Three years since it started, the Current Account Switch Service has now seen over 3.24 million switches, with a seven-day switching success rate of 99.7%. The service was designed to give people a simple and reliable way of switching current accounts, thereby increasing competition within the banking sector and supporting the entry of new banks.
This has certainly paid off, with a report from the Social Market Foundation showing that 150 enhancements to UK personal current accounts have been made since the Switch Service started, while the number of banking providers offering the service has risen from 33 to 43.
Yet there is still much more to do, with many people remaining unaware of the benefits of switching their current account. A new multi-million pound media campaign to raise further awareness and confidence in the service was therefore launched this Saturday, and a brand new website is also being rolled out. Anne Pieckielon, Bacs' director of Product and Strategy who is responsible for the service, said: "An important element of our work is to make sure that people, as well as small businesses and charities, understand how easy it is to switch between banking providers using the service, and our new advertising campaign will help to inform these important audiences still further."
The advertising campaign will, among other things, highlight the ease and speed of the service, with a switch taking no more than seven days. Simon Kirby MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, praised the service, stating: "Increasing competition in banking is part of the Government's plan to make sure that every customer can access the best deal for them. The seven-day Current Account Switch Service allows customers to hold their banks to account by allowing them to vote with their feet and switch where they see a better deal – simply, quickly and reliably."
In the past three years, there have been key improvements to the service that have allowed it to meet changing customer and regulatory needs. These include the Current Account Switch Guarantee, whereby payments accidentally made to or requested from the old account are automatically and indefinitely redirected to the new account. Bacs is also working with banking providers to deliver harmonised account opening procedures across the industry, which will benefit overdraft users in particular, as procedures will be designed to include confirmation of overdraft approval, as well as the amount and terms of the overdraft, before a customer commits to the switch. This will allow people, charities and small businesses to have all the facts before deciding.
These changes will certainly have helped to increase awareness and confidence: three quarters of people in the UK are now aware of the service, with nine out of 10 of those switching account satisfied with their experience. And this is not the end; Bacs is conducting a wide-ranging programme of research to better understand switching behaviour. This, in concert with their advertising campaign, should continue to raise not only awareness of the service but also a more critical attitude in customers towards their bank account. After all, the first step to switching to a better current account is acknowledging that your current one doesn't meet all of your present needs and desires.
Do you think you could benefit from switching your current account? Start with our switching guide and check out our top current accounts to compare competitive deals
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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