Attractive current accounts may be easier to switch to soon

Business banking news review: week ending 19 June 2014

Current accounts – which are rapidly replacing savings accounts as good deals – might be even easier to switch to in the very near future.

More or less everyone knows that the current state of savings accounts in the UK is an absolute travesty. You’ll be lucky to get any sort of rate of return that isn’t positively abysmal right now, and many beleaguered savers have actually begun to switch to current accounts because they offer interest rates that aren’t laughably low. In fact, it’s easy to get as much as 3 per cent to five per cent interest on balances up to a certain amount, which, for what it’s worth, beats the trousers off any offering from a High Street savings account right now.

Making current accounts even more palatable right now is the fact that banks and building societies are now required to comply with expedited switching regulations that speed up the process for consumers wishing to vote with their wallets and take their business elsewhere. Financial service providers have begrudgingly complied with the new legislation and consumers are responding positively – but the truth is there may be a time when it will take even less than seven business days to switch accouhnts, if City minister Andrea Leadsom can be believed.

Leadsom said in a recent statement that future Governments – a Tory one to be exact – could push forward with instant current account switching rules if an in-depth analysis says it’s beneficial to consumers. Banks and building societies are absolutely up in arms at her words, complaining that to facilitate such a system it would require some £10 billion in updated computer systems.

So what do I think of the possibility? I’m all for it. I don’t care how much it will cost – get it done and let it happen. £10 billion seems like shedloads of money but let’s be honest here – if you added up all the bonuses paid out to banking executives in a single year I’m sure it comes out to somewhere in that neighbourhood. It’s about bloody time that someone took the piss out of High Street for once instead of the other way around, and I’ll be the first one in line to switch my current account if this new pipe dream becomes a reality somewhere down the road. Serves these dirty bastard banks right, too, as far as I’m concerned!

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