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New bank switching rules: your questions answered

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From today, new rules will make it easier for you to switch current accounts.

The new Current Account Switch Service will let you safely and reliably switch your accounts between banks in 7 days, with a guarantee that you will be fully protected against any financial loss if a problem occurs during the switch.

We answer some of the most frequently asked questions:

What is the point of these new rules?

Brits are renowned for staying loyal to their banks. In fact they are more likely to stay faithful to their bank than their partner, research by Santander found. The average bank relationship lasts just over 16 years and one month, while the longest romantic relationship with a partner held by the average UK adult is 14 years and four months.

Despite the fact that many of us are dissatisfied with our bank, one out of six people has stayed with their bank for more than 30 years, with nearly a third saying they have stayed put simply out of habit.

In the current low interest rate environment, it is more important than ever to make our money work harder. The aim of the new service is to get more consumers searching for the best products while increasing competition in the high street and supporting the entry of new banks in the current account marketplace.

Will all banks and building societies offer the service?

Thirty three bank and building society brands – accounting for virtually 100% of the current account marketplace – will deliver the new switching service for consumers, small charities and small businesses, according to the Payments Council, the body responsible for the new rules.

Can I switch my account on a date that suits me?

Yes, you can select and agree a date with your new bank or building society and the process will start six working days before that date.

Will I have to tell my old bank or building society I’m switching?

No, you shouldn’t have to. From the moment you decide to switch, you will only need to speak to your new bank. All participating banks have signed up to a new guarantee which says existing payment arrangements, those going out (e.g. Direct Debits and standing orders) and those coming in (e.g. salary), will be transferred automatically from the old account to the new account. For 13 months, payments accidently sent to the old account will be automatically redirected to the new account and if something goes wrong with the switch, any lost interest or charges will be refunded by your new bank.

Can I switch my current account if I am overdrawn?

Yes, and your new bank or building society may be able to provide facilities to help you pay off any overdraft, subject to their normal lending criteria. If this isn’t the case you must make separate arrangements to repay your old bank or building society what you owe.

What if I change my mind?

You can cancel your switch up to seven working days before your switch date. After that only certain elements can be cancelled. Your new bank or building society will guide you through this process if you choose to do this.

Can I switch more than once?

Yes, as soon as you’ve switched (i.e. reached the agreed switch date with your new provider), you could switch again immediately – with all of the same guarantees – if you so desired.

What type of accounts can I switch using the new service?

The Current Account Switch Service is for current accounts only. If you would like to switch other account types, such as a savings account, you will need to ask your new bank or building society if they are able to help you do this.

Is the service free to use?


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