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Opening a new Business Current Account - what you need to know

By Competition and Markets Authority

Benefits of easy access to Business Current accounts

At the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), we’ve made requirements for banks, to make it easier for you to open the right Business Current Account for your business. This means you can now save money by having the best account for your business’ needs with the bank of your choice.

As a business banking customer, you should never be forced into having a business account with a bank just because you have a loan or savings account with that bank. It’s not often obvious when you open a business account – some business current accounts often have charges for usage. So, opening the wrong account can be costly for your business.

It’s now easier for you to choose and open the account that best meets your needs; this means that banks have a reason to offer a wide range of services at different costs.

This is not only beneficial to individual businesses; it can also benefit everyone else as banks need to work harder to keep their customers.

What you should expect from your bank

  • Banks must  make choosing and opening a business account easier
  • 8 of the UK’s large banks must not use bundling tactics to try to force you to open or maintain a business account with them because you also have a loan or savings/deposit account with them
  • Banks must provide better, comparable information about banking costs and quality of service 
  • Banks must make opening a business account easier through standardising opening procedures
  • Banks must make it easier to switch an account from one bank to another

Transparency about banks’ quality of service

To help you make the decision on which bank to pick, we require banks to publish information on how good the service they provide is in comparison with other banks.

This is called a Service Quality Indicator (SQI), which is a simple customer satisfaction report that banks publish. These are published separately for personal current accounts and business current accounts, and it should be easy to find SQIs on bank and building society websites and displayed in branches.

Easier switching between banks

Open banking apps allow you to search for financial products offered by different banks and easily compare costs, for example, their transaction tariffs. This way you can identify which current account and which bank best fits your business’ financial patterns and which to switch to if you want a better deal/ service.

We required improvements to be made to the Current Account Switch Service (CASS). This service is free to use. If you choose to move to a different business account, CASS redirects any payments from your old bank to your new account.

This means you don’t have the hassle of having to sort that out yourself. CASS is also backed by the Current Account Switch Guarantee, which guarantees that any charges incurred on your old or new account as a result of a failure of the switching process, will be refunded.

Further information on CASS can be found on Why switch.

For more detailed information on the CMA’s banking remedies visit the CMA’s blog page.

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