The figure of more than three million switches includes some 73,899 small business, charity, and trust current accounts.
The free service, owned and operated by Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs), and offered by 43 UK banks and building societies, is designed to give small businesses* and small charities a quick, reliable and stress-free way of switching current accounts.
To switch to a new account, businesses simply open a new bank or building society account and choose a date for the switch. From this point, the whole process will be handled by the bank or building society the business is switching to, and takes just seven working days while all incoming and outgoing payments, such as Direct Debits and salaries, are moved to the new account. In total 99.7 per cent of switches are achieved within seven working days.
Backed by the Current Account Switch Guarantee, businesses will receive a refund of interest and any charges on their old and new current accounts if there is an error with the switch. To provide additional peace of mind, any payments accidentally made to, or requested from, the old account will be automatically redirected to the new.
A multi-million pound media campaign to further raise awareness and confidence in the service launches this Saturday (17 September), and a brand new website is also being rolled out at
Bacs is also working with banking providers to deliver harmonised account opening procedures across the industry, which will be designed to include confirmation of overdraft approval, as well as the amount and terms of the overdraft before a customer commits to the switch.
Increasing competition in banking
Simon Kirby, economic secretary to the Treasury says that increasing competition in banking is part of the government’s plan to make sure that every customer can access the best deal for them. ‘This is why we pushed the industry to introduce seven day switching in 2013.
‘Three years on, I’m delighted that more than three million switches have taken place and more banks than ever are providing this service to customers,’ he adds.
‘The seven day Current Account Switch Service allows customers to hold their banks to account by allowing them to vote with their feet and switch where they see a better deal – simply, quickly and reliably.’
Anne Pieckielon, Bacs’ director of product and strategy, is responsible for the service. She says, ‘Since the Current Account Switch Service was launched, we’ve worked hard to keep pace with changing needs, collaborating across the industry and with government and regulators – such as the Competition and Markets Authority – to provide a world class switching service for smaller businesses.
‘An important element of our work is to make sure that small businesses understand how easy it is to switch between banking providers using the service, and our new advertising campaign will help to inform this important audience still further.’
Information for customers on the Current Account Switch Service and links to participating banks and building societies is available at www.currentaccountswitch.co.uk.
* Small businesses, charities, and trusts are eligible for the Current Account Switch Service provided that their annual turnover does not exceed £6.5 million and they have fewer than 50 employees.