26th March 2015
Price comparison website Gocompare.com has launched a current account switching service, which it claims will allow consumers for the very first time make a properly informed decision when it comes to finding the right bank.
Gocompare.com said its “midata” current account comparison service will let customers of the big five banks – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Santander – as well as Nationwide find the best account by allowing users to compare all basic, packaged and standard bank offers on the market.
Midata is a voluntary programme the Government is undertaking with industry, which over time will give consumers increasing access to their personal data in a portable, electronic format. The purpose of the initiative is to help customers make better buying decisions based on how they actually use their current account.
Customers of banks that haven’t signed up to the midata initiative will not be able to use the midata comparison service in full as their banks have not yet agreed to provide the downloadable statements.
Launching Gocompare.com’s midata current account service, City Minister Andrea Leadsom MP, said: “This innovation will put much more control in the hands of customers and could transform the current account market. It will help customers understand how they are spending their money and whether they can get the best deal.
“It’s also very important that customers know their data is protected if they wish to take advantage of this new tool, which is why I’m pleased the banking industry has worked closely with the government and the Information Commissioner’s Office to make sure safeguards are in place, particularly around anonymising an individual’s banking data.”
Around 1.6m people have already switched their accounts since the seven-day current account switch guarantee scheme came into force in September 2013 but people are still reluctant to change bank accounts according to research from Gocompare.com, with 40% admitting that they have never switched.
Nearly a quarter, at 24%, of those surveyed said that they have not switched as they cannot see how they would benefit from a new account despite a third, at 32%, admitting that they would switch if they knew they could get a better deal on their current account.
Matt Sanders, Gocompare.com’s banking spokesman said that midata for current accounts could not have come at a better time. He said: “A third of people admitted to us that they would be more likely to switch current accounts if they knew they could get a better deal elsewhere, and 13% said that they hadn’t switched as they didn’t know how to find the best account for them.
“This is why midata is a much-needed development in the current account market. Many personal banking customers find themselves baffled by incentives, charges and interest payments, but don’t have the time to search through each account separately to see which is the best one for their circumstances. By using midata they can do this quickly, easily and accurately.”