How to switch your bank account

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Switching to a new current account is easier than ever and could save you hundreds of pounds. Here is how to get a new bank account in just seven days.

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With so many different current accounts on offer, it’s worth regularly checking whether the account you have best suits your needs or whether there is a better one available. If you’ve decided to switch, this guide explains how to do it.

Why should I switch my current account?

There are many reasons for switching your current account. Some of them could include:

  • You want a cheaper or interest-free overdraft

  • You want to earn interest on your balance

  • A different provider is offering a cash reward, e.g. £125 for switching

  • You're looking for lower fees and monthly charges

  • You're not satisfied by your current provider's customer service

  • You want an account that includes benefits such as travel insurance or mobile phone cover

What are my options when switching current accounts?

If you want to switch current accounts, you have two options:

  • Completely close your old account and move all payments to the new one using the Current Account Switch Service (CASS)

  • Leave your old account open or only move across some of the payments on it using the Partial Switch Service

Whichever service you decide to use, follow these simple steps:

current account switch

How does the Current Account Switch Service work?

You can use the CASS to close your old account and move all the payments to your new bank account.

It works with almost every current account in the UK and takes seven working days to complete. Under the current account switch guarantee, your old and new bank must:

  • Let you choose the date the switch happens

  • Keep you informed throughout the process

  • Make sure your salary or pension income goes to the new account

  • Move your standing orders and direct debits to the new account

  • Send any payments made to your old account onto to your new one for 36 months

The switching service is free, although you still have to pay any fees that come with your new account. Your bank has to pay you back if anything goes wrong and you lose out on interest or get charged fees during the switch.

The Partial Switch Service

If you use the Partial Switch Service instead, you can:

  • Leave your old bank account open

  • Only move across some of your payments

However, you get no guarantee it will be completed within seven days, that the bank will redirect payments or that it will refund you for interest and charges.

Partial switches are much less common, so ask your new bank if they offer this service.

What accounts can you switch?

You can switch an account in your sole name into a new account in your name. This can be a new solo account or one you will hold jointly with someone else.

If you have a joint account, everyone named on it has to agree to the switch, and you can only transfer it into another joint account held by the same people.

You can also use CASS to switch a current account held by a charity or small business as long as it has an annual turnover of less than £6.5 million and fewer than 50 employees.

Can I switch current accounts if I have an overdraft?

Yes, you can, but your overdraft will need to be agreed by your new bank before you can switch it. Alternatively, your new bank might offer you a way of helping you repay the overdraft. 

You might find it harder to switch if your overdraft is particularly big or if you have used it for a long time. Ultimately, it will depend on the bank or building society you want to switch to.

New bank accounts are offered all the time, so compare all of the best options to make sure you get the right one for you.

About Salman Haqqi

Salman is our personal finance editor with over 10 years’ experience as a journalist. He has previously written for Finder and regularly provides his expert view on financial and consumer spending issues for local and national press.

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