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Posted on Wednesday, 13 July 2011 09:53AM by
The Payments Council has said switching times can be slashed in half and customers given a guarantee that no regular payments will be dropped.

Bank business and retail customers will be given a guarantee that they can switch banks hassle free within seven working days, the Payments Council has said.

The industry body has said improvements can be made to the way that banks handle customers transferring to rivals and that reforms will take place over the next two years.

As well as cutting the time it takes to switch accounts, the Council said it would shift the responsibility for transferring regular payments into accounts, as well as payments out, from consumers and small business owners to the banks.

Gary Hocking, acting chief executive of the council, said: “We are looking to give customers total peace of mind that they can switch their bank account with ease.”

Industry figures suggest 8pc of bank customers switched in the last five years, although bank sources said the figure was significantly lower for small businesses.