Ditch your bad bank for a better deal
1. A few years ago it was said that Britons were more likely to leave their partners than their banks. The typical current account customer stays put for 17 years while the average marriage lasts just 11 and a half years.
2. That was probably because switching used to be onerous and not always perfect: direct debits could go astray, for example.
3. Thankfully the process has now improved and more people are moving. An added incentive is that some current accounts now pay higher interest rates than savings accounts, although this tends to be on smaller amounts of money.
4. If you want to switch, the first thing is to find the account you want to move to. Check out comparison sites and Money Saving Expert. The best account will depend on how you use it. If you go overdrawn regularly, you’ll want a low borrowing rate, but this might mean paying a monthly fee. If you never go overdrawn, you won’t want to pay a fee. An account which pays interest on your balance would be better.
5. You might get a switching bonus of £100 or more. Don’t be too swayed by this and read the conditions (you might have to pay in a minimum amount each month, for example).
6. Look for a bank which uses the Current Account Switch Service. This promises that it will take only seven working days and be fee-free to switch from your old account to the new one.
7. You need to open the account at the new bank first before shutting down the old one. You'll have to provide identity and proof of address documents. Your new bank will give you a switch agreement form and an account closure form.
8. You can choose when your account should be switched over. It should be at least seven days after your new account has been opened and it will have to be on a working day.
9. After the date is confirmed, you'll use your old account until this date. On the agreed day, your new bank will move your incoming and outgoing payments (such as your monthly mortgage payment) over to your new account. It will also transfer over your balance from your old account.
10. You'll then get confirmation the process is completed. If there are problems, you can use the Current Account Switch Guarantee. Under this guarantee your new bank will arrange payments made by accident to your old account for 36 months after your move. It will also tell the sender of the misdirected payment your new account details.
- There are 40 members of the Current Account Switch Service. Check the list here.
- Find the best current accounts at Moneyfacts here.
- More information on switching and help doing it is available at uSwitch here.
Last updated 30 April 2018.