A new "trustmark" that indicates a bank or building society will switch a customer's current account safely, securely, and with the minimum of hassle has been unveiled by the Payments Council.
The organisation, which oversees payment services in the UK, has launched the Current Account Switch Guarantee and Trustmark ahead of new rules on switching due to be introduced in September 2013.
At present it can take between 18 and 30 days to switch accounts, but the Payments Council is introducing its Current Account Switch Service in September, that guarantees switching will take only seven working days.
Ahead of that, the new trustmark will also inform customers they can expect a simple, hassle-free experience during the switching process. It guarantees that:
- The service is free to use.
- The customer can choose and agree the switch date with their new current account provider.
- The new current account provider will take care of moving all payments going out (e.g Direct Debits) and those coming in (e.g. salary).
- For 13 months the new current account provider will arrange for payments accidentally made to the old account to be automatically redirected to the new account.
- If anything goes wrong with the switch, as soon as it is told the new current account provider will refund any interest and charges made on either a customer's old or new current account as a result of the failure.
Confidence to switch
Adrian Kamellard, chief executive of the Payments Council, said: "Giving customers the confidence to switch current accounts is one of our main goals and the new Guarantee and Trustmark should really help achieve this regardless of whom you switch to or from.
"It sets out in simple terms what you should expect and how long it will take, with the added peace of mind that should anything go wrong your new current account provider is responsible to you for putting things right."
Kevin Mountford, head of banking at MoneySupermarket, said: "This heralds a major milestone ahead of the ‘seven day' switching process being introduced in September. The Guarantee and Trustmark provides reassurance and redress should things go wrong. Although in reality switching is usually relatively straight forward, this move could be a real turning point in improving switching rates in the current account market."