Seven-day switch could see millions change bank account

Current account cards

New switching rules could see one in five change their bank account, according to research from independent market researcher Consumer Intelligence.

From Monday 16 September legislation comes into place that means switching bank accounts can take no longer than seven days.

Figures from Metro Bank suggest the number of people who switch accounts could increase by a massive 90% in the next decade as a result.

In 2012 a modest 1.3 million people switched their current account (according to the British Banking Association, at the end of 2012 there were more than 141 million UK bank accounts in existence), but Metro Bank is estimating this will rising to 2.5 million people in 2023.

But Consumer Intelligence thinks many people will still see little benefit. Its analysis of more than 1,000 adults found 28% saw little point in switching "because most account accounts are very similar". Some 15% said they would be concerned about transferring their direct debits, and 11% are worried they wouldn't be offered an overdraft if they moved their account.

Reluctance to switch

David Black, banking specialist at Consumer Intelligence, says there is a lot of reluctance to change, but many of the reasons that put people off should not do so. "The new rules guarantee that direct debits and payments will be transferred to the new account correctly, for example, putting the onus on the banks to carry out the switch promptly and without error," he explains.

He points out that the research also found that of those who had previously switched accounts, three quarters had done so without any problems and 71% said they would recommend switching to others.

This article was written for our sister website Money Observer

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