UK consumers favour portable bank account numbers

Around two-thirds of people in UK support the introduction of portable account numbers, while 59 per cent say they would switch banks if they did not have to change their details and 76 per cent say this would make the account porting process easier,  reveals a survey conducted by consumer rights organisation Which?

Over half of those surveyed had never switched the account they were currently operating.

An event hosted by Which? aimed at encouraging banks to introduce portable account numbers saw representatives from Lloyds, RBS, Barclays, HSBC, Metro Bank and Virgin Money representatives meet members of the Treasury Select Committee and the British Bankers' Association. The numbers came from the meeting.

According to the consumer watchdog, portable account numbers would remove the need for people to change existing direct debits and standing orders and make switching banks as easy as changing mobile phone providers, leading to greater competition and better products and customer service.

Portable accounts may spin off other benefits including changes to the agency clearing service making it easier for smaller banks to set up operations as also reducing the chance of taxpayers having to bail out banks again due to the regulator shutting down a failing bank and migrating customers to healthier banks.

According to Which? executive director Richard Lloyd one of the most important ways that consumers could help improve the prevailing culture was by voting with their feet and walking away to another bank.