April 23, 2015 / 6:37 AM / 5 years ago

More Britons move banks as switching service speeds up process

LONDON (Reuters) - Rules making it easier for Britons to switch banks resulted in a 7 percent increase in the number of customers moving accounts in the last 12 months, the Payments Council said on Thursday.

Introduced in 2013, the rule ensure customers can switch accounts within seven working days with all outgoing and incoming payments automatically transferred.

They are part of measures designed to break the dominance of Britain’s four biggest banks — Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and HSBC — which between them provide more than three-quarters of all UK personal current accounts.

The Payments Council, which oversees the service, said 1.14 million switches were made in the year to March 31, up from 1.06 million the year before.

More than seven out of ten Britons are aware of the service compared with fewer than six out of ten when, it launched the Payments Council said.

Halifax, owned by Lloyds, and Spain’s Banco Santander were the biggest net gainers of customers, according to the data.

Halifax has offered cash awards to tempt new customers, while Santander is offering a better-than-average rate of interest to customers with deposits between 3,000 pounds and 20,000 pounds. Barclays and NatWest were the biggest net losers of customers during the period.

Reporting by Matt Scuffham, editing by Louise Heavens

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