HSBC hails account switching success

Bank speeds up process for businesses and offers £10 for every future mistake

HSBC bank has claimed success in its attempts to speed up the procedure of switching business accounts, and is now offering firms £10 for every mistake made during the process.

The bank has proudly stated that it has implemented Office of Fair Trading (OFT) regulations on speeding up account switching at a 95 per cent success rate, three months before the July deadline for compliance.

HSBC said that it now confident enough to offer business account holders £10 for every mistake they make when switching accounts.

The government, acting on OFT recommendations, said that banks must cut down the time it takes for business customers to move an account to another provider, so that entrepreneurs don’t miss out on interest payments.

Banks were set targets for each stage of the process, such as three days for setting up direct debits and two days for transferring funds.

The move followed repeated complaints by small businesses that they were being treated unfairly by banks, with high service charges and poor customer service still rife.

Although banks were told last year they must pay interest on business accounts, many entrepreneurs still feel short-changed by their providers and still find it difficult to move their custom elsewhere.

A new report by The Usability Company also makes bad reading for banks, with the study of banking websites finding that of 32 sites, only two were error-free, with page loading times unacceptably long.

Alan Kier, general manager of commercial UK banking at HSBC, praised the bank’s success in meeting the OFT targets.

“We’ve been recognised as the best high street bank for small businesses by the Forum of Private Business and as having the most business customers in a survey by the Competition Commission itself.

“My message to small businesses is, it’s never been easier to move banks, so take advantage of the new switching process. We’ll do all the leg-work and, if we get it wrong, pay up £10 with no fuss,” he said.

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