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What Is a Bank Giro Credit?

By John Lister
Updated May 16, 2024
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A bank giro credit is a type of document used in the United Kingdom. It is used as part of a bank transfer process, alongside a cherub or cash payment. The term is most commonly associated with a now outdated form of social security welfare payment.

The bank giro credit is used in the paper equivalent of an electronic money transfer. It is not a payment instruction, but rather a piece of paper containing information needed to transfer money from one account to another. This paper allows either the payer or payee to provide more information than would be communicated on a paper check itself.

The most common form of giro credit in use today is on paper bills from utility companies. This appears as a tear-off slip at the bottom of the bill. The customer then either returns this slip in the mail along with a check, or takes it to a bank or post office to make a payment by check or cash.

This type of bank giro credit contains details not only of the amount of the due payment and the name of the utility company, as would appear on a check, but further information such as the customer reference number for the company and, most importantly, the bank sort code and account number for the account the company uses to receive payments. This serves two purposes. Firstly it makes sure the payment goes to the correct account. Secondly, it helps identify the customer making the payment in case of confusion.

The other main use of the bank giro credit is better known as a paying-in slip. This is contained either at the back of a checkbook or in a separate book of tear-out slips. These slips are pre-printed with the details of the customer's account. The customer then either hands this to the clerk when paying cash or checks into her account, or includes it with the cash and checks in an envelope that is placed into a special dropbox at the bank.

Historically, the giro credit was used for social security payments. Rather than the government handing over cash to recipients, it would mail a "giro-check" to the person receiving the welfare payment. The person would then take the giro-check and proof of identity to a post office, where it would be exchanged for cash. The document, and the welfare payment itself, were colloquially known as "the giro."

Why Have I Received a Bank Giro Credit?

If you’ve received a bank giro credit, you are in receipt of a monetary transfer that didn’t involve the physical use of a check. This is a digital transfer from one bank account to another. This process is most commonly found in European banking institutions, though the security advantage it provides has them occurring all around the world. This process prohibits a check from being stolen or lost, and the transfer of funds takes place more quickly than the traditional route of depositing a check.

Understanding the Credit

There are times when an individual may notice a line item labeled giro on their bank account statement. A customer may use a bank giro credit to put cash into their account or a check. There are some instances where a bank may collect a donation that was made through a giro credit. On the Barclay's bank statement, the giro line item could refer to the deposit of a check or cash at a branch of the bank.

You may also see the label BGC on a bill or credit card statement. These could come from tear-ff slips that are included at the bottom of a credit card bill or utility bill. Some checkbooks have these slips in the back for customers to make deposits into their accounts.

Bank Giro Transfer Comparison

A paper check is the most common alternative to a giro transfer. However, a regular check requires an intermediary while the giro a direct fund transfer. A check is written by the payer, but a giro is requested by the payer. There are minimal fees and limits with check transactions, but a bank giro could have transfer fees and limitations. A check is also a slower, more insecure form of payment, while a giro is more secure and provides faster payment.

Can a Bank Giro Credit Be Reversed?

Payments that have been misdirected are hard to undo, and if payment has been confirmed, the customer may find it difficult to reverse a transaction. The most effective way to change the transaction is to request a recovery of funds from the nearest local branch of the bank. Transfers can’t just be deleted; reversal is the next option. If you had a giro credit put into the wrong account, your bank will have a process for requesting reimbursement. However, the recipient may challenge the reversal.

An unsuccessful transfer could be noticed in several ways, depending on your bank:

  • A phone call from a representative
  • An SMS or email notifying you of a rejected transaction
  • A statement in the mail
  • Banking statements that don’t reflect the transfer

How Long Does a Bank Giro Credit Take To Clear?

The efficient processing time of bank giro credit is what makes it an attractive option for many. For many, any transfers initiated during normal business hours could see the funds being sent to the recipient the same day. Even payments made on a holiday or over the weekend could see funds moved during the next business day. The exact timeframe for a transfer depends on the individual’s bank. Banks are able to set the specific hours for giro transfers, through these services are generally operating seven days a week.

Some banks allow transfers to take place 24 hours a day. However, others have restricted hours. In addition to these restrictions, banks may establish a cut-off time for the same-day availability of funds. Transfers can fail if the account is inaccessible or there are insufficient funds.

Giro Services

A giro transfer can occur on a single order or one-time arrangements, or it could be set up as a recurring service. A bank may term this as a standing order. If there isn’t a huge need for a transfer, a single order may be best. The need for repeat payments can be set up as a standing order for the bank to carry out until you terminate the arrangement or the expiration date is met. A bank may also place a restriction on the type of accounts that are eligible for a giro transfer. Possible exclusions are:

  • Minor accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Trusts

Similar Services

While the bank giro transfer is a popular and secure funds transfer option, there are many consumers in the United States and around the world who are opting for online payments. Electronic checks, debit cards and mobile payments are all competitors of the giro transfer system. Digital wallets are also coming on the scene as a global, funds delivery system that is efficient and quick.

SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon1005285 — On Jul 28, 2021

The bank giro credit is indeed just a deposit slip. For your own account you have a few at the back of a cheque book, or you can get a separate book full of them.

On most household bills or mail order shopping invoices, the remittance slip doubles as a deposit slip for you to pay the money into the organisation's bank account. For many years the remittance slips usually also have a barcode to allow payment through one of the payment networks that use convenience stores (PayPoint for example).

Cheques for benefit payments were known as "Giro cheques" because the bank name at the top of the cheque said "National Girobank". Not related at all to the "bank giro credit" slip.

By anon994142 — On Jan 18, 2016

Does anyone know what a "Joint Bank Giro Slip" is - UK only

By sunnySkys — On Jul 14, 2011

@KaBoom - I don't mean to be rude, but please allow me to welcome you to the 21st century! There are a ton of easy ways to pay your bills these days and most of the time you don't even need to leave the house. You can pay your bill online or over the with a check or card or through the mail. Sometimes grocery stores even take cash payments for certain bills at their customer service counter. The possibilities are endless!

Also, a friend of mine is from the UK and when I asked her about bank giro she laughed and said it's barely used anymore. So it sounds like the UK probably won't even have this option for too much longer.

By KaBoom — On Jul 13, 2011

This bank giro credit sounds like it's basically a fancy deposit slip! I would love to pay my bills this way though. Imagine how convenient it would be to just walk into the bank, handle your other business, and then make the deposit directly into your cable companies account? I wish the United States had something like this!

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