Switching bank accounts set to become far easier

Steve Dinneen
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Switching bank accounts could become far easier following recommendations put forward by the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB).

The panel believes greater ease and flexibility in changing from one retail bank to another will introduce more competition into the sector and force banks to offer a better service.

Among the recommendations are that banks should be more transparent in the way accounts are run, and how in-credit balance interest rates are set so customers can directly compare them. It also says banks should speed up the time it takes to switch accounts and eventually allow customers to change banks while retaining their original account number, meaning direct debits and standing orders would not need to be changed over.

Neville Richardson, chief executive of The Co-operative Financial Services, said: “We welcome the Commission’s report, especially its call for a ‘radically improved’ system of switching accounts.

“We agree with the Commission that it should be possible to find ways of making switching easier at reasonable cost.”