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New data to help current account comparisons

The government has announced the major current account providers will offer customers their account data in a simpler format in an effort to help informed decisions about switching.

The Treasury and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills have secured an agreement from Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, Nationwide, RBS and Santander to provide customers with new data to enable “quick and easy” comparisons of their accounts.

It is expected that all current account providers will make this data available in due course.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said: “I am determined to build a banking system that works for customers. Key to that is making sure that they can make informed decisions.

“That is why the government has ensured the banks will provide customers with the information they need to decide whether their current account is the best one for them.”

It has also been confirmed the new standardized format for account data will be used in comparison sites for the first time.

The government’s announcement is part of its wider MiData programme and follows on from its current account switching service which launched last September and guarantees current account switches in seven days.

Osborne added: “MiData, combined with seven day account switching, means that the government is increasing competition in high street banking and arming customers with the weapons they need to hold banks to account to make sure that they are getting the best deal.”

Richard Lloyd, executive director of consumer champion Which?, said: “This information should make a big difference as people could be thousands of pounds worse off by having the wrong account.”

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