Commentary Reform doesn't go far enough
(Guardian (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Seven-day switching is well worth doing, but if we really want to take away all the hassle of moving provider, if we really want the kind of competition that keeps bank managers up at night wondering if they will have any customers in the morning, we need full number portability just like in the mobile phone market.
We need to create a separate system that holds everybody's bank details. It means, for instance, that my bank account number and sort code become a unique number, which is then accessed by individual banks.
At the moment banks hold the data and share it though the VocaLink system. But if our details sat on Vocalink, independent of the banks, all customers' banks would have equal access. At the moment second-tier banks such as Virgin are charged by the clearing banks for access.
There are so many benefits from this change. Existing systems are a tangle of legacy IT dating back to countless mergers. They make payment systems slow and switching difficult and are open to fraud. It would also mean that when a bank goes bust, the accounts are switched to another provider without the bust bank doing anything.
Andrea Leadsom MP, pictured above, was speaking to Phillip Inman
(c) 2013 Guardian Newspapers Limited.
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