide), and I think most of the big banks, already has in its database the generic account numbers for all the other UK credit card companies and banks, so all I need to do to set up a new payment through Nationwide is to select the correct bank from a dropdown menu and just add the credit card number for the reference. I would be surprised if Abbey doesn't have this in its database.
posted by essexjan at 5:09 PM on January 25, 2008

Funny that my own bank, Clydesdale never gave me a problem with this.

Many banks have common payees set up in advance. On HSBC's online banking system, you can make a payment to a Co-op Visa simply by choosing COOP VISA from a long list of possible payees, in which case the account and sort codes would not be necessary. Looks like Abbey might not be able to do this.
posted by grouse at 5:14 PM on January 25, 2008

If you need the money in a hurry, you could get your fiance to transfer the funds using CHAPS; there's a small charge, but it will transfer the money within hours, not days like a BACS transfer. The other details for the transfer should be more or less the same though, i.e. you'll need the co-op generic account number, with your card number as the reference.

Visa debit accounts have unique 8 digit account numbers, separate from the card, because often transactions take place directly to and from accounts (direct debits, account/account transfers) without ever involving a debit card. In many cases, you can happily run a bank account with no debit cards associated with it at all. BACS and CHAPS transfers go to a bank account, not a credit account.

with a visa credit card, the credit account is directly tied to the card itself, thus the account number IS the 16 digit card number. They weren't really designed to be used as a bank account, and thus the fun and games when transferring money to them. In effect, you're getting your bank (or her bank this time) to pay the money to the co-ops' bank account, then they transfer the funds to your credit card.

In future, you might be able to do it another way; use your online or telephone banking to the co-op, and issue a charge against your fiance's card. (you should be able to do it with the 3 digit CVV on the back)
posted by ArkhanJG at 5:22 PM on January 25, 2008

Thanks essexjan, it's a long story which I can't quite remember the details of, but he signed up with them for internet banking years ago - and then there was some problem that I can't remember- but the upshot was that they wanted him to come in person with proof of ID and completely re-register for it, which is like asking him to fly to the moon - he barely copes with admin and paperwork.

I got into a similar situation - registered for internet banking with my bank, at that time it wasn't compatible with firefox, so I ended up never using it, then found I couldn't easily re-register after I'd forgotten all the details and passwords et al - so I ended up using telephone banking too.
posted by Flitcraft at 5:23 PM on January 25, 2008

And thanks to ArkhanJG and Grouse too!
posted by Flitcraft at 5:27 PM on January 25, 2008

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