Errors in switching accounts put off customers

Fears over missed direct debit payments and administrative errors are stopping bank customers from switching current account providers according to Consumer Focus.

It found that three-quarters of customers who had not considered switching accounts fear potential costs when things go wrong, the hassle involved and the possibility of a negative effect on credit ratings. Only 7 per cent switched current accounts in the past two years, far lower than energy (31 per cent), telecoms (26 per cent) and home insurance (22 per cent).

Many of those who decide to switch experience problems: 44 per cent of consumers had problems when switching, more than a quarter of which involved direct debits.

"Until more people vote with their feet, there will not be enough pressure on banks to improve their performance. We need to promote switching and make it less error prone if we are to force the banks to raise their game," said Sarah Brooks, the head of financial services at Consumer Focus. In response, the British Bankers' Association said that it was easy for customers to switch and instances of direct debits being missed and errors were relatively rare.

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