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How to find the best bank accounts

How to

By Nevena Mulyachka and Mark Todd
Nevena Mulyachka is moneyhelpline’s marketing manager, specialising in money products such as insurance, credit cards, loans and savings. Mark Todd is one of the founders of energyhelpline and moneyhelpline. He is regularly on BBC1 and Radio 5 Live commenting on switching and saving.

Last updated on 2/03/2016

As of September 16th 2013, you can switch bank accounts smoothly in only 7 days. For years, people have tended to stick to the current account they’ve always had as switching seemed to promise more hassle than it was worth.

With the new regulations that make switching easier and less time-consuming consumers are now free to pick and choose between the best current accounts on the market.

Here's a quick run through of how the process works.

What do you need to do to switch?

All you need to do to switch is tell your new bank that you would like to sign up, fill in the form and pick a date for the switch to take place. Everything else is taken care of and the transition should be painless.

Did you know?

Your payments are forwarded

For 13 months after your switch, your new provider arranges for payments made to or from your old account to be automatically forwarded to your new one. They will also contact the recipient/sender and give them your new account details.

Just one thing, even though they are not the best idea, if you have any recurring payments, they will not follow you to the new account as these are set up using your debit card details, not your account number and sort code (i.e. they ask for the long number across your card). This could affect payments such as gym membership, subscriptions, payday loan repayments... So when you switch, you need to give your new details to any companies that take money from you this way.

You can still switch if you're overdrawn

There aren’t any rules in place for this so the process will vary between providers and will depend on whether your new provider offers you an overdraft facility. Determining if the new provider will grant you an overdraft will be subject to the normal lending processes.


If you switch, you need to give your new card details to any companies that take money from your card on a recurring basis. We are not big fans of these so if you can arrange to change them to a direct debit where you have more control, it's a good idea to do that.



The transition will start immediately on the day of your switch unless you specify a particular date you want to switch by.



Any charges incurred as a result of the switching process will be refunded to you, no matter which account they occur on.



The 7 day switch service automatically closes down your old account as part of the process so if you want to keep it open, you can do so by opting for the old service which takes 18-30 working days (and has no guarantees if anything goes wrong).



The 7 day switch doesn’t cover your debit card and Pin so while your account will be opened and set up in those 7 days, you might have to wait a bit longer for these to come through.


Click here to compare current accounts

These guides are for informational purposes only and do not constitute advice. For best personal advice contact a financial adviser.

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