Seven-day bank account switching begins today

Switching banks should become simpler under a new pledge which takes effect today. Credit: PA

A "new era of competition and choice" for the UK's 49 million current account holders has dawned with a guarantee which enables consumers to ditch their old bank and switch to another provider in just seven days.

The new pledge, which covers almost all of the current account market, aims to take the hassle out of switching current accounts and should ultimately mean providers offering better products and customer service.

When customers change accounts, their new bank will be held responsible for all existing payments being moved over with the account and any new payments accidentally made to the old one will automatically be captured by a central service and redirected for 13 months.