Rules introduced by the financial regulator in 2013 made it much simpler to move a current account from one bank or building society to another.
In the past, potential switchers had been put off by concerns that the changeover would take too long or that important payments, such as mortgages, would be missed if the transfer did not run smoothly.
New rules to protect switchers
But now, all UK current account providers offer the Current Account Switch Guarantee.
This means that you should be able to complete the switch within seven working days, and that the changeover should take place on the day of your choosing.
The guarantee also states that standing orders and direct debits will be automatically moved across and that any payments made to or requested from your old account in error will be transferred to the new one for 13 months after the switch.
Finally, if you encounter any problems, such as missed payments as a result of the switch, your new bank will be responsible for refunding you any lost interest or late-payment charges.
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Step 1: Choose your new bank
The first step in making a switch is to choose the bank you want to switch to. A new provider could offer a number of advantages or inducements, such as:
- A higher level of interest on credit balances.
- Lower overdraft charges or interest rates, or a different way of charging for overdrafts that could save you money.
- Better customer service.
- A cash incentive for switching.
Step 2: Open your new account
You should contact the bank you want to move to and arrange to open a new account. Tell them you want to move your current account from your existing provider, and the new bank will confirm they will use the Current Account Switch Service which is backed by the Current Account Switch Guarantee as described above.
Step 3: Make the switch
When your new account is open, you can make the switch. This involves completing a Current Account Switch Agreement form and a Current Account Closure Instruction form for your old bank.
You can choose a switch date with your new bank, but this must be at least seven working days after the opening of your new account.
Your new bank will let you know when the switch has started and confirm the date it will be completed. Your old account will be available for use as normal, right up until the switch date.
On this date your money will be moved over, as will all of your regular payments, and your old account will be closed.
Read our guide to ISAs.