More trade current accounts

The Payments Council has today released its half-yearly figures which demonstrate a steadily-growing appetite among consumers for switching current accounts.

The latest figures show there were 592,695 current account switches between January 1 and June 30, which is up by around 16% compared to the same time last year before the Current Account Switch Service was introduced.

Better competition

The Current Account Switch Service (also known as the 7-day switch) launched in September 2013, and made moving to a new current account provider easier – guaranteeing switchers they’d be settled with their new bank or building society in seven working days and providing a 13-month redirect service to make sure no payments made to their old account are lost.

The 7-day switch was brought in after the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) published a review of the current accounts market, in which it said competition wasn’t good enough, and that customers could be missing out on the best deals because the switching process was off-putting.

Greater confidence

The latest figures also found that two thirds (67%) of the public are now aware they can move to a new account in seven days – marginally higher than the 64% recorded at the beginning of the year. And that 65% of the public are now confident about how the switch service works – an improvement on the 63% in January.

Adrian Kamellard, chief executive of the Payments Council said: “Awareness and confidence levels are up as individuals, small businesses and charities are getting the message that switching has become easy and straightforward.”

Since the service launched last year, more than 910,000 switches have been successfully completed, and the redirection service has rerouted 3million payments from a switched customer’s old account to their new one.

Perhaps the best news however is that 99% of switches this year have lived up to the service’s name, and been completed in seven working days.

Kevin Mountford, head of banking at MoneySuperMarket, said of the figures: “Despite the Current Account Switch Service being less than a year old, the signs are encouraging. But switching numbers are still relatively small and, with current account offerings improving all the time, many consumers could still be missing out.”

Switch your current account in 7 days

Better deals

Tesco Bank for example, is a one of the most recent additions to the current account market that pays more interest than you could find on a regular savings account – plus other perks. You can read more about it with Jessica Bown’s Focus On.

And elsewhere, there are cash incentives on offer to convince you to ‘break up with your bank’. First Direct, for example, will pay you £125 when you switch via MoneySuperMarket. What’s more, you’ll get a further £100 if you’re unhappy enough to leave the bank within 12 months.

If you want to switch but you’re unsure of your options, check out Melanie Wright’s run-down of the best current accounts of the day.

Kevin Mountford said: “There are some great deals available with a number of accounts offering credit interest rates that beat even the best savings accounts. Others offer interest-free overdrafts, free travel insurance, cashback – while some will even pay you to switch.

“In short, there is a real array of options so there should be something to please everyone, and no one should be paying over the odds.”

Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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