TREASURY Select Committee member and Tory MP Andrea Leadsom has called for regulators to force banks to allow customers to keep their account number if they switch to a new bank.
The Payments Council, which is working with the government on a plan to dramatically reduce the time it takes to switch accounts, said the move would be too costly.
But former banker Leadsom told the Mail on Sunday that portability would make it easier to switch accounts and would enhance competition. She said it "might take a regulatory push to make it happen".
Her stand follows a poll released by Which? last week, in which 59 per cent said that they would be more likely to move banks if they could take their account number with them.
In the same paper, Alison Brittain, head of retail banking at Lloyds Bank, reiterated the bank's support for free banking. "I don't think the British public would welcome [an end to free banking] and I don't think it would enhance the reputation of the banking industry," she said.