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Switching bank accounts to become easier

Switching bank accounts to become easier

Category: Banking

Updated: 09/02/2012
First Published: 05/07/2011

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Switching bank accounts is to become a far easier process over the next two years, the Payments Council has said.

The UK's bank account switching process is considered to be one of the most effective in Europe, but the organisation said the improvement project will deliver real benefits to customers by the end of 2013.

Less than one in ten people (8%) switched bank account in the last five years, despite a large push by a number of banks to secure new customers.

Most people (80%) who take the plunge and switch their current account provider said they were satisfied with the experience.

However, at present only outgoing payments such as direct debits and standing orders are moved automatically, meaning it is still the customer's responsibility to notify anyone paying money into their account - such as their employer - of their new account details.

The Payments Council wants to make account switching trouble-free for customers by also ensuring any incoming payments are automatically switched to a customer's new account.

It will also look to reduce how long it takes to switch an account from around 18 to a guaranteed maximum of seven working days.

Underpinning all these important changes, the Payments Council is to draw up a guarantee that will outline what customers can expect when they switch their current account.

While it is hoped that customers will see a real benefit in two years, changes are to be phased in.

"We are looking to give customers total peace of mind that they can switch their bank account with ease," Gary Hocking, acting chief executive at the Payments Council commented.

"A generation ago most people would only have had a handful of regular payments set up on their account but nowadays most of us would struggle to remember all the payments we've signed up to - from regular savings to mobile phone payments.

"This makes it ever more important that the process to switch bank accounts is trouble-free.

"We want a comprehensive switching system that makes life easy for the customer - so that all outgoing and incoming payments are automatically switched too."

What next?

Find and compare basic bank accounts
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Read our tip: Should you switch current account

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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