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Historically people in the UK have made loyal customers, choosing to support their decision and stick with the same bank account for many years if not a lifetime.
In recent years however there has been a shift towards shopping around for the best deal and in light of internet developments more and more people are able to find out for themselves what they need to know and where to go to get the best deal for them.
One thing that often prevents some people from switching accounts and possibly getting a better deal is the worry that if something goes wrong their finances could be left up in the air and cause unnecessary headaches.
Switching or moving a bank account need not be a tricky or complicated process. The most important thing to ensure a seamless transition is preparation.
One of the first things to do is open the new account. Once a choice has been made either visit a branch or using online facilities where possible, open the new account. If a minimum deposit is required, use funds that don’t interfere with money that may be needed for day to day banking and payments.
Direct Debits and Standing Orders.
Make a list of all standing orders and direct debits and the companies they are with. Contact each company either by phone, in writing or in person and let them know there is going to be a change of banking details. Most companies will then send you a new direct debit form to complete and return (a signature is often required) when you are ready to make the switch.
Some companies need time to amend payment details so it’s important to give them plenty of notice. Usually changing direct debit details very close to the due date is not possible but submitting a request at around the time of a payment should allow enough time for the changes to be made in readiness for the next payment. When setting up direct debits and standing orders it is also sometimes possible to specify a start date which can help things fall into place nicely.
The most important aspect of changing an account into which income is paid is timing. If the account is also used for making regular payments it is important to make sure the necessary funds are available. The actual process of changing the bank details is straightforward and simply requires the company making the payment to be given the new account details. A signature may be required for this but it may be possible to make these changes over the phone. In the case of income it may simple mean a chat with the personnel department.
Some banks or institutions even offer a service whereby they will transfer all of your existing direct debits on your behalf so you don’t even have to lift a finger. It still makes sense to list all of the details and check that the changes are all made correctly just in case something is overlooked or missed.