From September, switching current accounts is set to be faster and easier. A switching guarantee will hopefully give extra confidence to customers – do you trust your bank to help you move elsewhere?
Let’s face it, with the reputation of the banking industry the way it is at the moment, it’s difficult to trust what they say. So, when I hear about a new initiative that’s supposed to be of benefit to customers, forgive me if I take it with a handful of salt.
But come September 2013, a positive change will finally arrive. A new bank account switching service will be introduced, allowing you to punish your provider for poor service by moving your money to a new home in just seven working days.
And now, the Payments Council (the body that looks after anything to do with payment services) has announced the details of the switching guarantee. The announcement has given me a glimmer of hope that this new service might actually deliver something positive for bank account customers.
Switching with confidence
The guarantee includes the following details:
- The service is free to use and is guaranteed
- Your new bank will take care of the movement of all of your payments going in and out
- If you have money in your old account, it will be moved to your new account on your switch date
- For 13 months, your new bank will arrange for payments made to your old account to be redirected automatically to your new account
- If anything goes wrong, your new bank will refund any interest paid or lost on either your old or new account as a result of the failure
These simple rules feel like a relative breath of fresh air – but the government could’ve been more ambitious in developing a service that would really empower the customer.
We think the government should introduce portable account numbers, allowing you to take your account number with you from bank to bank. We need a better system if we’re going to make switching truly hassle-free.
Will you try speedy switching?
The last time we wrote about current account switching, you shared some of your frustrations with the current system. Sue 1969 said:
‘I have been trying to switch bank accounts from Lloyds to HSBC, where my husband banks. I have been told that it would be straightforward, but it hasn’t been and two months later I’m still trying to switch.’
And some of you were cynical about the new service working. Alan said: ‘This seven-day time limit sounds like another promise the banks will break’.
So will this new switching service encourage you to move banks when their service is poor?