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New paper takes a look into the future of account switching

13.9.2018

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The future of account switching, and the challenges and opportunities arising from the Competition and Market Authority’s (CMA) retail banking package of reforms, is the theme of a new discussion paper released by the Current Account Switch Service.

The publication explores the role of the switching ecosystem in the context of open banking, considering the impact that different market players have in delivering value and effectiveness for banks, third party providers (TPPs) and end consumers.

Specifically, the paper outlines some of the immediate opportunities facing both the switching service, which is now part of the New Payment System Operator (NPSO), and the wider community, as well as possible options for the practical application of innovative, consumer-centric technology that could enhance a consumer’s switching journey.

Importantly, the publication also considers the challenges posed by the likes of financial inclusion and vulnerability, informed consent, data quality and access and digital identity, all of which could pose challenges in delivering true and lasting consumer benefits.

Anne Pieckielon, director of product and strategy at NPSO subsidiary, Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs), is responsible for the Current Account Switch Service. She said: “Given the rate and scale of change across the whole sector, we hope that this paper will help spark further discussion on how the switching ecosystem can harness technological and regulatory change to deliver benefits for end-users.

“The Current Account Switch Service has already delivered considerable benefits when it comes to the reliability, ease and convenience of switching banks and building societies and we feel ideally placed to help stimulate the discussion on the future of switching.”

The new report, entitled ‘Consumer switching: Challenges and opportunities for current account switching from the Competition and Markets Authority retail banking reform’ can be found here​.

For further information contact our press office.


 

Notes to editors:

About Bacs:

Founded in 1968, Bacs has processed over 130 billion payments in the last five decades. In 2017, a record 6.34 billion UK payments were made this way with a total value of £4.9 trillion, including over 4.2 billion Direct Debits. A new record was also set on 31 August 2018, with 114 million transactions processed in a single day.

On 1 May 2018, Bacs Payment Schemes Limited became a wholly owned subsidiary of the new home for UK retail payments, the NPSO. The responsibility for the operations of Direct Debit, Bacs Direct Credit, the Current Account Switch Service, Cash ISA Transfer Service and the Industry Sort Code Directory were handed over to the NPSO.

The Bacs payment systems are recognised as systemically important infrastructure under the Banking Act 2009. This means that, as the owner and operator of Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit, the NPSO is regulated by the Financial Markets Infrastructure Directorate at the Bank of England.

For further information please visit www.bacs.co.uk.

About the New Payment System Operator:

NPSO Limited is the holding name for the company that has been set up to consolidate Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs), Faster Payments Scheme Limited (FPSL), and the Cheque & Credit Clearing Company Limited (C&CCC) which incorporates the Image Clearing System (ICS) that will replace the paper processing system for cheques currently managed by C&CCC. These retail payment systems, which process over £6.4 trillion worth of payments every year between them, are joined by UK Payments Administration Ltd (UKPA), which provides people, facilities and business services expertise to support the systems behind the payment system operations.

Bringing all of these retail payment services together will reduce complexity and risk, providing a platform for innovation. The company will support a vibrant UK economy by enabling a globally competitive payments industry in the UK.

For further information please visit www.newpso.uk.

About the Current Account Switch Service:

Key features of the Current Account Switch Service include:

  • The service is free to use
  • The switch will be completed in seven working days – a substantial improvement on the previous process that could take between 18 and 30 working days
  • The customer can choose and agree the switch date with their new current account provider.
  • All payments going out (e.g. Direct Debits) and those coming in (e.g. salary) will be moved from the old account to the new account
  • Payments accidentally made to or requested from the old account will be automatically redirected to the new account for as long as the facility is required
  • The Current Account Switch Guarantee means that the customer will receive a refund of interest and charges on their old and new current accounts if anything goes wrong with the switch.

As of 1 April 2015, the eligibility criteria for businesses, charities and trusts was extended. SMEs with a turnover of up to £6.5 million, small charities with an annual income of less than £6.5 million, and small trusts with a net asset value of less than £6.5 million can switch their current account provider using the Current Account Switch Service.

The service was previously available for small businesses with a turnover of 2 million euros (or sterling equivalent); and this extension increases the reach of the service to 99% of the UK’s SME market.

Bacs is responsible for all aspects of the service including working on the recommendations in the Financial Conduct Authority’s ‘Making Current Account Switching Easier’ report, and the findings from the CMA’s market investigation into retail banking.