Wednesday 31 July 2019

Sharing my Experience of Switching my Bank Current Account

Photo by Nick Pampoukidis on Unsplash

After 35 years with HSBC (formally Midland Bank) my husband and I have just switched our current account, in fact all our accounts, to another provider. I have to admit that it was pretty daunting, we’ve been with them a very long time and know how they work. The easiest thing would have been to remain with HSBC for another 35 years, but to be frank we didn’t feel they were valuing us and with a sudden change in interest rates for our savings and a naff interaction with one of their personal bankers in the branch we felt it was time to take our business elsewhere.

I suspect there are many people in the same situation as us, wondering if there is something better out there but avoiding thinking about it, as moving a current account feels pretty big and scary. Who wants to set up all those standing orders, direct debits, and transfer details again?

Great news, you don’t have to. Banks and building societies in the UK make it very easy for you to switch your current account. You might have switched one of your utilities in recent years using a switch service and it is almost as easy as that! Take a look on the Current Account Switch website and see if your current bank or building society is signed up to the guarantee and thus making it easy. At a glance it looked like it was all the big high street ones I know.

Our move was from HSBC to Nationwide and this gave us and a friend a £100 welcome bonus each as they recommended us. It also means we are now part of the Nationwide Building Society and we get members rights, such as preferential savings rates. Another factor for us is that the Nationwide is the only bank or building society that still has a branch in our local town. All the others are closing theirs and moving away from personal service, but I can still bank a cheque or get an appointment when I need one and Nationwide have made a commitment to keep their high street branches open.

I'm not here to sell Nationwide to you though this isn't a sponsored post, I just thought it would be good to share my experience and reassure others how easy this process can be. Remember that you have to switch your account to one with the same holders name and a joint account cannot become a single one, and vice versa.

What we had to do
We made an appointment at our local branch of Nationwide to see the personal banking adviser. We had to bring proof with us that we are British citizens and of where we live.  I had wondered if we'd need to list all our regular payments and give them to Nationwide but no, the service does it all for you. So all we had to confirm was that we wanted to do a full account switch and this meant our HSBC current account would be closed.

We gave our details and the adviser filled them out online and then we had to sign and register our signatures. She also took the details from our identification and that was it. It really was very quick and easy.

How the switch went
By the time we reached home, I had an email confirming that we had started our current account switch and they would get in touch with HSBC to advise them. The switch service guarantees that it will complete in 7 working days, you can choose your own completion date (as long as it is at least the 7 working days and is not on a weekend or bank holiday) or just go with the seventh day, which is what we did.

Quite quickly we received a letter from HSBC confirming they had received the instruction to switch and also advising us they would send us an email once the account was closed so that we could download all our transactions from the last five years. This was quite important to me, as I'm self-employed so I want my bank details to be able to prove my earnings if I should ever need to and of course most everything is stored online nowadays.

As the days went on, I received a few emails from Nationwide updating me on what was happening and where our accounts were in the process. We were advised to tell our employers and anyone who made regular payments to us about our new bank details, so that all payments would go smoothly from there onwards. On switch day, our balance transferred over to Nationwide without any issue and our bank cards were working when we went to the cashpoint.

I did find that I had one payment due two days after the swap and it was paid into our old, closed account but it moved seamlessly the same day into our new account. That is the beauty of the current account switch guarantee, that you know it will work. And if anything ever does go astray and you end up with a charge due to being overdrawn or such, that will be refunded. Full details of the guarantee over here.

Do's and Dont's

  • Do review any payments stored on your old account and have a clean up if they will no longer be used. No point in swapping things you do not need
  • Keep using your cards for your old account right up until the switch completion date and then move straight to your new ones
  • If you have an overdraft currently, do speak to your new provider and see if they will transfer that lending and take on your negative balance
  • Don't set up any direct debits or standing orders in the seven days that the accounts are being switched, as there is no guarantee they'll be moved over
  • Do tell your employer/ pension provider and those who pay you regularly about your new account details
  • Do sit back, relax and just wait for it all to happen

I have been so pleased with the switch, it was totally painless and I have found Nationwide online banking to be far easier to use than HSBC. I'm glad we made the switch and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend doing so to anyone else, if you feel there is a better current account for you with another bank or building society.

You might be considering one of the more modern Challenger bank accounts and if you are, check out this review of Starling Vs Monzo.

Why not pin this post for later?

Bank account switch pin