Do we love our bank more than our partner?

Historically, people have been more likely to divorce than switch their current account to another bank.

The average British marriage lasts just over 11 years, according to a recent survey, while the average relationship with your bank will survive for 17 years.

But while we may be faithful to our chosen bank, does it deserve such loyalty?

Although over one-third of Britons switched their car insurance provider in the past two years, only 6% changed their current account provider. While many people might benefit from a switch, some believe bank accounts are too similar to make switching worthwhile, while others remain worried about the possibility of consequent errors. However, new rules have come into force that should make it quicker and easier to move an account to another bank.

A report compiled by the Independent Commission on Banking in 2011 found the simplest way to increase competition amongst UK banks was to make it faster, simpler and more attractive for customers to move banks. Previously, it could take up to 30 days to transfer a current account from one bank to another. Under the new system, it will take only seven working days and the new bank will do all the legwork – from notifying the old bank to transferring existing standing orders and direct debits. After the changeover, anypayments to or from the old account will be automatically forwarded to the new account for 13 months. Above all, the new rules are designed to make customers feel more comfortable about switching.

If you want to reassess your banking relationship, is well worth a visit. Dozens of banking brands have signed up to the scheme so far and others are preparing to join. Some are offering cash-back deals or other incentives to encourage customers to switch accounts to them. These can be worth hundreds of pounds although it is important to ensure the underlying product is right for you, so do ensure you are not blinded by perks.

This blog post was written by Paul Lindfield, Director of Wealth Management for Manchester independent financial advisors, Sedulo Wealth Management.
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