There are hundreds of bank accounts to choose from, which means you can find a good deal whether you want to:
- earn interest on a credit balance
- cut the cost of your overdraft
- collect rewards or cashback for spending, or
- aim for a higher standard of customer service (using the ratings we supply).
The switching process is quick and easy, thanks to the free, government-backed Current Account Switch Service.
7-Day switching – you can bank on it
The Current Account Switch Service was introduced by the government and the banking sector in 2013 to take the hassle and anxiety out of switching current account.
This service introduced guaranteed 7-day switching, where the bank or building society you’re moving to commits to transferring everything over to your new current account within seven working days.
That doesn’t include weekends or bank holidays, and the timer starts from when you’ve chosen your new account, and have passed all the necessary ID checks with your new bank.
Your new bank will let you know that the switch is in progress and confirm the switching date.
Your new bank will let you know that the switch is in progress and confirm the switching date
When you switch accounts with the Current Account Switch Service, all your outgoing payments, such as direct debits and standing orders, are transferred automatically within seven working days.
So too are your incoming payments, including salary and any rental or pension income. You can even switch your overdraft as long as you meet the eligibility criteria and the new bank agrees.
Many people worry that switching will cause problems, with unpaid direct debits and incoming payments, such as their salary, going astray.
But the bank or building society you’re switching to guarantees that, in the unlikely event of a problem arising, it will sort things out, including taking care of any costs or penalty charges that might arise as a result.
The service redirects any payments that accidentally go to your old account into your new account for 36 months after the switching date.
Choosing an account
The first step to switching is to pick a current account that meets your banking needs.
For example, you might want a bank that offers a branch network or an account that pays interest on credit balances.
A number of banks and building societies offer incentives to switch, which is all well and good, but should not be the deciding factor. After all, you will probably be with your bank long after you have spent the £100 switching incentive.
If you are bewildered by the type and number of accounts on offer, MoneySuperMarket’s free comparison service is a simple way to search for the best deal.
We have details of all the leading current accounts at the click of a mouse so you can be confident that you are picking the right deal for you.
When you have chosen a suitable account on the MoneySuperMarket currents accounts page, you should click through to the bank’s website. You can then begin the process of switching
You will usually have to fill in an application form, undergo a credit check and provide proof of identity and address, such as a passport and a utility (gas/electricity/water) bill.
If the new bank accepts your application, you will have to complete a Current Account Switch Agreement form and a Current Account Switch Service – Account Closure form.
Once that’s done, your new bank will let you know that the switch is in progress and confirm the switching date.
It’s worth bearing in mind that you can nominate any switching date, as long as you allow at least seven working days for the transfer process. You can also continue to use your old account as normal until the nominated switching day.