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How easy is it to switch current accounts?

According to the Central Bank, current accounts continue to represent the largest number of consumer complaints received when it comes to banking products, yet the percentage of customers who switch current accounts remains incredibly low at just 0.06%! There is a public perception that switching banks is a difficult and laborious process when in reality it’s fairly simple and easy, especially with the help of the Central Bank’s Switching Code.

There is a lot of cynicism around when it comes to current accounts, with many people arguing that there is no point in switching banks because offerings across the board aren’t competitive and have remained stagnant for some time. This is finally starting to change however, as after years of inactivity and rising fees, Ireland's banks are finally adding some creativity to their offerings.

Permanent TSB will pay you 10 cent for every debit card transaction, AIB have just announced an everyday rewards scheme that will give you cashback on certain purchases, and KBC will let you open an account from your mobile phone.

If you have never switched current accounts, now might be the time to make a move.

Sounds interesting, but isn’t switching current accounts a huge hassle?

Despite what you might think, switching banks is actually a relatively easy process. Perceptions about switching are largely negative with a lot of people worried that the process will be difficult, that they’ll lose direct debits, miss mortgage payments and will have to wait a long time to get new cards. Fortunately, there are measures in place to help you make the transition as quickly and as smoothly as possible in the form of The Central Bank’s Switching Code.

What is The Central Bank’s Switching Code?

Introduced in 2010 and reviewed late last year, The Central Bank’s Switching Code is a set of procedures that must be followed by banks when a customer decides to switch their current account from one provider to another.

The code ensures that switches have to be completed by the bank within a 10 day timeframe and this includes the transfer of all direct debits and standing orders.

The code provides for a smooth, efficient switching process for the customer, consistency of approach to the process by all banks, as well as protection and support for customers contemplating or undertaking the switching process.

How to switch current accounts with bonkers.ie

Even if you’re happy with your current bank, it’s always worth making a quick comparison to make sure that you are with the best bank for your requirements. By switching you could avoid paying the unnecessary banking fees that tend to creep up on us from a number of sources including ATM withdrawal fees and of course, it’s always worth knowing if you meet the criteria required for fee-free banking.  

Here at bonkers.ie we’ve made it really simple to compare and switch current accounts on our Compare Current Accounts page. Here’s a quick video that explains exactly how to use it:

So you’ve decided to switch:

After you have carried out your comparison and decided to switch using the “proceed” button, you will be taken to your chosen bank’s switching page and will be advised on where to go from there.

Usually the bank will arrange a call with you to get the ball rolling. Make sure that you mention The Central Bank’s Switching Code to both your current bank and the bank that you want to switch to, to ensure that the the process runs as smoothly as possible.

The good news is that over the last two years, while switching levels remain low, 99% of the current account switches completed under the Switching Code were completed within the timeframes prescribed by that Code (10 days).

Current Accounts Week

Don’t forget that it’s Current Accounts Week here at bonkers.ie and we’re out to shine a light on the facts and myths that surround current accounts in Ireland right now. So, let us know your questions!

We’ll be hosting a LIVE Facebook Q&A this Friday, May 19th at 1pm to talk current accounts in-depth.

To have your question answered in our live Q&A, just tweet us using #askbonkers, email us at hello@bonkers.ie or leave a comment below this piece.


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