Bank accounts become easier and quicker to switch in move that could benefit customers

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Brace yourself for a slew of bank account comparison websites. One may be fronted by a weirdly limp wristed robot while another might well feature an array of amusing orang utangs with Russian accents.

From today, new rules will make it substantially easier to move accounts between banks, allowing up to 46 million customers to save up to £600.

Previously, it has always taken up to 30 days to transfer a current but the industry shakeup will see that timeframe slashed to seven working days. Expect customers to benefit from this extra layer of competitiveness.

"It is definitely worth switching," said Mark Fiander from the Money Advice Service. It's not uncommon to save £500 or £600 by switching your bank. Now whether that's because you're not paying fees or charges, or equally if you're not getting interest that's sitting in your current account, it can really add up," he told the BBC.”

The moves may prove especially beneficial for those that regularly juggle overdrafts and with some banks actively offering cashback deals, the potential rewards for the savvy customer could be significant.

With Virgin Money and Tesco set to bring yet more competition to the market with new current accounts, we could be seeing a major change in the nature of retail banking. It is still a fairly rare phenomenon for people to change banks and there is a certain inertia – call it loyalty or call it resignation – but this has allowed a certain complacency to enter the retail banking sector. Even if 7 days still seems inconvenient, it should at least boost what banks offer, even if not that many people actively take advantage of the option to switch.

The Money Advice Service, which is backed by the government is launching a comparison tool on today. Meerkats however will apparently not be seen receiving large bonuses and attending overpriced strip clubs.

In the meantime, customers can visit the Current Account Switch Service, which has been set up by the Payments Council to give details about which banks are taking part and how people can switch.

Written by Cyrus Bozorgmehr - Google+ Profile - More articles by Cyrus Bozorgmehr

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