Bank accounts: Switching your bank account What is Midata?

Piggy banks in a row on a grassy hill

The government's new Midata scheme allows bank customers to compare current accounts using their own spendnig data to create a personalised account comparison.

It means finding and switching to the best account for your spending profile - which could save you hundreds of pounds -  is now easier than ever.

However, there are still a few glitches in the Midata tool which you should watch out for. This guide shows you how to get the most from the new scheme.

Find out more: How to choose the best current account - see our top tips

What is Midata?

The top six banking groups have signed up to the scheme - meaning customers of the following banks can start using Midata; Barclays, Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds, M&S, Nationwide, Natwest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Ulster Bank.

To use the service and go through a personal current account comparison for the first time, visit the website Gocompare.

You will need to log in to your online banking and download your data in the .csv file format. On Gocompare, look for a blue tab entitled 'search using Midata'. Once you click on this you will be asked to upload the .csv file.

The site then produces an account comparison based on your personal data that it calls an 'estimated value'. This is the amount you could earn - or lose - if you switched to any of the accounts on the market. The site also shows you how much you are earning or paying on the account you are using.

Find out more: Online banking security - see our top tips

How to get the most out of Midata

It's important to know the role your own spending plays in the conclusions the tool reaches. This is where the 'more details' tab - found just below the 'estimated value' box on the right of the screen - comes into its own. 

Here you will see a breakdown of how the estimated value is calculated - and this can give you clues about your own behaviour which could be just as valuable as switching itself. 

So for example, customers who have savings but use their overdraft may find they would be better off if they moved some cash across to their current account to ensure they don't use their overdraft - and don't get charged for doing so.   

Use the coloured tabs at the top of the screen to filter out the account types - 'basic', 'packaged', 'standard' - which you aren't interested in. You can do this by unchecking the tick box at the right of each coloured tab. You can also explore further filtering options using the 'more filters' link below the three tabs.

Find out more: Make the most of high-interest current accounts - boost your earnings with our guide

Things to watch out for...

We think Midata could help you save money but would advise you to watch out for the following glitches and snags:

  • You can't use Midata on tablets or phones if they can’t handle .csv format files – we’d like the banks to change this.
  • The tool assumes that you would have the same authorised overdraft limit with any bank, but this may not be true when you actually switch.
  • If your current bank offers a switching incentive this will be factored into its value. This is misleading when it refers to your current bank as it is impossible to receive a switching incentive for remaining with your bank.
  • Some comparisons seem not to be completing correctly - we found examples of overdraft charges and interest not being shown. Double check the account's features to ensure the value that has been produced is accurate.

We forwarded our findings to Gocompare and they have assured us that they'll be setting these glitches straight.  

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