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How to switch current account with the 7-day guarantee

We look at how to change bank account through the seven-day current account switching service, the benefits of switching and how to make sure the process goes smoothly.

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Current account switch guarantee
Current account switch guarantee

If you've had the same current account for more than a few years, you could be missing out on hundreds of pounds worth of benefits. You could also get a better service by switching to a new bank.

Since 2013, the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) has made switching current account easier and offers a 7-day Switch Guarantee. It promises to transfer your balance and payments to your new account and complete the switch in seven working days. It will also resolve any issues that arise.

So far, more than nine million current accounts have been switched using the service. Here’s how it works and the steps you need to take to switch to the best current account for you. 

What to consider before switching current accounts

Although switching your current account is straightforward and can give you a range of benefits, including cash for switching and better features, there are some aspects you need to be aware of before going ahead:

  • Recurring debit card payments, such as for subscriptions you’re not paying by direct debit, won't change automatically. You’ll need to contact the companies involved to give them your new card details

  • You can switch to a joint account from a sole or other joint account but you can't switch from a joint to a sole account

  • Switching current accounts can affect your credit score, as your new bank may credit check you, which can temporarily affect your credit rating. You should avoid applying for multiple current accounts or credit within a short space of time as this will have an even bigger impact

  • If you’ve given third parties, such as money management apps, access to your financial data you’ll need to contact them directly to re-authorise this with your new account details

  • You won’t be able to use the CASS if you want to open a new current account without closing your old one. This is known as a partial switch

How does the switch service work?

The Current Account Switch Service was introduced by the government to make it easier and simpler for consumers to switch current accounts as well as increase competition between banks. 

It promises to provide a simple, reliable and stress-free way to make that current account switch and has a high success rate – from April to June 2023, 91% of users said they were satisfied with the process.

Customers are able to switch to the majority of banks through the service as nearly 50 banks and building societies have signed up to it, including many challenger banks such as Starling Bank and Monzo. You can see a list of all 48 current providers that have signed up on the CASS website.

The Current Account Switch Guarantee means your new bank will switch your payments in and out of your account and transfer your balance to it. Your old bank will then close your account for you. 

Any interest paid or lost or charges incurred if something goes wrong with the switch will be refunded by your new bank and it will automatically redirect any payments accidentally made to your old account. It will contact the senders of incorrect payments and provide them with your new account details. The Current Account Switch Service has redirected nearly 138 million payments to date.

This should all take place within seven working days, known as the seven-day switch, which has happened in 99.5% of switches according to CASS.

When you go to open up a new current account with a bank that is part of the service, you’ll just need your current bank details. You’ll be asked to complete a Current Account Switch Agreement form to begin life with your new current account and a Current Account Closure Instruction form to close your old one. It will all be handled by the bank you are switching to.

Should you switch your bank account?

Depending on your needs and financial circumstances, there will be a number of different reasons you may choose to switch bank accounts. Switching allows you to take advantage of the best interest rates, rewards and customer service, or to get access to different features, such as better designed online or app banking that has the functionality you want.

You may also have to switch if your current account is closing – for example, Intelligent Finance, which is owned by the Lloyds Banking Group, will be closing all its current accounts by the end of 2023.

The main reasons you’ll want to switch are likely to be to benefit from the following:

Switching incentive

Some banks give you cash for switching to them to entice new customers – you can currently get £175 if you switch to First Direct’s 1st Account and £125 each for you and a friend from the Co-operative Bank if you refer your friend to the bank and they switch to its Current Account or Everyday Extra account. You shouldn’t choose a bank just because it’s offering an incentive though – make sure you open the account that’s best for you.

Regular saver accounts

Some current accounts give you access to high-interest savings accounts, which will help you boost the interest you earn on your savings. These could be regular saver accounts, where you make a deposit each month up to a set amount, or easy-access accounts, although you may only get the high rate of interest up to a certain balance. Some current accounts pay a high rate of credit interest themselves for an introductory period.

Better services

As well as switching to get financial benefits, which can include cashback on your spending as well as linked savings accounts and switching bonuses, you may want to switch to a bank that offers better customer service or gives you features you don’t currently have access to, such as online banking or a banking app that lets you organise your money into pots, analyse your spending or pay someone without using their account details.

Which current account should I switch to?

There are a wide range of current account providers and accounts to choose from. These can be accounts with or without monthly fees from digital-only banks or traditional banks that give you branch access.

The best one for you depends on how you want to use your account, your financial situation and your priorities. If you’re usually in credit and want to maximise the interest you’re earning, you may want to look for an account that pays the highest interest rate on credit balances or one that gives you access to a high-interest savings account. On the other hand, if you often go overdrawn, you’ll want to choose an account with an interest-free or cheap overdraft. It’s also worth looking at banks’ customer service ratings.

If you want access to branches, you’ll want to go with a bank that has one near to where you live or work, while if having access to the latest in app or online banking is important to you might want to choose a digital-only bank.

Cashback is also something to consider – some accounts give you 1% cashback on certain spending from the account or monthly rewards if you meet certain conditions – but you should look at what the account is offering as a whole to make sure it’s right for you. 

You could also save money by taking out a ‘packaged’ bank account – one you pay a monthly fee for to get extras such as travel insurance – just make sure the benefits are worth having and that you’ll use them, and check whether you could get them cheaper elsewhere.

Bear in mind that many accounts have requirements for how much you have to pay in each month to be able to have the account, get the perks on offer or avoid paying a monthly fee so make sure you would be able to meet these before you apply for one.

Visit our current accounts comparison page to find the right one for you.

Switch to a better current account

Compare current accounts from different providers and find a bank that works for you.

Switch to a better current account

Compare current accounts from different providers and find a bank that works for you.

How much money can I get for switching bank accounts?

The financial reward you can get from switching may be one of the biggest incentives for you. Banks offer these to encourage new customers to join them but they will be subject to eligibility criteria.

You can currently get up to £175 for switching your current account to First Direct but, as with other switching bonuses, to get this you’ll have to do a full switch through CASS, which means moving your banking to the account and closing your old one. You also have to pay £1,000 into the account within three months of opening it.

Other accounts give you benefits for an introductory period as a switching incentive. These could be cashback on spending, high credit interest or an interest-free overdraft.

How to switch current account

There are a few simple steps involved in switching current account:

  • Decide what kind of current account you need based on your spending habits and priorities.

  • Run a comparison of current accounts available and any incentives they offer.

  • Read the fine print before switching to check for any pay-in requirements and conditions and make sure you can meet them.

  • Decide on your switch date – make sure you allow at least seven working days for the switch to happen and that it isn’t on a weekend or bank holiday. Bear in mind that you can continue using your old current account right up until your switch date, so you won’t be left in limbo.

  • Apply to your new bank to switch your account via the Current Account Switching Service and let it know your chosen switch date – it will transfer your balance, direct debits and standing orders across as well as any incoming payments such as your salary by the agreed date. It’s worth cancelling any payments you no longer need before you apply. Your new bank will let you know when the process has started and when it’s complete. Your old bank account will be closed for you as part of the process.

  • Start using your new account.

How long does it take to switch current accounts?

Once you’ve chosen your new current account and applied to your new bank or building society to open an account with it, the switch should happen within seven working days. However, in a tiny proportion of cases (0.5% or five in every 1,000 according to CASS) it will take longer than this, which could be due to unexpected complications in the switching process. Any charges or interest you incur as a result of any delay will be refunded to you.

How to make sure the switch goes smoothly

The system isn't flawless. Firstly, you need to remember your old account will be closed by your old provider. That means it's a good idea to make sure you download at least a few months' worth of statements before that happens or ask for printed copies as you’ll lose access to them otherwise.

Secondly, while standing orders and direct debits are transferred, any recurring card payments and any new payments you set up from your old account within seven working days of your agreed switch date won’t be so you’ll need to transfer these yourself.

Current account switching FAQs

Does switching bank account affect my credit score?

As your new bank or building society may run a credit check on you, there could be a small dip in your credit score after making the transfer. However, this will recover within six months if nothing else changes.

How long does it take to switch bank accounts?

Once you’ve applied to your new bank, it should take no more than seven working days for the switch to be completed.

Can I have more than one bank account?

Yes, you can, but you’ll need to close your old one in order to get any switching bonuses and many have minimum pay-in requirements so you’ll need to be able to meet these on all the accounts you have.

How does the switch impact my direct debits and standing orders?

There should be no impact on your direct debits and standing orders as these will be transferred across to your new account as part of the switching process. However, bear in mind that any you set up from your old account within seven working days of your switch date won’t be automatically transferred.

Switch to a better current account

Compare current accounts from different providers and find a bank that works for you.