Ms Leadsom also advised in her speech (see above) that the FCA, or the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), will be looking at the issue of account number portability in the next few months. This is in spite of CASS, launched on 16 September 2013, which has simplified the switching process. According to the Payments Council, CASS has lead to an increase in switching by around 14% in the first six months of its operation. More than 800,000 people have switched as of the end of May 2014 - and this is starting to make the banking sector more competitive.

What this means for you

This announcement indicates that the Government believes there is more to be done. Full portability may still be on the cards given this has now been flagged as an immediate priority. Andrea Leadsom has been an advocate of the advantages of account portability for some time, believing that this would deliver an increase in customer service and competition in the banking sector. Exactly what action the FCA or the PSR will take remains to be seen, but the industry should be prepared for some form of review.