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Will the seven day switch tempt you to ditch your bank?

Clocks ticking

A new current account switching service launches in September, aiming to make it quicker and easier to switch banks. If you could switch within seven days would you ditch your bank?

Last month we revealed only 2% of consumers had switched bank account in the past year, whilst half of those surveyed had never switched at all.

Among some of the reasons given from people that had never switched, 48% said that moving to a new bank wouldn’t make enough difference, whilst a third felt that changing account was too much hassle.

Seven days to switch bank accounts

The process of switching bank differs considerably depending on the bank. It can take anything from 18 to 30 working days.

The new service will reduce the time it takes to switch to seven working days from account opening. All ingoing payments (e.g. salary) and outgoing payments (e.g. Direct Debits and standing orders) will be transferred to the new account. And any old payments made to the old account will be redirected to the new account for a period of 13 months.

On top of this, customers will be given a ‘Switch Guarantee’ which will mean they will be refunded for any interest and charges if anything goes wrong with the switch.

Refunds on charges if something goes wrong

For those feeling the hassle is the hindrance I wonder if new switching may be the catalyst needed. I must confess, I fall into the group of having never switched bank account and have held the same account since I was student. Though I think the switching service is a step in the right direction, for me I think portability of your account number would also help.

Some banks are tempting to lure us in by offers or promotions. Earlier this week NatWest/RBS launched the new Cashback Plus scheme on a range of debit cards for both existing and new customers. And First Direct increased its joining incentive from £100 to £125 for new customers.

But cash incentives need to also come with good customer service and better products, to get us through the door. The banks should also help us by making it easier to compare the cost of running a current account so we can find the right account for our needs.

So are the banks doing enough to help you find the right account or is the seven-day switch unlikely to prompt you to move accounts?


My first bank was Barclays, and after a dispute with them over substantial interest rate changes that seemed not to have been explicit, I kept the account but opened a new one with Nationwide and transferred recurring items. My needs are quite simple – chequebook, debit card, internet banking, local branch – and in 15 years I have had no complaints, on the contrary a good service and helpful staff. No charges. So if you have a bank that gives this, why change – what is the benefit. £100 is a one-off lure, a bit like taking BT broadband or Sky at half price for six months – the benefit then wears off!
If I was to change it would be for a serious problem and I would be prepared to take time to find an alternative. However if, for convenience reasons (moving to a new town for example), I did change then being assured that all my incoming and outgoing payments were transferred without hassle would be the main incentive, not so much a change in timescale.

I joined the District Bank in 1969, when I went to university. It soon became the National Westminster Bank. I know that NatWest is not the best option on paper, but having only two minor problems in over 40 years, I have never considered switching bank.

I thought the ‘District’ merged with or got taken over by Barclays but I cd be wrong… thought the National Provincial Bank amalgamated to form what is the ‘NatWest’ today.

In 1962 the District Bank [edited out by me] was acquired by the National Provincial Bank. District kept its separate identity until after the 1968 merger of National Provincial and Westminster Bank

Taken from Wikipedia

The District Bank was certainly operating under this name in 1969. Here is what the British Banking History Society has to say on the matter: ‘District Bank continued with its policy of opening new branches after this merger becoming the seventh largest of the London clearing banks by the 1950s. Gradually these small banks (Martins or William Deacons) were acquired by the larger clearing banks and the share capital of District Bank Limited (as it had become known) was acquired by National Provincial Bank Ltd in 1962 and it became part of the National Westminster Bank in 1970.’

I considered switching to the Midland Bank in 1980 because there was a branch on the campus of the university where I took up employment. However, the Midland was required to offer basic banking services to customers of other banks because it was the only one on campus.

I’ve switched banks 3 times in the last 30 years, the last time being 20 odd years ago. And I have no plans to switch now as I can see why they get #1 in nearly ever survey.

I’d rather someone reduced the time it takes to switch a CASH ISA from one provider to another. 15 days to have your money in some null space is wrong.

I presume you are talking about First Direct? They have the best customer service. On the rare times they are busy, you get a message telling you they are busy and try later or I think you can leave your number for them to call you back.
I was disappointed when they stopped giving interest on their current accounts but I won’t be switching any time soon.

Sorry alfa that’s just too much information to put out on a “public” forum, hence I didn’t use the name. Although my 1st draft did, oopsie.

If you had one of their nice offset mortgages you wouldn’t be getting interest on that money anyway but you’d be saving on mortgage interest.

And look at their Regular Saver option last year it paid 8% this year its paying 6% but only on £300 per month.

I have never changed my main bank account. As I have never used an overdraft facility or incurred bank charges and am happy with the service see no reason to do so.

Agree with William cash ISA switch times are far too long.