How to switch your current account in 7 days

The hassle is being taken out of current account switching with the new seven-day switching scheme. Here is how the new system will work.

Statistics witching current accounts is not something most of us . But from Monday 16th September the new seven-day switching scheme is about to make it a whole lot easier.

This will mean that instead of sticking with an account that doesn't pay you a penny in interest, just because it's too much hassle to switch, you could easily move to an account and start earning interest rates of 3%, 5% or even one that pays cashback.

How does the seven-day switch work?
As the name says, the main feature of the scheme is guaranteeing your bank account will be switched to your new bank within seven working days. This includes everything from moving the money over to changing any direct debits and standing orders within the timeframe.

There will also be one centralised system which every bank has to follow. Anyone wanting to change current accounts will be able to do so on a date they choose.

Why is this happening?
Traditionally we as a nation don't like switching bank accounts. This means most people are stuck with a pretty poor deal from their bank. As banks and building societies rely on this apathy, they rarely offer existing customers anything special. And it's also harder for new entrants in the market to gain customers.

Now we have more power to switch banks if we're not happy and want a better service. New entrants, such as Metro Bank, also have a better chance at competing with the big high street names.

How will online payments be moved?
All banks will be required to move over online payments. Customers will also be given a guarantee that they will be refunded any interest and charges made on either account because of the switching.

What if the money is taken out of the old account after the switch?
The new service will make sure any payments are redirected to the new account for 13 months and the person trying to pay in or out the money will be notified of the changes.

Who is in charge when you switch?
Your new bank is the main port of call for the switching service. It will manage any problems or questions you have so you won't have to go back and forth between both banks.

This means if you decide to leave a bank you won't have to call them up to say you're leaving, which should serve as a real push to get people to start switching.

Will my current account be safe in the seven-day switch service?
Fraud is a major worry for most current account holders and most of us know someone who has been a victim. The Payments Council, who is behind the scheme, says robust protocols will be in place to make sure the seven-day switch is secure.

When someone tries to open a new account and switch an old one over, they will need to go through 'rigorous and long-established' checks to ensure they're not a fraudster. They will also need to provide details to prove their identity, such as utility bills and a passport.

Will I always have the same current account number?
During the consultation stage for the seven-day current account scheme, there was some talk about people being given one current account number which will stay with them for life – a bit like a national insurance number. The thought behind this was it would make switching easier and there would be a lot less paperwork.

Although this hasn't been completely ruled out, the Payments Council says it would mean a complete replacement of the bank and branch system because everyone – even those not switching – might need to have a new number.

How to switch current accounts with the seven-day switch
If you want to get a better deal and change current accounts, you'll need to research the kind of account you want and when decided you approach the new bank. This can be done by using a comparison tool like AOL's.

You choose the date you want to switch, which must be at least seven working days after the new account opens, and then sign a Current Account Switch Agreement form and a Current Account Closure Instruction form.

As soon as the switch begins your bank will get in contact and will also confirm the date it'll be finished by. Until it's switched over you can carry on using your old account if you need to, but when the switch happens everything will be moved over and your old account will be closed.

Choosing the right current account
Several banks and building societies have improved their current account offerings to coincide with the launch of the seven-day switch. For example, there's cashback on direct debits and up to 3% interest from the Santander 123 account and 5% interest from Nationwide's FlexDirect account.

Or if you fancy £125 just for moving banks, why not switch to the 1st Account from First Direct? As well as the free cash, you'll be with a bank that consistently tops customer service surveys.

Compare our top current accounts and see if you could move to a better bank account in seven days

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