The UK Payments Council has called for
“massive system changes for all banks” to ease the account
switching process.

The proposals come as a fresh blow for an
already struggling banking sector as unsatisfied customers could be
incited to switch banks because they will face less hassle in the

The proposals by the Payments Council, to be
imposed by September 2013, include:

  • automatic switching of incoming payments: To
    date, only outgoing payments such as direct debits are moved to
    another bank account directly – and the consumer carries the
    responsibility to notify anybody who pays funds into their
  • that direct debit collectors update their own
    records if customers change account details, and
  • cutting the time it takes to switch accounts
    from 18 to a maximum of seven days.

“It will encourage competition within the UK’s
banking sector and improve transparency for customer,” the Payments
Council said in a statement.

According to
research by Accenture
, 16% of customers switched banks in 2010,
compared with 14% in 2007; and 14% said that they were planning to
switch in the next 12 months.

Younger customers are 30% less likely to
complain, the management consulting found, which means that
they are less likely to hesitate to switch banks. In fact,
customers aged between 18 to 24 years were 50% more likely to
switch banks.

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