When was the last time you changed your current account? For many people, it was probably several years ago, with most being incredibly loyal to this kind of financial product. But with competition in the market becoming incredibly fierce, it could be time to re-consider your options…
According to figures from the Payments Council, this kind of thinking is gaining ground. Their latest update on the performance of the Current Account Switch Service shows that 1.14 million people switched current account between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015, up 7% from the 1.06 million switches that took place during the same period a year earlier. In total, the service has processed more than 1.75 million switches since its launch in September 2013, and over 99% have been switched within the designated seven-day timeframe.
It's certainly a great time to think about taking the plunge and switching accounts, as banking providers are all vying for your attention with a raft of incentives, high interest deals and rewards. Given the rise in switching numbers – and the ease of actually making the switch – it's no wonder, as not only do providers need to attract new customers, but they need to make sure that current ones aren't tempted to leave!
Barclays is the latest bank to grace the headlines with its Blue Rewards scheme, which comes with a £3 monthly fee but offers at least £7 cashback per month – and customers who have other financial products with the bank can receive even more.
It's a great offer from the bank, and something that it desperately needed, with the figures from the Payments Council revealing that Barclays was the biggest loser when it came to switching numbers – the number of current accounts run by the bank fell by 83,296 in the year to September, so it's hoped that this latest incentive could reverse its fortunes.
However, it's not the only bank to offer an impressive package of offers. Many providers are in the high interest account sphere, with both TSB and Nationwide offering in-credit interest of 5% up to a certain balance, while others (such as Lloyds and Santander) offer accounts that have a slightly lower rate of interest but with the trade-off of additional cashback and rewards.
It's all about doing your research to find an account that meets your needs, but really, there's never been a better time to switch! Some providers even offer cash incentives to encourage you to move to them (Halifax, for example, offers a switching incentive of £125) and thanks to the Current Account Switch Service, it's never been easier to make the change. Just fill in a form and everything else will be taken care of – your direct debits and standing orders will be switched over, and if anything goes wrong, you have the added guarantee that you'll be compensated.
Banks involved in the scheme have committed to completing the switching process within seven working days or less, so if you're not happy with your current provider, get searching! If banks are trying this hard to attract your business, you may as well take advantage…
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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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