Neil Bellamy, head of TMT for NatWest, explains the Current Account Switch Service, the pros, cons and who is eligible.

The Current Account Switch Service (CASS) was launched in September 2013 in a bid to make switching current accounts easier for individuals, small businesses, trusts and charities.

The service aims to increase competition, support the entry of new banks in the current account marketplace and give customers a greater choice when switching from one bank or building society to another.

But what are the benefits? How does it work? And who is eligible?

​More than 99% of all small businesses, charities and trusts can use the service. To be eligible you must have less than 50 employees and an annual turnover below £6.5m.

The Current Account Switch Service applies to current accounts, including basic business accounts.

There are two options for switching current accounts – full or partial switch.

Full switch

  • All payments (in and out) are automatically transferred to the new account.
  • Any remaining credit balance will be transferred and your old account will automatically close.
  • If any payments are made accidentally to your old account after your switch date, they’ll be redirected to your new account.

The switch process will be managed by your new bank or building society and full switches are backed by the Current Account Switch Guarantee. This means that (in the unlikely event that anything goes wrong with the switch) the bank will refund any interest (paid or lost) and charges made on either your old or new current account as a result of the failure.

Partial switch

If you’re not eligible for the Full Current Account Switch Service or prefer to keep your old current account open, this service will enable you to move your account.

With a partial switch you can choose which payments to switch and can also choose to keep your existing account open.

The bank will make all the arrangements to move your regular payments, or only those you wish to transfer, to your new account.

However,it’s good to note that partial switches aren’t covered by the Current Account Switch Guarantee.