Account switching made easier

Switching bank accounts to get a better deal is now easier following the introduction on Friday of a new account switching service. Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Chairman, Mr Tony D’Aloisio, said Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions (ADIs), which include banks, credit unions and building societies, would now provide account-switching services to consumers that are switching their personal transaction accounts.
‘The services will make it easier for consumers to switch accounts by reducing the hassle involved in updating direct debit, direct credit and other automatic payments’, Mr D’Aloisio said.
The new services, available from 1 November 2008, have been developed by banks, building societies, credit unions and other groups in a project coordinated by the Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA). Under the account-switching package, a customer’s existing ADI will provide the customer with a list of their direct debit, direct credit and other automatic payments going back 13 months. The customer’s new ADI, in return, will assist the customer with re-establishing these direct debits and credits.
‘The switching services are expected to promote competition by encouraging consumers to shop around for the transaction account that offers the best value for money’, Mr D’Aloisio said.
‘Depending on your needs and circumstances, you could switch to a transaction account that offers lower fees or even no fees. Even small monthly savings add up over time.’
The general obligations for ADIs under the account-switching package are contained in the new Part D of the Electronic Funds Transfer Code of Conduct (EFT Code). The EFT Code is a voluntary industry code of practice, adopted by virtually all ADIs, covering all forms of consumer electronic payment transactions such as ATM and EFTPOS transactions, and telephone and Internet banking transactions. It provides consumer protection in areas such as product disclosure, dispute resolution and liability allocation for unauthorised transactions. ASIC administers the EFT Code.

Source: Australian Securities and Investment Commission