How do I switch bank accounts?
Most banks have agreed to use the new switching service, which means it should take just seven working days to switch you over from your old account once the new account is opened.
If you want to check which banks and building societies are participating, you can search by name here on the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) website.
The switching service is largely automated. The step-by-step process below details exactly what happens.
Find your new bank account. The short video explains how to find a current account that's best suited to your needs.
When you apply to the new bank, it will undertake its normal account-opening procedures.
It will confirm that it will use the new current account switching service backed by the Current Account Switch Guarantee.
Banks and building societies have to comply with strict money-laundering rules so, when you open an account, you'll be asked to provide two separate documents for proof of identity and proof of address.
Once your new account has been opened, you will need to complete a 'Current Account Switch Agreement' form and a 'Current Account Switch Service – Account Closure' form.
You will be able to choose and agree a convenient switch date for you with the new bank or building society.
It can't be a Saturday, Sunday or bank holiday, and must be at least seven working days after your account has been opened.
Once this has been agreed, your new bank will provide confirmation that the switch has begun and will be completed on the agreed switch date.
You will continue using your old current account up until the agreed switching date. Your new bank will contact you if there any issues during this period.
On the switch date, your new bank will be responsible for moving your incoming and outgoing payments, and transferring any money to your new account, before closing the old account and sending confirmation that the process is complete.
Best bank account switching bonuses
We don't recommend switching just because a bank is offering short-term perks.
Our guide to finding the best bank account helps you pick the right account by comparing credit interest rates, overdraft charges and its Which? customer score.
But if you’re already looking to move, it’s worth seeing what incentives are on offer:
New customers switching to First Direct are given the option to choose from the latest tech, travel vouchers, or a range of self-development courses. Must do a full switch and pay in £1,000 within three months of opening for cash bonus. Open to new customers only. Account is fee-free as long as you pay in £1,000/mth or maintain an average balance of £1,000 (otherwise £10/mth).
Range of gifts
- see 'More info'
£250 interest-free overdraft
Linked regular saver pays 5%
Must do a full switch. Not available if switching from Bank of Scotland, or you previously received a Halifax switching bonus since Jan '12.
|Reward and |
Reward pays £3/mth cashback
(must pay in £750, remain in credit
and keep two direct debits)
Must do a full switch; register for online and/or mobile banking ; and pay in at least £1,750 each month, for nine months a year – or £10,500 over six months. No bonus available if you've had a HSBC current account since January 2015.
(£150 within 30 days
£50 after a year)
|Linked regular saver pays 5%|
Must do a full switch; maintain two direct debits or standing orders; and pay in at least £500 per month, or £3,000 over six months. No bonus available if you've had a HSBC current account since January 2015.
|63%||£75||Linked regular saver pays 5%|
Must do a full switch with at least two direct debits for the £125. Pay in £1,000/mth and keep two direct debits active for an extra £5/mth added to your M&S gift card in year one.
|Current and |
£125 M&S gift voucher
plus £60 in first year
1 point/£1 spent on debit card in M&S
Linked regular saver pays 5%
Complete this form to get £100 each if a friend or family member switches to Nationwide and moves two direct debits (excludes FlexOne and FlexBasic) within 90 days.
Refer a friend
and share £200
FlexDirect pays 5% in year one (then 1%) up to £2,500
Linked regular saver pays 5%
Table last updated on 24 September 2018.
Which? Customer Score: Which?'s rating for customer satisfaction, based on feedback from real customers. The score is made up of a customer's overall satisfaction with the brand, and how likely they are to recommend that brand to a friend. We surveyed 5,023 members of the general public in March 2018.
What do I do if I have problems with my switch?
The Current Account Switch Guarantee outlines how the switching service works and what rights you have if anything goes wrong with the switch.
All providers offering the Current Account Switch Service will abide by these rules:
- The service is free to use, and you can choose and agree your switch date with the new bank.
- The new bank will take care of moving all your payments going out (eg direct debits and standing orders) and those coming in (eg your salary) to your new account.
- Your new bank will arrange for the closure of your old account and for the remaining balance to be transferred to your new account on the agreed switch date.
- For 36 months, the new bank will arrange for payments accidentally made to your old account to be automatically redirected to your new account. The new bank will also contact the sender and give them your new account details.
- The responsibility lies with the new bank to contact you before the switch date if there are any issues.
- The new bank must refund you for any charges incurred as a result of a direct debit or standing order not having been successfully transferred to the new account.
- If you run into any problems during or after the switching process – for example, if your bank fails to comply with the Switch Guarantee – you should complain in the first instance directly to your new bank.
- If you're not happy with the answer you get or it doesn't reply to you within eight weeks, you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).
Know your rights: I want to cancel a financial product I bought online – what to do if you change your mind.
When should I choose to switch my bank account over?
Under the new switching service, it shouldn't matter what working day you choose to make the switch over to the new account.
However, if all your direct debits and standing orders go out around the same time every month, it makes sense to avoid switching on this day to minimise the potential for any problems.
Can I switch bank accounts if I'm overdrawn?
No, not necessarily. Whether or not the new account provider offers you an overdraft facility and whether or not it matches your current overdraft limit will depend on your circumstances.
If you've got an authorised overdraft and have a record of managing it well, most banks will consider taking the overdraft on.
Do I have to close my old current account?
No, if you don't want to close your old account, you can do a partial switch instead.
The main downside is that you aren't covered by the service guarantee, so you aren't automatically refunded for any charges incurred as a result of a direct debit or standing order failing to transfer properly.
It may also take longer than seven days to complete the switch.
And, the best switching incentives are often reserved for customers who use the full switch (CASS).
More help for switchers in 2018
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published new rules requiring banks and building societies to publish more information to help people make more meaningful comparisons between current account providers.
Under the new rules, you will be able to find out:
- how and when services and helplines are available
- contact details for help, including for 24 hour helplines
- how long it will take to open a current account
- how long it will take to have a debit card replaced
- how often the firm has had to report major operational and security incidents
- the level of complaints made against the firm
Current account providers will be required to publish most of this information from 15 August 2018 onwards, although they have until 15 February 2019 before they are required to publish account opening and debit card replacement metrics.