How to switch current accounts

Many people think changing current accounts is a tricky process. But it's the banks that do all the work!

It's difficult, but it could be harder

A while ago a Brazilian chap in Sao Paulo got so angry with the metal detector that had been installed at the entrance to his bank that he took off all his clothes in protest. Apparently, the alarm kept going off every time he tried to enter the building so, in frustration, he stripped off in the street. (He was arrested and charged with public indecency but was told by the police to sue the bank if he had that much of a problem with the service!)

How to change your current account

Maybe it's difficult to transfer your current account in Brazil but, in theory, it's quite easy to do so in the UK. It's certainly a lot easier to do than it was several years ago. You simply contact the bank you want to move to and they do the rest. On demand, your old bank has to hand over all the necessary information about direct debits and standing orders within three days, the new bank then sends you the details so you can verify their accuracy and then it's all systems go.

What your new bank will offer

The new bank usually offers you a free overdraft facility while the changeover occurs and for most people the transfer operates smoothly, although it make take a few weeks for all the new cards, cheque books, PINs and online passwords to filter through.

Unfortunately, some banks are still reluctant to let some of their customers go and occasionally they make it difficult for them to leave by delaying the handing over of information (a jolly good reason for taking your business elsewhere, don't you think)?

What to do if it all goes wrong

However, most banks subscribe to the British Bankers' Association Banking Code so you have a basis for complaint if your own bank subscribes to the Code and fails to comply with the promise to hand over all information about Direct Debits and Standing Orders within three working days. You can also take any complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

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Some important information about this page

† Denotes a tiered rate.

Current accounts data provided by Moneyfacts, an independent third party.

We are normally made aware of changes to rates and products, but very occasionally changes may occur without our being notified. If you spot any mistakes or inaccuracies on our site, please contact us.

Please note that the services and products featured are those made available from advertisers and may not necessarily be the best offers on the market. For more information, please see our Current accounts advertising disclosure.

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