Finding the best bank account is about to get a whole lot easier
Shopping around for the best bank account is set to get much easier after an announcement from major providers, who confirmed they'll soon be able to provide customer data in a more unified format. Access to this data will make it easier for you to switch to the account that makes the most sense for your spending habits, without hours of the usual online research and headaches that comes with looking over rival products.
The agreement, part of the government's MiData project, will mean a standardised data format by April next year (2015), and involves six major banks: HSBC, Barclays, Santander, Nationwide, Lloyds Banking Group, and RBS/NatWest.
After the changes come into play, online current account users should be able to download a year's worth of transactions into one single file, before feeding it into comparison websites. It's a more intelligent way of finding the best deals and money saving offers for customers, with comparison sites being able to see information such as which supermarkets you shop with and whether that supermarket could offer an account with more rewards or loyalty points.
One website, MoneySavingExpert.com, is also currently investigating whether a comparison tool can be developed to make things even easier.
The MiData project follows on from the Current Account Switch service launched last September, and aims to provide people with better access to their own personal data, allowing them to choose the products and services which are best suited to them.
To give a better idea of what this means for you, Wendy Alcock from MoneySavingExpert said: "Whether someone wants an overdraft, to earn cashback, shop overseas or collect rewards from their account, MiData will help us help them figure this out. Switching is going to be easy, quick and more specific at last."
So, by better understanding how we're spending our money, we'll be able to make quicker, smarter decisions and lifestyle choices. Sound good? Well, you won't have to wait long, as this should be fully up and running by the end of the financial year.
Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk