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New deal to make bank account comparisons easier
Major current account providers have signed up to an agreement that will give customers their account data in a simple, standardised format that can be used in comparison sites for the first time.
The agreement, brokered by HM Treasury and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, should enable consumers to carry out quick and easy comparisons of accounts, including fees, charges and benefits attached, and make informed decisions on whether there are better accounts for them to switch to.
Which? research has found that that half (52 per cent) of consumers who have not switched banks said they would be more likely to if it was easier to compare accounts.
The new move, announced on 16 March, follows the launch of the Current Account Switching Service (CASS) last September, which guarantees current account switches in just seven days.
The major current account providers signed up to the scheme are Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, Nationwide, RBS, and Santander, with others expected to make the data available in due course.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said: “The government is increasing competition in High Street banking and arming customers with the weapons they need to hold banks to account to make sure that they are getting the best deal.”
Martin Lewis, founder of moneysavingexpert.com, said the website would work with the major banks as it looked to develop a comparison tool for consumers to check they were receiving the best deal.
He said: “There’s been a resistance to moving current accounts for too long. While seven-day switching has reduced the hassle, people still find it difficult to assess the tangible gains as there’s no simple price tag on bank accounts.”
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, added: “We’ve long campaigned for consumers to be given better data about their personal current account running costs, to help people compare banks and inject much needed competition into the market. This information should make a big difference as people could be thousands of pounds worse off by having the wrong account.”
Link: Guidance on switching bank accounts