Published Monday, 23 September 2013
The Payments Council has introduced a new current account switching service to make it quicker and simpler to switch account.
This new service promises to:
- Reduce the amount of time it takes to switch an account from around eighteen days to seven working days;
- Provide an account switching guarantee that consumers can rely on; and
- Automatically switch incoming payments to the new account.
Here's our guide to shopping around and getting the right account to suit you.
Step one: Ask yourself...
- What do I want from the account? A bank card to pay for goods in shops, by
phone or online? A cheque book? To be able to pay bills by direct debit?
- Do I need a branch nearby or could I do my banking by phone or online?
- What is the cost of running the account?
- How much will it cost if I slip into the red?
- Do I want an overdraft or buffer zone in case I have to go overdrawn?
- Do I want to pay a monthly fee for extras like travel insurance?
- Do I want to get interest for money I have in my account?
Step two: Shop around and choose a bank and account that suits you
You can shop around by contacting the banks/ building societies directly, searching their websites or calling into the branch for further information. Alternatively there are also a number of comparison websites that provide information on bank accounts and other financial products. Choose the type of account that suits you best and remember to check fees and charges and the terms and conditions before applying.
Step three: Make the switch
Once you've decided which account you want to switch to, you need to contact that bank or building society.
If you switch, your new bank will sort everything out.
Once you have selected your new account and informed the bank, they will do all the work for you.
The new bank will tell you:
- How switching your account works;
- What information it will get from your old bank;
- What features your new account will have; and
- How long it should take to complete the switch.
Once your application has been approved, you should be able to use your new account after seven working days. They will also transfer your direct debits, standing orders and your balance.
What you will need to do
If you receive regular payments into your account (such as a wage or benefits) you should tell the payer (for example, your employer or benefits agency) the details of your new account.
If there are any mistakes made by the banks the new bank will refund any associated fees and charges.
The current account switch guarantee
All current account providers offering the new switching service are promoting its
availability by using a Current Account Switch Guarantee Trustmark.
The guarantee means that your new bank will look after the whole process and should anything go wrong they will refund any charges as a result of the failure.
If you are unhappy with the switching service, complain directly to your bank.
If you are not satisfied with their response you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS helps settle individual disputes between banks and their customers and it is completely impartial and free. Call 0800 0234 567 or go to www.finanical-ombudsman.org.uk
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