It will only take you seven working days to switch your bank account. In this section, we will discuss how to switch, the optimal time of the month to make the change, and what steps to take in the event that something goes wrong.
How do I change my existing bank account?
Because the majority of financial institutions have consented to use the new switching service, the transition from your previous account to the new one should take no more than seven business days from the time the new account is opened.
On the website of the Current Account Switch Service (CASS), you can conduct a search by name to determine which financial institutions, such as banks and building societies, are taking part in the event.
The switching service is mostly handled by computerised systems. The procedure is broken down into steps below, which detail exactly what takes place.
First, you’ll need to open a new bank account.
Step 2: Fill out an application for the account of your choice.
When you submit your application to the new provider, it will proceed with the opening of accounts in the usual manner.
When you open an account at a bank or building society, you will be asked to provide two separate documents as proof of identity and proof of address because financial institutions are required to comply with stringent rules regarding the laundering of money.
Following that, you will be required to fill out two forms: one titled “Current Account Switch Agreement” and another titled “Current Account Closure Instruction,” both of which will be provided to you by your new bank or building society.
Step 3: Be aware of your legal standing.
Your new financial institution, be it a bank or a building society, will let you know if it is participating in the Current Account Switch Guarantee and whether or not it is using the current account switching service.
Because of this guarantee, they will make any necessary adjustments to payments that were disrupted as a result of the switching process.
Step 4: Select a date for the switch.
You will have the ability to negotiate with the new bank or building society a date for the switch that is convenient for you.
It must be at least seven working days after your account was opened, and it cannot be a weekend day (Saturday or Sunday) or a bank holiday.
Your new bank will provide confirmation once this date has been agreed upon that the switch has begun and will be completed on the date that was previously agreed upon for the switch.
You can continue to use your old current account up until the date that has been agreed upon for the switch; however, during the seven working days leading up to the date that has been agreed upon for the switch, you should not set up any new payments such as direct debits or standing orders.
If there are any problems during this transition period, your new provider will get in touch with you.
Step 5: Begin making use of your brand-new account.
On the date of the switch, your new bank or building society will be responsible for moving any incoming and outgoing payments, as well as transferring any money to your new account. After this, they will close your old account and send you confirmation that the process has been completed.
What should I do if I experience difficulties with the switch?
The Current Account Switch Guarantee provides information about how the switching service operates as well as your legal rights in the event that something goes wrong with the switch.
All service providers that participate in the Current Account Switch Service are required to abide by the following rules:
The use of the service is completely free, and you and the new bank can come to an agreement regarding the date on which you will switch.
Your new financial institution will ensure that all of your payments, both those that are going out (such as direct debits and standing orders) and those that are coming in (such as your salary), are transferred over to your new account.
On the switch date that was previously agreed upon, your new financial institution will take care of closing your previous account and transferring any remaining funds to your new account before opening the new one.
The new bank will make the necessary arrangements, for a period of three years, to have any payments that were inadvertently sent to your old account automatically redirected to the new account. Additionally, the sender will be contacted by the new bank and provided with your updated account information.
In the event that there are any concerns, it is the duty of the new bank to get in touch with you well in advance of the switch date.
If a direct debit or standing order that was supposed to be transferred to your new account was unsuccessful, the new bank is obligated to reimburse you for any fees that you were charged as a result of the failure.
How to air your grievances
If you have any issues during or after the switching process – for instance, if your bank does not comply with the Switch Guarantee – you need to make your complaint known to your new bank as soon as possible. In the first instance, you should go directly to them.
You have the right to take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service if you are dissatisfied with the response you receive or if you do not receive a response within the allotted time frame of eight weeks (FOS).
When is the best time for me to make the change to my bank account?
It shouldn’t make a difference to the new switching service what working day you choose to switch over to the new account, even if you choose to make the switch on a different day.
On the other hand, if all of your direct debits and standing orders go out around the same time every month, it makes sense to avoid switching on this day in order to minimise the possibility of any problems occurring.
If I go into my overdraft, will I be able to switch bank accounts?
You can switch banks even if you have an overdraft, but you have to clear up any outstanding balances with your previous financial institution first.
It is dependent on the specifics of your situation whether or not the new provider of your account will provide you with an overdraft facility and whether or not that limit will be comparable to the one you currently have.
The majority of financial institutions will take into consideration assuming your existing overdraft if you already have an authorised overdraft and a track record of successfully managing it.
You are still able to switch providers even if the new provider refuses to let you transfer your existing overdraft to their service; however, you will be required to discuss a method of paying off your overdraft with your previous financial institution.
Some people might be willing to let you keep your old account open so that you can make payments on it over time, but other people might insist that you pay off the debt first before switching accounts.
If it’s a joint bank account, is it possible for me to switch?
Changing the ownership of a joint account is possible, but only with the consent of all account holders.
However, you can only switch to another joint account that is held by the same people. Using the CASS to switch from a joint account to a sole account is not an option.
Will making this switch have an impact on my credit rating?
Because banks are required to perform credit checks for the overdraft facility, applying for multiple current accounts can have a short-term impact on your credit rating. However, having one or two credit application searches will have a minimal impact on your credit rating.
It is best to space out the applications for credit that you make, so if you are in the process of applying for a mortgage or car finance, it may be in your best interest to wait until you have secured these loans before switching bank accounts.
When you apply for credit, having a long-standing relationship with your bank can be beneficial; however, lenders are far more interested in your actual credit history. Because of this, you shouldn’t let the fact that you already have a relationship with your bank prevent you from switching to a better bank account.
Learn more about how to check your credit score without spending any money here.
Should I close my old checking account or can I keep using it?
You are not required to completely switch over to the new provider; rather, you can make a transition in stages.
The primary disadvantage is that you are not covered by the service guarantee, which means that you are not automatically refunded for any charges that you incur as a result of a direct debit or standing order failing to transfer properly. This is the most significant disadvantage.
It is also possible that the process of switching will take longer than seven days.
In addition, the most advantageous switching incentives are frequently reserved for customers who switch all of their services (CASS).
How to pick the right checking or savings account
2016 saw the publication of the concluding report from the investigation into the retail banking market conducted by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
It proposed a number of different measures to help make it simpler for individuals to shop around and compare the various banking products that are available, including the following:
Customers will have the ability to choose whether or not to share their data securely with other banks and third parties if the nine largest banks in the country are required to implement Open Banking.
putting pressure on financial institutions to prominently display key indicators of service quality, determined through polling of individual and commercial clients.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has also instructed building societies and banks to publish information that will assist customers in making more meaningful comparisons between the various providers of current accounts.
You can also find additional information in these tables, such as the number of complaints that have been lodged against the company and the number of times that the company has been required to report major operational and security incidents.
The next step is to choose a current account that is suitable for your needs; however, this should give you an idea of any banks that are falling behind the competition.
To be of assistance, anks banks and building societies according to the overall customer satisfaction they provide, as well as the specific accounts they provide for customers:
The best service providers in terms of happy customers
In order to compile the Customer Score, we conduct an annual survey of thousands of customers who have current accounts and ask them to rate the quality of service they receive.
This score, in conjunction with our product review of each company’s best free current account, is used to determine which company receives the Which? Banks that are recommended as having excellent products and exceptional levels of customer service are as follows:
Starling Bank comes in at a close second with a customer score of 83% and has the highest star rating for customer service and communication, despite the fact that it is only available as a mobile banking app. First Direct has the highest customer score in our most recent review, hitting the top spot with a customer score of 84%.
The Nationwide Building Society received a score of 78% and, along with Metro Bank, was one of only two providers to receive a four-star rating for in-branch services. Additionally, we believe that it provides the most attractive packaged account.
With a customer score of 76%, M&S Bank is our fourth and final Recommended Provider. It has received five stars for online banking, transparency of charges, communication, and overall customer service.
Accounts at the top of the list for earning interest
Customers with current accounts typically receive the best interest rates offered by high street banks; consequently, if you are typically in credit, opening a high-interest bank account can help you make the most of your savings.
You can even open a number of accounts and move money between them to get the most out of your investments.
Find out more about how your current account provider can help you earn credit interest here.
Best checking and savings accounts with no monthly overdraft fees
Choose an account that gives you the option of an inexpensive or free overdraft if you find that you need an overdraft to make ends meet.
Although overdrafts are very flexible, you should avoid using them as a permanent form of credit. Instead, you should consider getting an unsecured personal loan for your long-term borrowing needs.
Find out which bank accounts are the best and the worst for arranged overdrafts here.
Bonuses for switching financial institutions
We do not advise switching banks simply because one is currently providing temporary benefits; rather, we believe that you should give more consideration to the credit interest rates, overdraft charges, and the bank’s Which? customer score.
However, if you are already considering moving, it is in your best interest to investigate the following relocation incentives:
|The Co-operative Bank
|Current Account, Everyday Extra||70%||£100 for referrals|
Nationwide Building Society
|FlexPlus, FlexDirect, FlexAccount||75%||
£125 (existing customers)
£100 (new customers)
|Select, Reward||67%||£150 (ends 7 April 2022)|
|Select, Reward||56%||£150 (ends 21 April 2022)|
|123, 123 Lite, Everyday, Private, Select||66%||£140|
|M Plus, Club M||63%||£150 gift card and 5.02% interest for a year|