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British Bank 7 day switch scheme may fall flat

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British Bank 7 day switch scheme may fall flat

Post  Panda on Sat 14 Sep - 17:10

Bank Seven-Day Switch Scheme May Fall FlatEight out of 10 savers say they are happy enough with their bank as a new account switch scheme prepares to launch.7:29am UK, Saturday 14 September 2013 Video: Speedy Bank Switching Scheme Move
Enlarge EmailBy Poppy Trowbridge, Business and Economics Correspondent

The Government wants banks to work harder to win your business and is backing an initiative to allow customers to swap current accounts within seven working days.

But exclusive research conducted for Sky News reveals that the public is largely unaware of the plan and among those in the know the Government's initiative is unwanted.

From September 16 the so-called 7-Day-Switch scheme will come into effect.

Customers wanting to swap banks can provide their preferred lender with personal details, the bank then makes all the arrangements to bring across salary deposits and bill payments - with a hassle free guarantee.

In a move to revitalise competition in high-street banking, Chancellor George Osborne confirmed the plans back in February after the regulator highlighted how little choice existed in the current account market.

But in a poll of more than 2000 bank customers, 44% of those surveyed said they had never heard of the service.

Of those who had, 53% would not even consider switching when the guarantee is in place.

That is perhaps because 82% say they are happy enough with their current account, another indication that the initiative isn't needed by many.

The four biggest banks in Britain - Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC - control three quarters of the current account market, according to figures from the Office of Fair Trading.

That means switching accounts may not result in drastically better deals at one bank or another.

Ali Steed, a personal finance expert at mymoneydiva.com, says many of the rates and products don't differ much from bank to bank.

"At the moment, because interest rates are actually very low, the amount of money you can actually get on your savings - from anywhere on the high street - is not really going to put you in a position where you can beat inflation."

If the government initiative is to have any immediate effect it is likely to be in customer service.

Michael Ossei, from uSwitch, says: "Banks will have to work harder to both attract new customers and keep their existing ones, which means that accounts must offer better value for money and customer service."

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