What is a standing order?

A standing order is a regular payment of the same amount that’s paid on a specified date. It allows the bank to take money regularly from your account to pay another account. You can use a standing order for many payment types, including:

  • Transferring money between your accounts
  • Sending a friend or family member money on a regular basis
  • Paying your rent or mortgage
  • Donating to a charity

You need to know the exact amount you want to pay out in advance. This means standing orders may not be useful for bills, where the money owed can go up or down . You can also change or stop a standing order at any time.

In this article

  • What is a standing order?
  • What is the difference between a Direct Debit and a standing order?
  • How to set up a standing order
  • Standing order: FAQs

What is the difference between a Direct Debit and a standing order?

The main difference between a standing order and a Direct Debit is that a standing order is always the same amount each month while a Direct Debit can change each time.

For example, a phone bill might go up and down each month, so this would be paid as a Direct Debit. A rent payment is the same each month, so you’d pay this using a standing order.

Another difference between a standing order and a Direct Debit is that you set up a standing order personally, while the organisation you are paying arranges a Direct Debit.

A standing order gives you more control as you can set it up, stop or change it at any time. This is unlike a Direct Debit, where only the organisation can make changes.

How to set up a standing order

You can easily set up a standing order over the phone, through Internet Banking or by filling in a form at your local bank branch.

The quickest way to set up a standing order is using Internet Banking:

  1. Log onto your account and select ‘More Actions’ on the right hand side panel.
  2. Open up the ‘Direct Debits and standing orders' tab then click ‘Set up a standing order’.
  3. Choose who you want to pay, either an existing recipient or add a new one.
  4. Include the amount, reference, when and how often you want the payment to come out. Then click confirm.

You can change or cancel your standing order at any time by selecting ‘manage standing orders’ on the Direct Debits and standing orders tab.

Standing orders: FAQs

Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about standing orders.

  • If you don’t have enough money in your account to pay a standing order, it may be refused by your bank. When this happens, your standing order stops until the next scheduled payment.

    Some banks will have a ‘retry process’, where they will attempt to send your standing order again. Usually, this happens the same day as the standing order was due to go out.

  • Standing orders are usually processed on the same day they are set up . However, allow between three to five working days for it to clear.

    If your payment is due to go out on a bank holiday or weekend, the money will leave your account on the next working day.

  • You can easily change or cancel your standing order by logging onto your Internet Banking account or visiting your local branch.

    If you’re banking online, simply select the Direct Debits and standing orders tab under ‘More Actions’ and click manage standing orders. Here you can stop or change a standing order you have set up.

  • A standing order mandate is a form with your own and the payee’s bank details, as well as the amount, date of payments and occurrence. Once you fill in the mandate, you can send it to your bank to set up the standing order on your behalf.

The content on this page is for reference and does not constitute financial advice. For impartial financial advice, we recommend government bodies like the Money Advice Service.

Need to speak to someone?

Lost or stolen cards

0800 096 9779 (+44 1702 278 270 from outside the UK)

Contact us

0345 300 0000 (+44 1733 347 007 from outside the UK)

These lines are available 24/7.