The UK’s financial watchdog has unveiled new rules designed to make it easier for current account holders to switch providers.

The Financial Conduct Authority on Tuesday said that it had published new rules which will require providers of personal and business current accounts to publish more information to help customers compare the service offered by different providers.

Firms will be required to publish information on the time it takes to open an account and to replace lost or stolen cards, as well as the details of the number of complaints they have received.

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A lender will also have to provide details about how often the it has had to report major operational and security incidents in the past and whether 24-hour customer helplines are available.

“We want to see current account providers competing hard for their customers’ business by offering better service, alongside competition on interest and charges,” said Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA.

“These rules will help people see how their bank compares to others so they can choose an account that suits their needs,” he added.

Current account providers will have to publish information on when and how services and helplines are available and numbers of operational and security incidents from 15 August 2018.

The rest of the information, including details on how long it takes to open an account and replace a debit card, has to be published from February 2019. 

“Like the FCA, we want to see effective competition so these steps are a welcome development,” said Eric Leenders, managing director of personal finance at trade association UK Finance.

“Making it easier for consumers and businesses to compare the quality of service offered by different current account providers is a great way to encourage customers to shop around,” he added.

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