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Current account switching soars

Withdrawing money from a cashpoint16/1/14

By Ian Lewis

More than 3,000 customers a day have been switching their current account since a guarantee was launched to make changing banks easier, new figures show.

According to the Payments Council, which is overseeing the guarantee, just over 306,000 people switched during the final three months of 2013.

The figure was 17 per cent up on the same period in 2012, suggesting the move is encouraging competition in the sector.

Under the switching guarantee a customer's old account is automatically closed and their new bank or building society arranges for existing incoming and outgoing payments to be transferred.

Time it takes to change bank is cut

It has also cut the time it takes to change banks from up to 30 working days to just seven.

Meanwhile it is entitling customers to be refunded any interest and charges if anything goes wrong during the process.

Payments Council's CEO, Adrian Kamellard, said: "We have set out to eradicate any concern customers may have had in the past about switching their current account.

"Although our work isn't yet done, we have got off to a great start.

"Even though the current account switch service only launched a few months ago most people are already aware of it and are confident in it.

"More than 300,000 switches in three months is an encouraging start.

Switch service boosted by national advertising campaign

"We hope this will be further boosted by the second wave of our national advertising campaign that kicked off this January."

The switches made so far include more than 280,000 people covered by the guarantee.

The other 25,000 who moved their accounts were not covered as they opted to also keep their old bank account open.

The Payments Council says the number who switched in December was 54 per cent up on the same month the previous year.

Meanwhile more than 900,000 payments have been swapped over to new accounts since the guarantee's launch last September.

Changing banks quicker and easier

The results of a survey also suggest that people are aware of the current account switch guarantee service and have confidence that it will make changing banks quicker and easier.

Almost three-fifths of consumers said they were aware of the service by December.

Three-quarters believe the guarantee will make switching faster and more hassle-free while 58 per cent said they are confident about how it works.

Customer awareness of the scheme has been targeted through national TV, radio and newspaper advertising.

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