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Backing for portable bank account numbers grows

Backing for portable bank account numbers grows

Category: Banking

Updated: 13/12/2012
First Published: 16/06/2011

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 It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Consumers would be more likely to move their bank account to a better deal if portable bank account numbers were introduced, an influential panel has suggested.

The Financial Services Consumer Panel said fully portable account numbers would make it easier for consumers to move their account.

Many bank customers fail to realise that considerable differences are often apparent between the interest rates, charges and special offers available from different bank account providers.

A reluctance to switch current accounts means many people are missing out.

"It's only a matter of time before 'trouble-free switching' of current accounts takes-off in the UK, and consumer savvy bank customers start shopping around," said Consumer Panel member Mike Dailly.

"Greater competition between banks and 'trouble-free switching' will drive choice and value for money for consumers.

"Fully portable account numbers would be a great leap in the direction of greater competition as seen in the mobile phone industry."

The call comes just a couple of months after the Independent Commission on Banking made a similar recommendation.

This would mean direct debits and standing orders would no longer need to be transferred from the old account.

Although the proposed reforms are welcome, changing bank accounts now is not as hard as most people think.

Barclays, Halifax, NatWest and RBS are amongst those currently offering some excellent deals on all sorts of accounts.

Halifax Reward Current Account pays a regular £5 per month instead of interest on the account, while switching to the NatWest and RBS Current Account could see you earn up to £125 in cashback.

Barclays offers a number of different accounts, ranging from:

The straightforward Barclays Basic Bank Account to Barclays Current Account Plus to the benefit-heavy Barclays Additions Active Account.

Your new current account provider will contact your old one for a list of your direct debits and standing orders, before asking you to confirm which ones you want to move.

Letting your employer, pension provider and anyone else who pays money into your account know of your new current account details will be about as far as your responsibilities have to go.

The transfer should take no longer than four weeks to complete, while you'll be reimbursed should anything go wrong and you end up out of pocket.

Our bank account best buys include the latest and greatest accounts from all the top providers.

From basic bank accounts through to packaged accounts, there should be something to suit everyone.

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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.