Modest start for UK account switching service
22 October 2013 | 3483 views | 1
About 89,000 Brits have switched their bank account provider in the four weeks since a new system designed to make the process quicker and easier was introduced.
The figure represents a modest 11% rise on the same period the previous year but has been dubbed an "encouraging start" by Payments Council CEO Adrian Kamellard.
The free service allows people to switch account providers within seven working days, down from the previous average of 18 to 30 days. Customers do not need to liaise with their old provider and get to choose the exact date of the move, with all outgoing and incoming payments redirected to the new account.
Despite polls suggesting that millions of Brits would be prepared to ditch their current bank when the process was simplified, the Payments Council stresses that the four week numbers are just a snapshot and that it is too early to say whether the rise represents a long-term trend.
Says Kamellard: "We never expected that every customer who is tempted to switch would rush out to do so at launch, but this is an encouraging start...Across the entire industry huge amounts of work continues to be put in to ensure that customers get the commitments made in the guarantee. It is by getting this right that we can deliver on the objectives of increasing competition and providing greater choice for customers."
Metro Bank, a new high street player, has unsurprisingly benefited from the service, winning business from its more established rivals. The firm claims to have seen a 100% rise in the number of customers switching to it, 83% from the big six.
Meanwhile, Kevin Mountford, head of banking at MoneySuperMarket, says that although "expectations across the industry may have been higher" the figures, and the fact that switches have gone smoothly, is encouraging.