The Payments Council published a six-month dashboard for the new Current Account Switch Service, covering the period from the start of October 2013 to the end of March 2014.
More than two-thirds of people (67%) in the UK are now aware of the Current Account Switch Service, which is up from 59% at the end of 2013. Customer confidence in the service is similarly high, increasing from 58% to 65% over the same time period.
High awareness and confidence in the service has helped to contribute to an increase in switching levels. In the six-month period to the end of March 2014, there were 609,300 switches. This represents a 14% increase on the number of switches during the same time period one year previous when there were 532,500 switches.
Gary Hocking, Managing Director of the Payments Council, said: "By making the Current Account Switch Service quick, hassle-free and removing the fear factor we've taken away the barriers customers told us they had when it came to switching. Six months in and the latest figures suggest people clearly seem to be getting the message that things have changed for the better.
"There's also been a noticeable surge of advertising activity from current account providers big and small, suggesting that the new service is helping foster competition and choice for customers. As time goes on and the track record of the new service builds, we look forward to these encouraging results continuing."
Issues one and two of the Current Account Switch Service Dashboard are available to download from the resources part of the Current Account Switch Service section on the Payments Council website (www.paymentscouncil.org.uk).
To help people that have decided to switch their current account, the Payments Council has produced a simple checklist of actions to consider before you switch to help you get the most out of your move:
Think about the kind of account you need: It's worth reviewing how you use your current account to work out the best kind of account for the way you want to use it. Whether you end each month in the red or the black may determine which account you selectt. Comparison websites such as the Money Advice Service, moneysupermarket.com and uSwitch can help you choose.
Make sure your bank details are correct: To prevent delays to your switch the details you give your new bank need to match those on record at your old bank. So make sure the information held by your current or old bank is up-to-date and correct. For instance, you may have recently got married and not changed your name, or you may have moved and not notified your old bank of your new address.
Make sure your switch is feasible: The Current Account Switch Service covers joint account switches, if both named parties on the account authorise the move and provide their own individual personal and debit card details to the new bank or building society. It's not possible to switch a joint account to a sole account, and you will not be able to use the service to switch a savings or an ISA account.
Will you need access to old statements?: If you think you'll need access to your old statements you'll need to download them from your online bank account or get hard copies from your old bank before you switch.
Spring-clean your finances: Use your switch as an opportunity to 'spring-clean' your finances. Check all your regular payments. If there are any you no longer use or want, it makes sense to cancel them rather than switch them to your new account.
Choose your switch date: Account opening and account switching are separate processes. As part of the account opening process your new bank or building society has to carry out various checks to make sure you are who you say you are. Once complete you'll then be able to choose and agree a switch date with your new bank or building society - from this point the switching process itself takes seven working days.
Have a bank statement and your debit card with you when you switch: You can help ensure your switch starts smoothly by showing your new bank or building society an up-to-date bank statement that details your name and current address. In addition you should show your new bank your existing debit card, which will help them carry out the additional security checks they are required to undertake.