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Ask an expert: ‘Why did my pension go missing when I switched my bank account?’

Find out what do to when things go wrong when you move bank account

Every week, Which?’s money experts answer your financial queries. You can submit your questions to money-letters@which.co.uk, or via our Facebook or Twitter pages.

Q. I recently switched to a new bank account using the current-account switching service. The bank told me that thanks to the switch guarantee I wouldn’t have to do anything about my outgoing and incoming payments, as it would move them all over for me.

However, I’ve just discovered that my pension has not been paid into my account for several weeks, leaving me without money to meet regular payments. What has gone wrong?

Supplied via the Which? Money Helpline.

The current-account switch service was launched in 2013 to simplify the process of moving to a different bank or building society. It enables you to move to a new bank withing seven working days.

More than 3.7 million people have successfully switched bank account using the service since it launched.

How does the switching service work?

All current account providers participating in this scheme have signed up to the Current Account Switch Guarantee.

As part of this service, your new bank is supposed to transfer all of your regular incoming payment (such as your salary, pension or benefits) and outgoing payments (such as direct debits, standing orders, future-dated payments and bill payments) to your new account, along with any remaining credit balance.

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.

Importantly, 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.

Why did your pension go missing?

In your case, your pension provider needed written confirmation from you of your new details before it would pay money into your new account.

We asked BACS, which runs the switching service, why this might have happened.

It told us that ‘all incoming payments will be automatically redirected’ to your new bank account and that ‘an advice notice is generated for the payer informing them they should update their records with your new bank account details.’

BACS stated that some organisations may contact the account holder to confirm the change in details as part of their own internal processes. This could be to prevent fraud or scams, so while frustrating, it is ultimately designed to protect you.

This why your pension company stopped making payments to your account until you had confirmed to them that the new details provided to it were correct.

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