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sortingcodes.co.uk - Definition of terms and advice

The sortingcodes.co.uk drop-down list of financial institution names includes banks that are either a settlement member for one or more clearings, or have a substantial number of branches.

Institution

Institutions included on the sortingcodes.co.uk website comprise banks in the United Kingdom (including those that are included in the drop-down list of bank names), building societies, UK branches of foreign banks and other financial institutions.

Branch Title

The term "Branch Title" refers to the name used to identify the branch location for the financial institution in question. There is no standard naming convention for this. As a guide, a Branch Title will typically be one of the following:

  • Location: Most of the major banks allocate a sort code to each office in their branch network. The Branch title will be the name of the town or city where the branch is located, often including a street name or suburb when a town has more than one branch, for example, "London, Oxford Street".
  • Department or Function: Examples include: "Central Loans Unit", "Card Services", and "International Banking Centre".

Clearings

For the purposes of the sortingcodes.co.uk website, there are four clearings. They are:

  • CHAPS Sterling: The sterling same day payments system. Abbreviated as CH£.
  • Faster Payments Service: Used for electronic payments that are typically made via internet or phone, processed in hours rather than days. Abbreviated as FPS.
  • Cheque and Credit Clearing: The paper clearings for cheques and giro credits. Abbreviated as C&C.
  • BACS: The bulk electronic payments system used for salaries, direct debits, etc. Abbeviated as BACS.

The clearings abbreviations appear in the branch details pages, indicating in which clearings in the financial institution participates.

In CHAPS Sterling, Cheque and Credit Clearing and BACS, offices are identified by a six-digit sort code.

Please note: Because there are various services offered within BACS, you should check with the branch office to see in which services they participate.

Address

The addresses shown are the postal addresses to which correspondence should be directed. It should be noted that this is not necessarily the same as the physical location of the office concerned.

For the purposes of the clearings, the branch title and sorting code (or SWIFT/BIC) should be sufficient to identify the office.

If the address field on a branch details page has a message stating 'No clearing address available', this may be because the code is used solely for electronic clearing purposes or the bank does not require an address for the use of this code.

Sort Code

The six-digit sort code is used to identify the bank or financial institution and branch office. In CHAPS Sterling, Cheque & Credit and BACS Clearings, branch offices are identified by their six-digit sort code.

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