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Switching bank accounts: is it a hassle?

Not so long ago, a bank account was for life. Through change of job, divorce, moving out of town, we kept the same bank account. Now banks are tempting us to give up on loyalty with a range of enticing offers. Is switching bank accounts as easy as they claim?

First look at your current account and see if you are getting a good deal. Most current accounts pay minuscule interest, but some banks and building societies offer worthwhile rates. If you regularly have a substantial balance in your account, this could add up over a year.

Use a comparison site like www.moneysupermarket.com to give you an instant view of the main banks' current account details. Look for a checklist of the financial transactions that you require. Inspect the fine print carefully to see if certain banks have high overdraft charges, for example.

You should be aware that changing banks regularly is not ideal if you have a less-than-pristine credit record. Lenders like to see evidence of financial stability.  A single change won't make any difference, but regular bank hopping will not impress.

The switching process has become much more streamlined in recent years. You can check the technical fine details of the process at a website like www.thisismoney.co.uk. Banks are required to cooperate with each other, and your new bank usually transfers all of your standing orders and direct debits to the new account immediately.

It is up to you to give your employer the details of your new account where your salary will be paid. For freelances, who receive payments from several sources, this can be an arduous task, but you can tell yourself it only has to be done once, at least until the next time you feel like switching bank accounts.

 

 

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