A Government-backed current account comparison service has moved a step closer to being launched, it was announced yesterday, after a key industry agreement with several of the UK's largest current account providers has been secured.
As part of the agreement, providers will give their customers portable current account information – in an industry-standard format – that can be plugged into comparison tools, thereby making comparisons simpler and easier. It'll incorporate the user's own current account information, such as where they shopped and how much was spent, to offer a personalised service, but it'll be stripped of any details that link it directly to the individual to ensure safety and confidentiality.
The agreement means the service, part of the Midata Programme, is on course to be available to consumers by the end of the financial year. It's being designed "to provide consumers with better access to their personal data so that they can choose better products and services" – essentially, it'll offer an easier way for customers to see which current account might be best for them, highlighting those which would be most suitable based on their individual spending habits.
Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Andrea Leadsom, commented on the announcement:
"This new commitment to create a system called Midata has the potential to put more control into the hands of customers, by helping people get a much better understanding – for the first time – of how they are spending their money, and which is the best product for them.
"I'm delighted to confirm that the format has now been agreed, and comparison tool providers are already looking to create online tools that use the information. This is an excellent innovation, and one that I hope will truly transform the current account market."
The system is set to become a core part of online comparison tools, and it'll work by downloading a year's worth of the user's current account data in a single file. And, because it's in an industry-standard format, it'll be easy to get the hang of things too, offering another level of convenience.
It could prove to be a great way to help you take control of your finances and, ideally, will help boost competition in the banking sector too, and with so many different accounts on offer – and the number only ever increasing – it could help you decide which one is right for you.
Will you want a high-interest account, one from a supermarket that offers loyalty points, or perhaps a packaged account that comes complete with insurance products and extra incentives? It all comes down to your own circumstances, so before this new system comes into effect, make sure to do your research and see which account suits your financial lifestyle.
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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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