How to... switch current account

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Four top tips on how to switch current account

1. Take advantage of a new pledge

From 16 September a new, simpler, bank account switching service will make it easier and quicker to transfer your current account from one provider to another. The new service is backed up by a “current account switch guarantee” ensuring that all incoming and outgoing payments will be transferred across to your new bank on your behalf.

2. Why has this been introduced?

Research has shown that very few people switch banks, due to the perceived hassle or a fear that something may go wrong. The new switch service looks to remove these barriers by offering a hassle-free process that 
is reliable and simpler for the consumer.

3. So, what’s new?

Initially, nothing has changed. You approach the institution where you would like to open a new current account and they will undertake their usual account opening procedures. They take responsibility for contacting the existing bank and transferring all your regular payments. Now they will also confirm that they will use the new switching service.

4. Benefits

It will only take seven working days to switch using the new service – an immediate improvement, as currently the process can take anywhere between 18 and 30 working days. With a seamless transition and a switch date that is convenient to you, you will continue to use the old account up until the switch date and then use the new account. Meanwhile existing payment arrangements – automated credits (like salary) and debits (such as bill payments and direct debits) – will transfer automatically from your old to your new account, together with any funds that you hold in the old account.

A new central redirection service ensures that any payments accidentally made to the old account after the switch date will be redirected to the new account automatically for a period of up to 13 months, with the originator of such payments being advised directly of the new account details in order to update their records for future payments.

The process will be managed by the new provider, meaning you have one point of contact throughout. Most major banks and building societies will offer a switch service – look out for the new “current account switch guarantee service trustmark”.

• Colin Campbell is manager at Mazars Financial Planning.