More than 9.6m current accounts switched since service launched a decade ago

A service which enables current account holders to ditch and switch to a new provider quickly and smoothly is celebrating its 10th birthday.

More than 9.6 million switches have been counted since the Current Account Switch Service (Cass) launched on September 16 2013.

The free-to-use service can be used by people, small businesses and small charities. It takes the hassle out of switching and there is also a guarantee that acts as a safety net if anything goes wrong.

There have recently been some signs of a jump in people ditching and switching.

According to Cass, the most popular date it has seen so far for switching was November 8 2022, when 13,566 switches were counted.

In the rising interest rate environment, some switchers may be attracted by decent rates on savings accounts linked to the current account.

Some current account providers have also been offering as much as £200 to switch in recent months, while some accounts also offer cashback for particular types of spending, which may help people’s budgets to stretch further in the cost-of-living squeeze.

John Dentry, product owner, Pay.UK, the owner and operator of Cass, told the PA news agency that the number of providers participating in the scheme has increased over the past decade. The service covers 99% of UK current accounts across 50 banks and building societies.

He said: “There are a variety of offerings that are out there. Not just with the participating brands themselves, but the products that they offer as well.”

Mr Dentry, who was previously involved in work to introduce the service, said: “It’s been quite a great journey for me to watch it all unfold, not only the service evolve itself but also those that operate within the space of Cass.”

Asked about the recent growing appetite for ditching and switching, he said: “I think there’s definitely a variety of reasons, one of the key ones that we see is the cash incentives that are out in the market.

“We’ve seen not only an increase in the cash amount… but alongside that we’ve seen more organisations offer cash incentives as well.”

As well as rising interest rates, he also highlighted the value of good customer service for current account holders, whether that is provided digitally, on the phone or face-to-face in a branch.

Those using the service should allow seven working days for the switch to take place.

People can start the switch by asking their new bank or building society to move their old account using Cass.

The process will be handled by the bank or building society the customer is switching to, and they will let the individual know when the switch has started and completed.

Payments will automatically be moved to the new account and any payments sent to the old account by mistake will be redirected to the new one.

The new account should be ready to use and the old account should be closed on the agreed switch date.

Under the current account switch guarantee, the new bank or building society should refund any interest and charges incurred as a result of a delayed or incorrect switch.

Joint account holders and people with overdrafts can use the service.

For joint accounts, permission of both account holders will be needed and overdraft users will need to agree any overdraft facilities required with the new bank or building society before starting the switch.

People may also want to check their eligibility for a certain account. For example, some current accounts require a certain number of regular payments to be made from the account, or a minimum amount being paid in each month.

Peter Tyler, director of personal banking at banking and finance industry trade association UK Finance, said: “The UK current account market is highly competitive and banks and building societies have a range of accounts available for customers to choose from.

“Cass has made it a lot easier for customers to switch current accounts securely and with confidence.”