Banks to make shifting current accounts easier

Moving current accounts is to be made much easier. The banking industry has said that from September 2013 a new, simpler system of account transfer will allow customers to switch providers in just seven days.

The project, which could cost banks up to £850m, will not only allow quicker switching but should also eliminate errors. At present, despite tempting offers to switch providers, consumers often stay put because of fears over the potential for mistakes to be made and the time it can take to get a new current account up and running.

Louise Holmes, of the financial information service Moneyfacts, welcomed the move: "The ruling will be music to the ears of consumers.The process of moving accounts is often seen as drawn out and problematic, and some people choose to stay with their existing accounts to avoid the hassle," she said.

Crucial to the change will be the introduction of a redirection service; so, should businesses fail to update a customer's account details, the bank which lost that customer's business will forward it to the new bank.

Gary Hocking, the chief executive of the Payments Council, said this will provide a welcome "safety net" for switchers.

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