September 12 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Bank switching rises with 7-day service

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More and more people are switching bank accounts since a seven-day switching system was introduced.

Last September, moves were finally made to simplify the process of switching bank accounts. As part of a move to increase competition and make life easier for consumers, the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) was launched to ensure that customers could switch their accounts within seven days.

Direct debits and credits would also be changed over for them without any extra charges. According to new Payments Council figures published today, the scheme has been fairly successful so far.

This two-year project will see a total of £750 million invested in the design, building, testing and launch of the service by the time it ends. However, it is already being well used – in fact, the data shows that in just under a year since the launch, over 1.1 million switches have been made.

 

Overall, the results seem fairly positive – nearly nine out of ten consumers that switched said there was very little effort involved in switching accounts.

Encouragingly, 87 per cent of small businesses also said they had found it easy to switch. That should make it easier for individual and business customers to find a better deal and free up valuable cash in the process.

But not everyone has seemed pleased with progress so far. Earlier this week, head of the Financial Conduct Authority Martin Wheatley told MPs that the actual number of people changing their bank accounts is still “relatively low”.

 

The Financial Services Consumer Panel, which advises the authority, has called for an investigation into how customers are charged for bank accounts amid fears that complex bank charges are putting people off making the switch.

Still, the figures suggest that things are changing. Seven out of ten of those who hadn’t switched said they were aware of the Current Account Switch Guarantee which confirms the seven-day limit. Another 70 per cent of the public as a whole were aware of the Current Account Switch Service, while 61 per cent said they were confident they understood how it worked.

Since businesses and charities that had not switched were more likely to say they were happy with their current banks than any other reason, it may be that customers are genuinely getting a better deal.

Sarah Parkin

Sarah Parkin used to work as News Writer for LSBF.  Sarah is specialised in finance, technology and business news.

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