There are many people who never change bank accounts and quite understandably so. It’s largely down to the fact that they believe it is a long, convoluted process, which involves a mountain of paperwork and can only result in disaster. It’s also often a case of better the devil you know and despite record levels of complaints about banks and bank accounts; there is still a reluctance to switch.
However the reality of switching banks is very different. I changed from HSBC to First Direct ten years ago and it was one of the easiest things I have ever done. That was even before ‘seven day switching’ came into force. This new rule means that banks guarantee to switch over all your direct debits and standing orders in this time, effectively making it a simple and effortless, pain-free process.
Why should you switch accounts?
There are so many incentives to switch accounts. In fact nowadays, banks are vying for our custom with a whole range of exciting cash back offers, voucher incentives, lower overdraft charges or even extra benefits such as car breakdown cover. Who doesn’t love a freebie or a bit of extra cash?
There’s often a minimum monthly pay in, which can be a bit of a put off but where there’s a will, there’s a way so a bit of moving money around from account to account to meet this requirement might well be worth the effort.
With the whole switching process being easier than ever, it’s definitely worth looking into.
So why am I not changing?
Don’t get me wrong; I would love to have a few extra pounds in my purse for doing nothing other than a few minutes work. However, as I’ve found out, ironically to my cost, over the years, money does not always bring happiness.
It is a real shame to see the gradual disappearance of banks from the high street. With First Direct, I don’t have the luxury of a convenient local branch anyway so if I need counter services; I just have to trudge into town to use HSBC which is thankfully still open. Luckily there are also still lots of cashpoints around too.
However in all honesty, this is of no real consequence for me as it’s something I very rarely need to do. There’s also the facility to send cheques by post to be processed so that’s another service ticked nicely off the list, leaving not much left that I would need to do in a branch. Most things are dealt with perfectly over the telephone where I thankfully never suffer death by automated system.
As far as I’m concerned, the level of customer service I receive from First Direct by far outweighs any financial benefit of switching. Their service is excellent and I have never once needed to complain. My biggest bug bears when ringing companies are the long waits, being put on hold, not being able to speak to the right person and then when you do get through, they can’t help you anyway.
There’s none of the above with First Direct. I never have to queue. It takes seconds to be connected, I am rarely passed to another department, customer service agents are always able to deal with queries efficiently and effectively and I have complete confidence in their ability to do so. There are some things money just cannot buy and excellent customer service is one of them.
So this is why I won’t be changing banks anytime soon but do you now think you should?