Only 19% of mystery shoppers were able to successfully open a bank account with a new bank and switch a standing order based on the process described in the new self-regulatory guidelines. Shoppers claimed that 71% of banks did not assist in the transfer, which meant that they did not follow self-regulatory guidelines, 7% took more than 14 working days to open an account or switch an order. The study also showed that bank staff was not always aware of switching accounts' procedures and that the level of information that consumers could receive about this varied significantly (14% consumers received no information at all).
EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier said "The results of the study published today explain why consumers change their banks so rarely. If consumers are not able to easily switch bank accounts, they cannot take advantage of better and cheaper banking services on offer elsewhere. The single market is thus deprived of the competitive drive that leads to innovation, cost savings and better quality banking services. This, in the long-run, can prove to be an obstacle to growth". (Consumers: Switching bank accounts - 8 out of 10 mystery shoppers faced difficulties)