Business Personal Finance

Sunday 25 March 2018

Switching accounts is now much easier

RESEARCH has shown the vast majority of people who opened a bank account with their Holy Communion money are still with the same bank.

Seven out of 10 people who used the money they got at the age of seven or eight after the church sacrament to open an account have stayed with that bank, research conducted by Amarach on behalf of Permanent TSB shows. Higher bank changes are making people question the wisdom of sticking with the same bank. Here we attempt to answer some questions on switching.

Q: I would switch, but is it not just too much hassle?

A: The process has become easier in recent years.

Since 2010, banks have been required to comply with the Code of Conduct on the Switching of Current Accounts with Credit Institutions (The Switching Code).

This code outlines various requirements and timelines that banks must meet when consumers are switching to or from their institution.

And it means that once you sign up for a switch the bank you are leaving and the one you are moving to will do most of the paperwork for you.

Some banks have set up dedicated switching teams to sort out the nitty gritty like setting up direct debits and standing orders on your new account, getting online and phone banking up and running and following up with your old bank to supply any details you've requested.

Q: Is switching bank accounts really worth it?

A: Although standard current accounts offer many of the same standard features -- debit card, direct debits and so on -- they can vary enormously in terms of the fees charged.

If you're fed up of bank charges, take a look at this National Consumer Agency review of current accounts to discover which ones offer the best value: CurrentAccount

Q: What date in the month should I choose to switch my account over?

A: If all your direct debits and standing orders go out around the same time every month, it makes sense to avoid this day to minimise the potential for any problems.

For many customers, mid-month can be a good time to look at switching.

Q: Why have I been asked to produce loads of proof of ID to open a bank account?

A: Banks have to comply with strict anti-money laundering laws.

When you open an account, the bank must check you are who you say you are and that you live where you say you do, so they will ask you to provide separate proofs of identity and address.

Q: Do I need to close my old account and arrange for any remaining money to be transferred over?

A: When switching, you have the option of closing your old account or keeping it open.

You let your new bank know your choice when you go through the switching process with them.

If you choose to close your old account, your new back will arrange for this and for any remaining balance to be transferred.

Q: How long should the switch to a better bank account take?

A: When you are switching a current account, you pick a switching date.

Under the switching code, a credit institution must ensure that all actions required under the code have been undertaken within 10 working days of that switching date.

Irish Independent

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