UK bank account switching service ready for September launch

UK bank account switching service ready for September launch

A new system designed to make it easier and quicker for Brits to switch their current account from one bank to another will launch next month.

With 33 bank and building societies brands - accounting for virtually 100% of the current account marketplace - on board and signed up to the Current Account Switch Guarantee, the service will go live a month today.

The free service means that switches will be completed in seven working days, down from the current average of 18 to 30 days. Customers get to choose the exact date of the move, with all outgoing and incoming payments, such as direct debits and salaries, redirected to the new account.

Adrian Kamellard, chief executive, Payments Council, says: "There is now just one month to go until the launch of the Current Account Switch Service and as final preparations are made for launch we look forward to a new era of account switching which will lead to greater choice for customers and wider competition in the marketplace."

The service, which has cost the industry in the region of $750 million, has been in the pipeline for two years, having been recommended by the Independent Commission on Banking. Initially the Commission looked at full account number portability, which would have cost anything up to £5 billion, but eventually settled for the emasculated "redirection service".

However, politicians have not yet given up on the idea of full portability in the future. At a recent Swift business forum Tory MP and Treasury Select Committee member Mark Garnier voiced his support for going further than the current system, an opinion echoed by Baroness Susan Kramer, a member of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards.

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