Switching current accounts to get quicker and easier

Turbo piggybank
A visual representation of rapid current account switching using a familiar piggy bank motif. Can't you tell?
"With a guarantee of having the process wrapped up in a week, we expect many more people will take their business elsewhere" Matt Sanders, Gocompare.com
  • | by Kristian Dando

Never mind donning a Guy Fawkes mask and chaining yourself to a railing in London’s financial district - one of the best ways you can register your disgust with your bank is by taking your trade elsewhere.

But with everyday bank accounts currently taking anything between 18 and 30 days to be successfully switched, that’s easier said than done. In fact, according to research from Gocompare.com, only 37% of people have ever switched their current accounts.

But from September, it’ll be much easier and quicker to do this than ever before, following the introduction of the new Current Account Switch Service. This is backed by a Current Account Switch Guarantee, which will ensure that anyone switching to a participating bank or building society will have their account moved in seven working days.

It’s not a legal measure imposed by government, rather an agreement between banks and building societies who are keen to be seen as customer friendly following the various debacles of the past couple of years.

Pretty much every major bank and building society is participating in the Current Account Switch Service – you can see which ones are getting involved by checking out the list to the left.

The new service will offer the following benefits:

  • You can nominate a date to switch that suits you.
  • It will ensure money coming in (salary payments, for instance) and money going out (such as Direct Debits and standing orders) will automatically be moved to the new account.
  • Any payments sent to or attempted to be taken from the old account will be automatically redirected to the new account for a period of 13 months. So there’s no danger of going overdrawn because a payment is taken from the old account and there’s no money there to cover it.
  • You’ll receive a refund of any fees or charges on your old and new current account if something does go wrong.
  • You won’t need to talk to your current bank or building society if you want to switch accounts. All you need to do is apply for a new account and the bank or building society you’re moving to will take care of the switch for you.

“People have often been put off switching current accounts because of the perceived disruption they think it will cause them with direct debits, standing orders, and generally just getting their hands on their money on a day-to-day basis," says Matt Sanders, banking expert at Gocompare.com.

"The length of time to complete switching banks may also have made people think that it’s not worth the hassle.

“Research we conducted earlier this year this found that 37% of people  had never switched their current account, but with a guarantee of having the process wrapped up in a week, we expect many more people will take their business elsewhere.

"In the past, banks and building societies have relied on people not switching account and this change is designed to shake the market up and encourage more competition, which can only be a good thing.”

Compare current accounts with Gocompare.com.