How to Switch Bank Accounts UK

Everything You Need to Know About Switching Bank Accounts

how to switch bank accounts

How to Switch Banks

how to switch banks

Switching bank accounts doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, changing bank accounts is pretty quick and simple.

You can now easily switch banks online using the Current Account Switch Service (CASS). This is totally free to use and gets your new bank account up and running in just a few days.

In this guide, we’ll outline how to switch bank accounts, as well as answering all your other switching questions. We’ll tell you how to find a new bank account, the benefits of switching banks, when you should transfer bank accounts, and so so much more.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s find out how to switch bank accounts…

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How to Switch Bank Accounts

Before we delve into how to switch bank accounts, let’s find out a bit more about the process. 

Whether you’re looking for better rates, more perks or lower interest rates, you can easily switch banks to find a new current account that meets your needs.

Almost all banks and building societies now offer a free seven-day Current Account Switch Service. This bank switching service means that your new bank will do all the hard work for you – moving across your existing direct debits, standing orders, and payment from salary or pensions. 

It is also backed by a guarantee that means you’ll be refunded any interest and charges on your old and new account if anything goes wrong – so there’s no risk in moving bank accounts. 

The switching service is largely automated and it should only take seven working days to transfer your bank account to another bank. Below, we outline, step-by-step, how to switch bank accounts using the Current Account Switch Service:

1. Choose a new bank account 

When it comes to choosing a new bank account, make sure you as yourself the following questions:

  • What are your needs?
  • What are the bank’s charges and features?
  • How do you want to deal with your bank?
  • Is it worth switching your bank account?

     

2. Apply for your chosen account 

When you apply to your chosen bank, it will undertake its usual account-opening procedures. To comply with money-laundering rules, you’ll be asked to provide two separate documents for proof of identity and proof of address.

You will then need to complete a ‘Current Account Switch Agreement’ form and a ‘Current Account Closure Instruction’ form, provided by your new bank or building society. 

3. Choose a switch date

You will be able to agree on a convenient date for you to switch bank accounts with your new bank or building society.

Your switch date can’t be a Saturday, Sunday or a bank holiday. It must be at least seven working days after your new account has been opened.

Once this date has been agreed, your new bank will provide confirmation that the switch has started and will be completed on the agreed switch date.

You will continue to use your old current account up until the agreed switching date. But, you shouldn’t set up any new payments like direct debits or standing orders during the seven working days leading up to the switch date.

4. Start using your new account 

On your agreed bank switching date, your new bank or building society will be responsible for moving your incoming and outgoing payments, and transferring any money to your new account, before closing your old account. 

They will send confirmation when the process is complete. 

Should I Change Bank Account?

switching bank accounts

If you’ve been with your bank for a while, you might be attracted by what other banks are offering. Whether that’s clever apps to help you manage your money, significantly higher interest rates or just better customer service – there are a number of reasons why you might want to know how to switch bank accounts. 

If you’ve been with your old bank account for a while, it could be a good time to start shopping around and see whether it’s worth switching to a new current account. 

Some banks offer current account switching incentives, while others offer interest or perks and rewards. 

Depending on the bank, the perks of transferring bank accounts include: 

  • – Higher interest rates
  • – Lower overdraft fees
  • – Discounts e.g. shopping, cinema tickets etc.
  • – Cashback incentives 
  • – Better service 

However, when considering whether or not you should switch bank accounts, it’s worth noting that there may be certain conditions to the transfer. 

For example, there may be a minimum amount that can be paid into the account every month. Also, once the introductory period is over, you may find that your in-credit interest rate significantly drops, and other perks and benefits could expire. 

So, when looking at how to switch bank accounts, make sure you take the time to find a good quality current account that’s going to suit your needs in the long term.

How Long Does it Take to Switch Bank Accounts?

You’ll be pleased to hear that it doesn’t take long to switch bank accounts at all. In fact, under the banks’ switching guarantee service, you could have a new bank account within seven working days.

So, in just a matter of days, all your direct debits and other payments will automatically have been transferred over to your new current account.

How Easy is it to Change Banks?

how to switch banks

Switching bank accounts has never been easier!

The Current Account Switch Service makes the process of transferring bank accounts super straightforward, so you can be done in just seven working days.

However, while the steps involved in changing banks are simple, there are a fair few steps involved, and you’ll need to coordinate your new and old accounts. If you miss any steps, you could end up overdrawing one of your accounts or bounce a transaction.

However, with the Current Account Switch Service now in place with most banks, you are guaranteed a smooth switching process. If anything does go wrong, your new bank will sort it and reimburse any necessary losses.

When Should I Transfer Bank Accounts?

Under the new bank switching service, it shouldn’t matter which working day you choose to transfer your current account.

However, if all your direct debits and standing orders go out around the same time each month, it would make sense to avoid switching on this day. This will minimise the risk of any problems arising during the process of changing banks.

Can I Switch Bank Accounts if I’m in My Overdraft?

Don’t worry – you can still switch bank accounts if you have an overdraft.

Having an overdraft isn’t a barrier to switching banks, but you will have to pay off any debt with your old bank first.

Whether or not the new account provider offers you an overdraft facility, and whether or not it matches your existing overdraft limit, will depend on your circumstances.

If you have an authorised overdraft and have a record of managing it well, most banks will consider taking the existing overdraft on.

If your new bank account won’t let you transfer your current overdraft across, you can still switch current accounts but you’ll need to discuss a way of paying it off with your old bank.

Some banks might agree to keep the old account open to help you pay it off gradually, but others will insist that you clear the debt before you switch.

Can I Switch Bank Accounts if It’s a Joint Account?

how to switch bank accounts

Yes, you can switch a joint bank account as long as both parties agree to do so.

However, you can only switch to another joint bank account held by the same people. It’s not possible to use the Current Account Switching Service to switch from a joint account to a sole account.

Will Transferring Bank Accounts Affect My Credit Rating?

Transferring bank accounts can have an effect on your credit rating – but the answer isn’t that simple!

Applying for multiple current accounts can affect your credit rating in the short term. This is because banks must run credit checks for the overdraft facility. However, having one or two credit application searches will have very little impact.

Ideally, you should try to spread credit applications out. So, if you’re applying for a mortgage or car finance, it may be best to wait until you’ve secured this before looking at how to switch bank accounts.

It can be beneficial for your credit rating to have a longstanding relationship with your bank. However, lenders are far more interested in your actual credit history so you shouldn’t let this put you off switching to a better bank account.

Do I Have to Close My Old Current Account When I Switch Banks?

No, if you don’t want to close your old bank account, you can choose to do a partial bank switch instead.

However, there are some downsides to doing this. The main con to a partial bank account switch is that you aren’t covered by the service guarantee.

So, you won’t be automatically refunded for any charges incurred as a result of direct debits or standing orders failing to transfer properly.

Opting for a partial switch may also mean that the process of changing bank accounts may take longer than seven days to complete.

And, the best bank switching incentives are usually reserved for customers who use the full switch service.

How to Switch Banks in 2022

So, if you’re thinking about shopping around for a new current account that offers more perks or suits your needs better, you shouldn’t hold back.

Now you know how to switch bank accounts, you’ll realise how simple the process can be. With the banks’ Current Account Switch Service, you can switch bank accounts online and have your new account up and running in seven working days.

If you’re moving house soon, you should also remember to change your address with your bank or building society. Check out some of our bank change of address articles below to find out how:

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