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Thousands more change bank accounts using seven day switch

Tahmina Mannan
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Tahmina Mannan

The number of people switching current accounts rose by 17% in the last three months of 2013 compared to the same period the previous year, according to figures from the Payments Council.

In total, there were 306,240 current account switches between September and December.

This represents a 17% year-on-year increase in switching levels, which totalled 261,122 in the last quarter of 2012.

The increase was even more marked for switches in the last month of the year.

There were 83,729 switches in December 2013, a 54% increase on the same month in 2012 when there were 54,329 switches.

New rules came into force last September which meant customers can switch current accounts safely and reliably between banks in 7 days, with a guarantee that the customer will be fully protected against any financial loss if a problem occurs during the switch.

Michael Ossei, personal finance expert at uSwitch.com, said: “We’re really encouraged by these figures – consumers are finally feeling confident enough to break free from the shackles of their old banks and move to a better deal.

“And, with cash incentives of up to £100 on offer as well as interest rates of up to 5% on in-credit balances, people have everything to gain by switching their current account. We’ve seen consumers on our website express the most interest in the First Direct 1st Account and the Halifax Reward account.

“The challenge facing the industry now is how to make competition work harder. Instead of the Big Four – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS – winning customers thanks to their hefty advertising budgets, we want to see the likes to TSB, Tesco, the Post Office and Metro Bank gaining a larger share of the market.”