Money Wellness
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calendar icon26 Feb 2024

Switching current accounts: everything you need to know

If you’re unhappy with your bank, you’ve found an account with a different lender that better suits your financial needs or you just want to bag yourself a cash incentive, you may be considering switching current accounts. 

What is a current account? 

People generally use current accounts to manage their day-to-day finances. You can set up direct debits and standing orders from this type of account. 

Before you switch 

If you’re thinking of switching, it’s important to weigh up both the pros and cons of different bank accounts. Some might offer incentives, such as an initial payment for switching, cashback, low overdraft fees, or discounts on retail and leisure activities. 

Before applying, you need to make sure you meet the account’s eligibility criteria.  

Some bank accounts come with fees or require you to pay in a certain amount each month to qualify for features they offer, or you might need to have a certain credit score to be eligible. 

Full or partial switch

When you switch current accounts, you’ll usually have two choices: a full switch, or a partial one. 

A full switch means you can move everything over to your new account, and close your old one. A partial switch allows you to keep your old account open and get the advantages of a new one. You can choose which payments you’d like to move across. 

Bear in mind a partial switch takes more than seven working days and isn't covered by the Current Account Switching Guarantee.

Products linked to your current account

Some current accounts come with linked products, such as travel insurance or breakdown cover. If you switch to another bank, you’ll likely lose these benefits. Make sure you take this into account when deciding if switching makes financial sense. 

How do I switch current account?  

If your application is accepted, the Current Account Switch Service will complete the move within seven working days, providing both banks are signed up to it.  

What happens during a current account switch? 

Your new bank will contact your old bank to start the switch a week before your switch date. 

The Account Switch Service Guarantee means your new bank will transfer your balance and move over your payments, and your old bank will close your previous account. The earliest your switch can be completed is seven working days from when you sign-up with your new bank. You can choose the date you wish to switch, so it could also be later than seven working days if that works better for you. 

Pick a day you don’t have any direct debits leaving your account, as it reduces the chance of payment problems.  Don’t set up any regular payments from your old account during the seven-day switch period, as they may not get carried over. 

You can carry on using your old bank account as normal until the day of the switch. You should have everything you need to start using your new account by this point. 

If you have any ongoing payments from your debit card rather than from the account itself, you’ll need to amend these after you switch. 

What happens if people send payments to my old account? 

These payments will be redirected to your new account. People who send electronic payments to your old account will get a message telling them your new account details. Organisations may contact you directly to confirm your new details. 

Avatar of Lydia Bell-Jones

Lydia Bell-Jones

With a background in banking, Lydia has been writing professionally for over five years. She is passionate about helping people improve their personal finances and has a particular interest in the connection between money and mental health.

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