Switching is easier than you think

Switching your current account, credit card or mortgage is easy once you know what you want and what to do. Take some time to go through our straightforward guides to see what you need to do to find the best financial product for you.

‘’I was skeptical but I found it pretty easy. One family member and a good few of my friends had switched. They said it was a smooth experience and they’d recommend it’’ 

Paul, Dublin. Switched current account.

5 Steps to switching your current account

Step 1: Choosing the bank for you

Compare what’s on offer with this handy tool before picking your new banking partner.  Consider options such as the Credit Union, that may be more suitable for your needs.   If you find a better deal, tell your existing bank as they may agree to match it.  Talk to banks that are on your wavelength .  They’ll have a dedicated switching  team who’ll give you a switching information pack and support you through the process.   This information pack will give any documents you need to sign along with a switching guide.

Compare Current Accounts

This will bring you to a comparison tool on the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission website.

Step 2: What your new bank needs to know
Tell your new bank if you’ve an overdraft and ask if it can be transferred to your new account. If not, talk to your old bank about clearing your overdraft before you switch. Your new bank may also check your credit history to see how good you are at managing your finances. So be prepared to give details and proof of your identity and address.

Step 3: Important current account information
Expect to get a copy of terms and conditions relating to your new current account along with details of fees, charges or interest rates. Don’t worry if you’ve questions, a staff member in branch or online will be happy to help. Remember you need to order bank cards, set up online or phone banking and arrange to have your household bills paid from this account.

Step 4: Set a date for switching
Your new bank needs to know when you want the switching process to start. It’s best to pick a monthly date that won’t affect any direct debits or incoming payments like your salary. Your new account will be up and running within 10 working days of this switching date.

Step 5: Complete an account transfer form
Your new bank needs your permission to ask your old bank to transfer any active direct debits to your new account. When you fill in this form you will have to decide whether you want to keep your old account open or not. If you close it then the balance will transfer to your new account.

Useful tips

Do your homework
Use this handy tool from CCPC to compare what each bank’s current accounts have to offer. Talk to other banks. Check out the Credit Union. Go online or into a local branch to get a switching pack listing their new customer current accounts and switching process. Compare what each bank’s current accounts have to offer. Then make a shortlist and pick the one that works for you.

Ask the right questions
Can you transfer your overdraft to your new current account? Do you need to get your old overdraft cleared before you switch? When do you need to give proof of identity and address? Will your new bank do a credit check?

Know what to expect
Get terms and conditions and details of fees, charges or interest rates from your new bank. It’s up to you to order bank cards and chequebooks, set up online or phone banking and arrange household payments from your new account.

Select your switching date
Pick a date when your account isn’t busy with direct debits or other payments. Tell your bank and your new account will be up and running within 10 working days of this chosen date.

Fill in one last form
Complete an Account Transfer Form to decide on the future of your old account and give your new bank permission to transfer over any direct debits or standing orders. Some companies to whom direct debits are paid may require you to confirm details. You can transfer any balance in your old account to your new account if you close it.

6 Steps to switching your mortgage

Step 1: Compare mortgage providers
Review all mortgages to work out which is best for you. You might want more flexibility or overpayment options to reduce the length of your mortgage. Consider the Credit Union as well as banks.  You could also hire a mortgage broker to compare mortgages and take care of your switchover for €500 or less. You may wish to seek financial advice. It may not be beneficial to switch if you are on a tracker mortgage.

Compare Mortgages

This will bring you to a comparison tool on the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission website.

Step 2: Talk to your own bank
Tell your old bank that you’re thinking of moving your mortgage. Then see what they offer you to tempt you to stay before you make up your mind to switch.

Step 3: Get the necessary approval
Once you know which bank has the best mortgage for you, talk to their switcher team or mortgage advisor to get the necessary approval. Be ready to complete a mortgage application by having the information you need to hand.

Step 4: Know which costs are covered
Some banks may ask you to pay for a valuation of your home. Or request that you get a solicitor on board to take care of any legal documents. Make sure you ask about legal fees as many banks cover these costs to encourage you to switch.

Step 5: Move relevant policies
Will your existing  mortgage protection and home insurance policies cover the mortgage? You should notify the insurance company you have the policies with that you are changing mortgage provider so they can note the new lender on the policy.

Step 6: Come home to a new mortgage
Amend your direct debit arrangements to your new bank and set a date for repayments to start.

Useful tips

Know your figures
Before you switch you will need to redeem your current mortgage. Get in touch with your bank to find how much money is owed on your mortgage and how long you have left to pay it.

Have your documents ready
Proof of identity such as a valid passport or driving licence; proof of address such as a current household bill in your name; proof of income such as your latest P60 and at least 3 recent payslips; and proof that you manage money well such as current account and loan statements for the past 12 months.

Be prepared to share
A new lender will treat your switching application like a new mortgage application because they’ve never had a banking relationship with you.  So a new mortgage lender could ask you about the following:

  • Your income and whether you plan on renting out rooms for rental income;
  • Your age and the number of years remaining until you reach retirement;
  • Any outstanding loans or a credit rating that might affect mortgage payments;
  • Other financial commitments you might have like childcare costs;
  • A guarantor or person willing to repay the mortgage if you are unable;
  • Whether you are borrowing on your own or with a partner;
  • Whether you have mortgage protection and home insurance in place; and
  • Your savings accounts and ability to put money aside for the unexpected.

Act on a mortgage offer
Your new lender will give you mortgage approval in principle for a set amount based on the details you gave in your mortgage application. This is a mortgage offer that you should seriously consider before it expires on a certain date. Once the time is up, you’ll need to apply again.

Cancel your old direct debit
Be sure to cancel your old direct debit with your old mortgage lender in writing once the final month’s payment is made

4 Steps to switching your credit card

Step 1: Check out the competition
Shop around and see what other credit card providers would do to win you away. Compare what’s on offer before you decide which one is right for you.

Compare Credit Cards

This will bring you to a comparison tool on the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission website.

Step 2: Apply for your new credit card
Fill in an application form online or in a branch.  Make sure you have the following information handy: your bank details; current credit card, loans and savings accounts; mortgage if any; current account; and income. You must be over 18 to apply and have an annual income over a certain amount, sometimes set at €16,000 a year.

Step 3: Close your old credit card account
Don’t forget to cancel in writing any direct debits you have on your old credit card account. Clear the balance and write to your old credit card company asking them to close your account and cancel your card. If you’ve already paid stamp duty in the current tax year, then they will send you confirmation that your account is now closed. Send this to your new credit card provider so you are not charged stamp duty twice in the same year.

Step 4: Wait for card approval
Once you get card approval you can activate your new credit card. Be sure to set up any previous direct debits from your old card on your new card to cover things like  gym membership or subscription payments.

Useful tips

Resist temptation
Once you’ve applied for a new credit card, close your old credit card account to stay in control of your finances. That way you won’t be tempted to use both cards and you’ll save yourself stamp duty.

Pay the stamp duty
Once you write to your old credit card company asking them to close your account and cancel your card, make sure to pay the stamp duty. Get a Letter of Closure from your old credit card provider to prove that you’ve paid the stamp duty for this year.

Never make assumptions
A credit card account will remain open even if you stop using your credit card. You need to inform your old company in writing to close the account and pass the Letter of Closure to your new credit card company so you’re not charged stamp duty twice.This also applies to direct debits on your old credit card – if you don’t cancel them they won’t cancel themselves so make sure you contact the company being paid.

Activate your new credit card
Once you get approval you can activate your new credit card and set up any direct debits that you wish.