The Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) introduced its Code of Conduct on the Switching of Current Accounts with Credit Institutions in October 2010. The CBI Code built on the voluntary Code that was drafted and operated by Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), following a recommendation in a Competition Authority report in 2005. Members of BPFI were not required to adopt the voluntary Code; however, the Code is now statutory under the Central Bank Act, 1989 and must be complied with by credit institutions (banks and building societies) providing current accounts in Ireland.
The Code applies when a consumer wants to switch his/her current account, including any direct debits and standing orders, to another current account in a different credit institution. The two credit institutions involved must be in Ireland.
The Code sets out the steps that each credit institution must take, within a defined timeframe, to ensure that the consumer’s new account is set up correctly.
For more information on switching your current account, visit the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission website .
EBIC Common Principles for Bank Account Switching
At European level, the European Banking Industry Committee (EBIC) developed a set of Common Principles, which establish a common standard for bank’s conduct regarding personal current account switching within Member States.
The Common Principles ensure that account switching is not onerous to consumers and that their mobility shall not be constrained by any unnecessary delay or cost, or by a lack of support from their banks. The Common Principles also increase consumers’ awareness of the switching-related services they can expect, and aim at reducing consumers’ apprehensions with respect to bank account switching.
The Common Principles lay out that:
- Banks will provide consumers who want to switch current account with clear and complete information;
- ‘New’ and ‘former’ banks commit to facilitating smooth and timely switching, notably as regards recurrent incoming and outgoing payments related to a current account. Conditional on the involvement of third parties, ‘new’ and ‘former’ banks commit to completing their assigned tasks within seven working days each;
- The consumer can use the ‘new’ bank as the Primary Contact Point during the switching and in order to arrange the transfer of relevant information from the ‘former’ bank;
- The ‘new’ bank offers to inform creditors on behalf of the consumer of the changed account details;
- Consumers will have free-of-charge access to relevant general and personal information readily available at banks. Fees linked to other switching-related services (if any) will be transparent and in line with costs.