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The Current Account Switch Service Explained

A pile of different coloured bank cards.

Switching your current account from time-to-time can be very beneficial, but many people are put off by the supposed hassle that comes with switching accounts.

The Current Account Switch Service removes any hassle from your account-hopping, making those rewards seem even sweeter!

This guide will go into more detail, but feel free to skip to a preferred section below:

What is the Current Account Switch Service?

The Current Account Switch Service launched in 2013, helping to switch over 5 million UK bank accounts with a success rate of just over 99%.

It is a free-to-use service with over 40 major banks and building societies signed up, many of which offer incentives for those who decide to switch.

How does the Current Account Switch Service work?

When you change current accounts using the Current Account Switch Service, everything will be taken care of for you.

The Current Account Switch Guarantee means that everything from your old current account will transfer over to your new one, with your old account being shut down for good.

The switch will transfer:

  • Your existing balance
  • Your existing Direct Debits
  • Any future payments made to your old account, including your salary

On top of this, if somebody transfers money into your old account, they will be sent an automated message informing them of your new bank details so they can update their records.

With a full switch, you will also be compensated in the event of any missed payments or fees incurred as a direct result of your switch.

What if I have an overdraft?

You can still switch bank accounts if you have an outstanding overdraft with your existing bank account, but you will need to be accepted by the new bank or building society before you switch.

If you have a large overdraft and/or poor credit score, they are within their rights to turn you down – however, if you have always paid off your overdrafts in good time, it should be less of an issue.

Contact your new bank before switching in order to get the all-clear!

Can I switch my savings account?

No. The Current Account Switch Service will not switch over your:

  • Savings accounts
  • ISAs (read how to transfer your ISA here)
  • Non-sterling accounts
  • Joint accounts (without permission of both account holders)

You should check with your existing back to find out what will happen to these accounts after your switch – some will remain open, while funds from others will simply be added onto your current account balance after the transfer.

What if I don’t want to close my old account?

Some banks and building societies will allow you to perform a partial switch, where your old account will remain open and you can select which payment arrangements you would like to be transferred to your new account – but be warned, this is not covered by a service guarantee, which is why some banks do not offer it.

Another option is to open the account without using the Current Account Switch Service, transferring all of your payments across to your new account manually instead.

How to use the Current Account Switch Service

If you’re wondering how to switch your current account, then you may well have just found the answer!

The Current Account Switch Service is efficient and easy to use, with practically every ounce of effort taken out of your hands.

To switch your current account, simply:

  • Open a current account with you chosen bank or building society using their website
  • Follow the steps of ‘how to switch’ on the Current Account Switch website
  • Select a date that you’d like your account to switch
  • Continue using your old account as normal, until the switch has taken place

While you still use your old account (including any cards, online and mobile banking) until the switch is completed, you should refrain from setting up any new Direct Debits.

You can switch your current account online or you can also do so in-branch.

How long does a current account switch take?

Switching can take up to 7 working days – but if you’d rather know exactly when your account will switch over, you can select a date yourself (as long as you don’t select a weekend or bank holiday).

Can I cancel a current account switch?

If you have a last minute change of heart, you have up to 7 days before your switch to cancel it. After that, you can only achieve a partial cancellation and will need to contact your new bank to discuss your next steps.

What are the benefits of switching current accounts?

You may be switching due to the closure of a local branch, or maybe you want to take advantage of better interest rates and lower overdraft fees you’ve found elsewhere.

You can also be rewarded for switching, with some banks and building societies offering special switch offers. These could include:

  • £100 for opening a bank account
  • Free cinema tickets when you switch
  • Access to enhanced rewards programmes

Some banks also offer you free or discounted additional services as part of your new packaged bank account, such as car insurance or travel insurance.

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