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Tesco Bank halts current account switch requests

Written by: Emma Lunn
Tesco Bank is temporarily declining requests from customers to switch their current account to a new provider.

The bank announced last month that it was pulling out of the current account market and will close all current accounts by 30 November 2021.

The announcement led to a surge in switching requests via the Current Account Switching Service (CASS) – and Tesco can’t cope.

The bank said that once it accepts a switch request it has to be completed within a seven-day window. If it is not completed within that time period there is a risk to the customer that the switch would be incomplete, impacting their ability to use their current account.

Due to the volume of switch requests Tesco received shortly after the closure announcement there was a risk that it would not complete all switches within that seven-day period. As a result, the bank said it decided to decline some switches to avoid customers being in that situation, with customers able to continue using their Tesco Bank current account in the meantime.

Tesco Bank has about 213,000 current accounts and claims “only a very small proportion of the book” has been declined.

No timescale for switch requests

The bank said it was asking customers not to submit switch requests at the moment and that no timescale had been confirmed as to when the switching system would be back up and running.

Tesco said customers who’ve had a switch declined will be informed by text message. They will receive a further text to ask them to re-submit their switch once Tesco is able to accept it.

Some Tesco Bank customers have turned to social media to express their dissatisfaction.

One Tesco Bank customer Tweeted: “Ah yes, a letter to say we’re closing current accounts, move along. Go through the hoops to open a new bank account, ask the new bank to start the switch and Tesco says no, you’re staying here until the bitter end!”

Another Tweeted: “So @tescobank you close current accounts encourage customers to switch and then cancel the switch through the switching service.”

The Current Account Switching Service

In theory, switching current accounts using CASS is straightforward. The switching service ensures your credit balance, as well as your direct debits, standing orders and incoming payments are moved over to your new account, within seven working days.

Between April and June 2021 182,745 switches took place, an increase of 44,769 on the previous quarter. Over the course of the past year, from June 2020 to June 2021, a total of 646,569 switches were processed by the service.

Using CASS is the only way to receive switching incentives on offer from other banks. These incentives come and go and are often worth £100 to £140 in cash.

Tesco customers can still close their accounts, with account closures being processed as normal.

A spokesperson for Tesco Bank said: “Since we announced our current accounts are closing, we’ve received a high demand for current account switches, leading to delays for some customers. We’re contacting all customers affected to apologise for this temporary issue. In the meantime, customers can continue to use their Tesco Bank current accounts as normal.”

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