Spotting unusual transactions

How to spot unusual transactions and what to do if you find one

The sooner you spot fraud, the faster your bank can act to protect you.

Whether it’s credit card transactions and charges or bank transactions that you don’t recognise, here, we show you how to spot and report them.

Check statements carefully

Most people will make quite a lot of payments and transactions in a normal month, so it can be easy for an unusual transaction to slip through unnoticed. It’s really important to check your statements regularly and if you see an unauthorised  transaction, report it to your bank straight away.

Statement codes and references

Every transaction on your statement will be listed next to a code – so you can work out how each payment was made. For example, if it says ‘ATM’ that refers to a cash machine. Think; did you use a cash machine on that day, at that time?

This is our list of the codes you’ll find next to the transactions on your statements. Whenever you think you’ve found an unusual transaction, use this table to find out how the payment/withdrawal was made. If you come across a code you can’t identify, always speak to your bank.

What’s displayed What it stands for What it means
ATM Automated Teller (Cash) Machine A cash dispenser or cash machine transaction
BAC Bankers Automated Clearing Services Bankers Automated Clearing Services is an automated credit mechanism for electronic processing of financial transactions e.g. direct debits
BGC Bank Giro Credit Deposit cash or cheque over the branch counter with your pay in book
BSP Branch Single Payment Bill or third party payment made within branch
CDM Cash & Deposit Machine Cash & Deposit Machines are advanced ATMs which can be used to process pay-ins,
bill payments and withdrawals, as well as cash withdrawals.
CHG Charge Fees debited against your account
CHP Payments by CHAPS transfer Electronic transfer for large payments between accounts sent and received on the same day i.e. mortgage settlement
CHQ Cheque A document that orders the payment of money from a bank account to another person or organisation
CUI Centralised Unpaid In (Unpaid Cheque) Transaction on your account which relates to an unpaid cheque
CWP Cold Weather Payment Deposit into your account by the Government to cover cold weather payments
What’s displayed What it stands for What it means
D/D Direct Debit A regular payment of a variable amount from your account to a third party or company
DIV Dividend An electronic credit to your account from shares held by you
DR Account Overdrawn or Debit Item An indicator on your statement to show that your balance is less than zero
DWP Department for Work and Pensions Deposit into your account by the Department for Work and Pensions
ERTF Exchange Rate Transaction Fee Debit related to the use of your debit card at an ATM or POS outside the United Kingdom
IBP Inter-Branch Payment Transfer of money between accounts at different NatWest branches
INT Interest Credit or debit on your account associated to interest earned or incurred on your balance
ITL International Transfer of money from your account to an account outside the United Kingdom
NDC Non Dividend Counterfoil A credit to your account from shares held by you
OTR Online Banking Transaction Transaction carried out by using Online Banking
What’s displayed What it stands for What it means
POC Post Office Counters Transaction carried out over a Post Office counter
POS Point of Sale/Debit Card Transaction A purchase made with your debit card e.g. within a retailer or online
S/O Standing Order A regular payment of a fixed amount from your account to
another account, a third party or company
SBT Screen Based Transaction A transaction processed by the branch on your behalf
STF Standard Transfer A standard international transfer sent to a foreign account
TEL Telephone Banking A transaction carried out using telephone banking
TFR Transfer Transfer of money between NatWest accounts
TLR Teller Transaction A transaction carried out using branch banking

Keep an eye out, on and offline

If you get paper bank statements, make sure you’ve received all of them. Missing bank statements could be a sign that a fraudster has managed to get your post or had it sent to another address. This is easier in a block of flats or shared accommodation.

You might also receive a paper bill for something you didn’t buy, or from a company you don’t use. If this happens, report it immediately.  

Common retailer trading names

Sometimes companies trade under different names. This means something you bought might show up on your statement with a different name to the one you’re expecting. It can be frightening as it can look a lot like fraud.

We’ve put together a list of companies and their trading names. Check your unrecognised transaction against these.

Something else we can help you with?