Banks and building societies will next month launch a new current account switching service for consumers and small businesses, which will allow them to switch their accounts more easily, the Payments Council has said.
The 33 institutions signed up to the service, which account for virtually the whole of the current account marketplace, will offer the new service to consumers, small charities and small businesses from 16 September.
The service is designed to make switching current accounts from one provider to another simpler, reliable and hassle-free and will be backed by a guarantee displayed in providers' branches, online and supporting literature, the Council said.
Payments Council chief executive Adrian Kamellard said: "After two years of work and commitment by the Payments Council and financial institutions to develop this new standardised switching service, today marks a significant day for all parties involved.
"There is now just one month to go until the launch of the Current Account Switch Service and as final preparations are made for launch we look forward to a new era of account switching which will lead to greater choice for customers and wider competition in the marketplace."
The main differences under the new service will be a shorter account switching period of seven working days, a universal transfer service of the bank holders' details to the new account, and the redirection of payments from the old account for a period of 13 months.
The person trying to debit/credit the old account will also be notified of the new account information and the account holder will be refunded if interest payments and charges are made as a result of the switch failing.
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