Portable account numbers closer

Tim Wallace
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BANKS could be ordered to let customers take their account numbers with them when they move from one lender to another, the City watchdog said yesterday.

The Financial Conduct Authority is reviewing the seven-day account switching programme, which has been in place for one year.

If the FCA finds competition has not been sufficiently boosted by the scheme, it could tell banks to make accounts numbers as portable as mobile phone numbers.

It could help reassure customers their direct debits and their salary payments are safe, as the transfers would not have to be updated with the new numbers. However, banks fear the move would be expensive.