The UK’s flagship switching facility, the Current Account Switch Service is three years old today (16 September). Since launch, the switching engine has seen 3,240,640 successful switches – including 73,899 small business accounts – and reports a seven day switching success rate of 99.7 per cent.
And during that time, there have also been 150 enhancements to UK personal current accounts*, while the number of banking providers offering the service has risen from 33 to 43.
The Current Account Switch Service gives individuals, small businesses, charities, and trusts a simple and reliable way of switching current accounts; it was designed to increase competition within the banking sector, support the entry of new banks, and make it easier when switching from one bank or building society to another. A new multi-million pound media campaign to further raise awareness and confidence in the service launches this Saturday (17 September), and a brand new website is also being rolled out at www.currentaccountswitch.co.uk
Anne Pieckielon, Bacs’ Director of Product and Strategy, is responsible for the service. She said: “Since the Current Account Switch Service was launched, we’ve worked hard to keep pace with changing needs, collaborating across the industry and with government and regulators – such as the Competition and Markets Authority – to provide a world class switching service for individual customers, and smaller businesses and charities.
“An important element of our work is to make sure that people, as well as small businesses and charities, understand how easy it is to switch between banking providers using the service, and our new advertising campaign will help to inform these important audiences still further.”
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Simon Kirby MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said: “Increasing competition in banking is part of the government’s plan to make sure that every customer can access the best deal for them. This is why we pushed the industry to introduce seven day switching in 2013.
“Three years on, I’m delighted that more than three million switches have taken place and more banks than ever are providing this service to customers.
“The seven day Current Account Switch Service allows customers to hold their banks to account by allowing them to vote with their feet and switch where they see a better deal – simply, quickly and reliably.”
There has already been a series of key developments to the service since launch to meet changing customer and regulatory needs. These include:
*Current Account Switch Guarantee: payments accidentally made to or requested from the old account are automatically redirected to the new account; the original time-limited redirection has now been extended with the redirection end-date removed.
*Improving awareness and confidence: Three quarters of people in the UK are aware of the service with nine out of 10 of those switching account satisfied with their experience. A new, multi-million pound media campaign aimed at further increasing awareness of, and confidence in, the service launches on 17 September.
*Assisting overdraft users: Bacs is working with banking providers to deliver harmonised account opening procedures across the industry, which will be designed to include confirmation of overdraft approval, as well as the amount and terms of the overdraft before a customer commits to the switch.
*Understanding switching behaviour: customer needs will continue to be the driving force behind future innovation, and Bacs is conducting a wide-ranging programme of research to better understand switching behaviour. As part of this, Bacs is supporting the Social Market Foundation (SMF) in its report: ‘Current Account Competition – understanding the evolution of Britain’s current account market.’
Information for customers on the Current Account Switch Service and links to participating banks and building societies are available at www.currentaccountswitch.co.uk.
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*Information taken from the SMF report ‘Current Account Competition – understanding the evolution of Britain’s current account market.’
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Notes to editors:
For further press information, please contact:
Damion Clark or Steve Greenhalgh at Real Public Relations.
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Daniel Scaife, PR and Social Media Manager, Bacs
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Kerris Macauley, Head of PR, Bacs
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Bacs has been maintaining the integrity of payment related services since 1968, with responsibility for the schemes behind the clearing and settlement of UK automated payment methods, Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit, as well as the provision of managed services for third parties, such as the Cash ISA Transfer Service, and the development, management and subsequent ownership of the Current Account Switch Service.
More than 110 billion transactions have been debited or credited to British bank accounts via Bacs since its inception; in 2015, 6 billion UK payments were made this way, while a new record was also set in April 2016 with the number of transactions processed by Bacs in a single day reaching a high of 103.7 million.
A not-for-profit entity which has maintained carbon neutral status since 2012, Bacs is a membership company limited by Guarantee.
For further information please visit www.bacs.co.uk
About the Current Account Switch Service:
Key features of the Current Account Switch Service include:
• The service is free to use.
• The switch will be completed in seven working days – a substantial improvement on the previous process that could take between 18 and 30 working days.
• The customer can choose and agree the switch date with their new current account provider.
• All payments going out (e.g. Direct Debits) and those coming in (e.g. salary) will be moved from the old account to the new account.
• Payments accidentally made to or requested from the old account will be automatically redirected to the new account for as long as the facility is required.
• The Current Account Switch Guarantee means that the customer will receive a refund of interest and charges on their old and new current accounts if anything goes wrong with the switch.
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As of 1 April 2015, the eligibility criteria for businesses, charities and trusts was extended. SMEs with a turnover of up to £6.5 million, small charities with an annual income of less than £6.5 million, and small trusts with a net asset value of less than £6.5 million can switch their current account provider using the Current Account Switch Service. The service was previously available for small businesses with a turnover of 2 million euros (or sterling equivalent); and this extension increases the reach of the service to 99% of the UK’s SME market.
Bacs is responsible for all aspects of the service including working on the recommendations in the Financial Conduct Authority’s ‘Making Current Account Switching Easier’ report, and the findings from the CMA’s market investigation into retail banking.
Previous dashboards and historic data is available at www.bacs.co.uk/factsandfigures. Participant data, published six months in arrears, is now incorporated into the main Current Account Switch Dashboard.