On 1 March 2010, the main Portuguese banks adopted the "Common Principles for Bank Accounts Switching". These principles are intended to facilitate the process of changing from one bank to another and have also been adopted by the European banking industry at the EBIC [1] (European Banking Industry Committee) which Associação Portuguesa de Bancos (Portuguese Banking Association - APB ) joined, along with most of its members.

By subscribing to these principles, the Portuguese banks wish to facilitate private customers' mobility, foster healthy competition between banks and guarantee appropriate assistance in the transfer of payment services associated with current accounts.

As this intention on the part of the banks still applies today, the APB decided that it was a good time to circulate the principles in clear, accessible language in the form of a guide for mobility of banking services. It has also made changes resulting from the migration of direct credit and debit transfers in Portugal to the SEPA [2] models, completed in August 2014.

The principles apply only to current accounts held by private customers and recurring direct debits and standing orders associated with these accounts.

Mobility of banking services, nationwide applied, may involve:

(a) opening an account at a new bank ("New Bank"), if the customer does not yet have an account there;
(b) transferring recurring direct debits and standing orders from the former bank ("Former Bank") to the New Bank.

Whenever a customer wishes to move his or her current account to another bank, the two banks will facilitate all the formalities. After the customer has given permission, standing orders, regular direct debits and collections by debit to account will be transferred from the customer's account at the Former Bank to the New Bank.

Additional information on mobility of banking services can be obtained from all subscribing banks and their websites.


[1] The EBIC is an organisation made up of the following associations: the European Banking Federation (EBF), European Savings Bank Group (ESBG), European Association of Cooperative Banks (EACB), European Mortgage Federation (EMF), European Federation of Building Societies (EFBS), European Federation of Finance House Associations (Eurofinas)/European Federation of Leasing Company Associations (Leaseurope) and European Association of Public Banks (EAPB).

[2] SEPA: Single Euro Payments Area

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