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Lieke Braadbaart

Online Writer
Published: 17/01/2017
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It was announced today that the Current Account Switch Service (CASS), which enables customers to switch banks in no more than seven working days, will be undergoing improvements that are to be implemented in a year's time. This should help give more customers and businesses the confidence to switch to a better bank account.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which has requested the improvements, has revealed that only 3% of personal and 4% of business customers switch their current account to a different bank in any year, despite findings that personal customers could save an average of £92 per year by switching, and small firms could save around £80 by doing so.

The improvements follow an investigation conducted by the CMA which resulted in 17 recommendations, including the implementation of an increased redirection period for payments made to an old account, improving information for overdraft users, making improvements to governance and reporting, and increasing levels of awareness and confidence in the service.

Alasdair Smith, chair of the CMA investigation, said: "Switching is the key way for people and small firms to find better banking deals and save money. Improvements to the switching service will give customers better information about, and so greater control over, their finances … Taken together, its 17 recommendations will save customers between £700 million and £1 billion over 5 years."

Now is the time

With only 44 savings accounts currenting matching or beating inflation, now would be an excellent time to take a second look at your current account, and see if it's working hard enough for you. Though it will take a while before the new measures are implemented, more than 3.5 million accounts have already successfully been switched using the CASS since its launch in 2013.

Indeed, Anne Pieckielon, Bacs' director of Product and Strategy, pointed out that they were already hard at work to improve the service: "We are pleased to formally commit to the CMA's undertakings and look forward to continuing to work closely with them, and all of our stakeholders, in the coming months as we deliver further improvements in the current account switching space. While today marks the official signing of terms, the reality is that the Bacs team has been working hard for some time to deliver against these undertakings.

"[W]e have already delivered on an extended redirection period for payments sent to an old account [and] earlier this month we also launched our latest advertising campaign, as we continue look at new and innovative ways to communicate the benefits and ease of switching to all of those who could benefit from using the service."

So what are you waiting for? Check out the best high interest current accounts to see if you can get a better return on your everyday cash, and read our guide on how to switch to find out for yourself how easy it can be.


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