What is a Bank Giro Credit?

John Lister

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 The term is most commonly associated with a now outdated form of social security welfare payment.

Bank giro credit can be cashed at a UK post office.
Bank giro credit can be cashed at a UK post office.

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 is on paper bills from utility companies.
The most common form of giro credit in use is on paper bills from utility companies.

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."

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Discussion Comments


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


@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.


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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