Why are things changing?
The biggest four banks - Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, the Royal Bank of Scotland Group and HSBC - have a huge market share: 75% of all current accounts and 85% of SME (small and medium business) accounts.
Despite complaints about current accounts being high, very few people bother to switch. The Payments Council put the figure at 1.2 million, with only 2.2% having switched in the last year.
With switching level so low, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) feel that the market is not functioning in a competitive way. This makes it harder for new and small banks to compete, meaning that the banks with the best-rated customer service haven't seen their market share increase.
What is the CMA going to do to fix the current account market?
The CMA has started a market investigation into the personal banking sector, looking closely at the level of competition in the current account market.
The investigation follows the CMA's findings from an initial investigation in July 2014 and will also cover business bank accounts. You can read the CMA's press release on the Gov.uk website.
The investigation should be finished by May 2016. At that point, the CMA's decision could range from simply changing the ways that banks sell their current accounts to possibly even breaking up the big banks into smaller companies.
It's also possible that the days of bank accounts being free as long as you're in credit could end. In response to the CMA's announcement, banks like Barclays, Tesco Bank and Virgin Money have spoken out against free banking.
Should you wait to change your bank account?
The CMA inquiry could take around 18 months, and any changes could take even longer to come into force, especially if the banks appeal the CMA's decisions.
Despite the CMA's findings, switching your account isn't difficult. Our guide How to Switch Your Current Account Without Any Hassle shows you how to change to a better bank account, letting your new provider do all the work.
The best way to find the right bank account is to compare your options. We have a range of comparisons for different current account types that let you look at all of your choices side by side.
The type of account you go for depends on how you use it. Here are some of the best incentives you can get with current accounts:
High interest rates
If you're usually in the black, you'll want an account that pays a decent interest rate. At the moment, some current accounts have better interest rates than the best savings accounts out there, although many require you to pay in a set amount each month to qualify.
Find the best account for your circumstances with our high interest current account comparison.
Examples: TSB's Classic Plus accounts pays interest at 5% on balances up to £2,000 if you pay in £500 or more per month.
Nationwide's FlexDirect account also pays 5% AER but on balances of up to £2,500. The rate lasts for its first year, and you'll have to pay in £1,000 per month.
Some packaged current accounts come with extra features bundled with the account, which you generally pay a monthly fee for. This includes things like travel insurance, gadget insurance, breakdown cover and more.
Use our packaged account comparison to find one that includes the features you need.
Examples: Santander's 123 Current Account costs £2 per month and pays 3% AER for a balance from £3,000 to £20,000 if you pay in £500 each month.
NatWest's Select Platinum account costs £16 per month and offers cashback, breakdown cover family travel insurance, mobile phone insurance and more.
Some providers will pay you to switch your current account to them, as long as you meet their criteria.
Examples: First Direct will give you £100 if you used the switching service to transfer your current account to them. You'll need to pay £1,000 into the account per month. They'll also give you another £100 if you leave them in the first year.
Halifax give £100 to new customers as well as £5 a month, as long as you pay in £750 or more per month, stay in credit and pay two direct debits from the account.
Cheap or free overdrafts
If you spend more time in your overdraft than out of it, you're better off looking at how much this will cost you. Finding an account that charges as little as possible in overdraft interest and fees is a must; try our interest free overdraft comparison to look at your options.
Examples: First Direct's current account can offer a £250 overdraft.
Nationwide's FlexDirect account comes with a free overdraft for the first 12 months.
You can often transfer your current account even if you're in the red, as explained in our guide, Can I Switch Bank Accounts If I'm in My Overdraft? Of course, it will be up to the new bank whether they want to offer you an overdraft or not.