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Gocompare.com launches enhanced current account comparison service to encourage more switching

26 March 2015
  • New service will pioneer the use of the government's midata initiative
  • Only service of its kind in the UK
  • 40% of banking customers have NEVER switched current accounts
  • 23% haven't switched for more than 10 years

Today (26 March) Gocompare.com, the price comparison website, launches its new current account comparison service, which makes use of midata to enable people to carry out more meaningful current account comparisons. For the first time customers of the big five banks - Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Santander - and Nationwide building society, will be able to use information from their statements to compare all personal bank accounts on the market to see which one is best for them. This innovation is expected to increase switching by empowering people to use the data that companies hold about them to their own advantage.

Around 1.6 million* people have switched their accounts since the seven-day current account switch guarantee scheme came into force in September 2013, but people are still reluctant to change bank accounts according to research from Gocompare.com, with 40% admitting that they have never switched.**

Nearly a quarter (24%) of those surveyed said that they haven't switched as they can't see how they would benefit from a new account, despite a third (32%) admitting that they would switch if they knew they could get a better deal on their current account.

Gocompare.com's midata current account comparison service will help people find out which current account is best for them by allowing them to compare all basic, packaged and standard bank accounts currently on the market. Customers of banks that haven't signed up to the midata initiative will not be able to use the midata comparison service in full as their banks have not yet agreed to provide the downloadable statements.

The comparison tool has been developed as part of the government's midata initiative, which aims to give consumers better access to and control over the electronic data that companies holds about them. The purpose of the initiative is to help customers make better buying decisions based on how they actually use their current account.

Launching Gocompare.com's midata current account service, City Minister Andrea Leadsom MP, said: "This innovation will put much more control in the hands of customers and could transform the current account market. It will help customers understand how they are spending their money and whether they can get the best deal.

"It's also very important that customers know their data is protected if they wish to take advantage of this new tool, which is why I'm pleased the banking industry has worked closely with the government and the Information Commissioner's Office to make sure safeguards are in place, particularly around anonymising an individual's banking data."
Gocompare.com's new current account comparison service could help the 21% of consumers who admitted that they find it hard to compare current accounts, and the 21% who said that they don't know which current account is the best one for them.

Matt Sanders, Gocompare.com's banking spokesman, said: "Our midata comparison tool is an exciting innovation in the current account market and we're excited to be leading the way by helping people use their real financial records to provide more meaningful current account comparisons. Enabling people to make better-informed financial decisions is at the heart of what we do as a company, and by making use of midata we can enable our customers to use their actual current account data to help them find what's really right for them.

"And it seems that midata for current accounts couldn't have come at a better time, as our research has found that only 8% of people have switched banks in the past 12 months, and of those 44% did so to take advantage of the incentives offered by a different bank. Clearly customers are being swayed by marketing messages, but with access to the tailored comparison we can provide them with, they can also decide what account is best for them once these incentives or introductory offers have passed too."

Matt added: "A third (32%) of people admitted to us that they would be more likely to switch current accounts if they knew they could get a better deal elsewhere, and 13% said that they hadn't switched as they didn't know how to find the best account for them.

"This is why midata is a much-needed development in the current account market. Many personal banking customers find themselves baffled by incentives, charges and interest payments, but don't have the time to search through each account separately to see which is the best one for their circumstances. By using midata they can do this quickly, easily and accurately."

For more information about midata, read Gocompare.com's guide here: www.gocompare.com/money/midata/

There's also an interactive guide to banking and how midata will drive innovation in the sector here: www.gocompare.com/current-accounts/midata/

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Notes to editors:

* Source: Payments Council

** From March 16th 2015 to March 17th 2015 an online survey was conducted among 2,005 randomly selected British adults age 18+ who are also Springboard United Kingdom Community members. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 1.8%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current data on age, gender, region, and education from the most recent census data, to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of the UK. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.