Switching accounts might seem like a daunting and fruitless process, but it's easier and more beneficial than you might think. This guide looks at some frequently asked questions to help clarify its merits
Is it really worth it?
Well – yes. Although switching will only give you access to the standard features from one provers to a next (ATM withdrawal, direct debits etc), banks can vary greatly in terms of their interest rates, fines and customer service. Some even offer free money as an incentive to move across! Moreover, it takes very little effort to make it happen, and can be completed in a week if you choose.
I'm overdrawn at the moment – am I trapped by my current provider?
Not at all – providing you have a history of using your overdraft responsibly most lenders will still take you on. In fact banks will probably prefer you to customers in credit, as they can make some money by charging you interest to use your overdraft – as opposed to paying out interest for being in credit.
Will I have to provide ID?
Yes, you will need to provide at least two forms of separate identification to verify who you are. In fact, the initial process for switching is the same as applying for the new bank account, and you will be asked to provide this during that process.
How long does it take?
The minimum amount of time required for processing is seven days, but you can specify a date that's convenient for you if you wish to delay it until the end of the month, for example.
What date should I choose then?
It doesn't really matter under the Current Account Switch Guarantee, as all payments and balances are automatically transferred; meaning that you can start using your new account immediately on the day of the switch. You should receive the ATM card and all details of your new account well before the switch date, as your new account becomes active straight after the application process is done, even though the switch takes a week.
What else do I need to do?
Once you've finished your application and the bank has confirmed the switch date, you can sit back and relax. All of your bank details such as direct debits, standing orders, balance, and incoming payments will be automatically transferred.
Assuming that you chose a provider promising the 'Current Account Switch Guarantee', you also have peace of mind that you'll be reimbursed should anything go wrong, such as incurring bank charges due to direct debits nots being transferred properly.
What's the 'Current Account Switch Guarantee'?
Any provider promising the 'Current Account Switch Guarantee' will abide by the following
- Free to use, and allows customer to specify the switch date.
- New banks moves all debits/standing order across, as well as the existing balance and incoming payments such as wages.
- The new bank redirects any payments accidentally made to the old account for a period of 13 months and informs the sender of your new account details.
- The bank must contact you before the switch date if there are any issues, and are responsible to recompense you for any charges/fines or (lost & paid) interest incurred due to problems with the switch.