One in eight consumers who are in the position of having to switch banking providers, because of the impending departure of Ulster Bank and KBC, have yet to decide on a new provider.

That compares to one in four in July.

The latest round of research from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission found that just over half of consumers who have their main account with one of the departing banks have opened a new account elsewhere.

Almost two-thirds of Ulster Bank customers who have to switch expect to have done so within the next month.

Ulster Bank recently postponed its first closure deadline to this Friday, November 4.

It decided to move the original date in early October to facilitate the receipt of enhanced benefits announced in the budget which started to be paid out yesterday.

The latest research found that 60% of consumers reported challenges in switching, with the transfer of direct debits and payments the most commonly cited challenge.

One in ten reported difficulties in accessing in-person support.

Of the consumers who had already switched banking providers, just over a quarter said the availability of a local bank branch was the main reason for choosing their new provider.

For those aged over 65, nearly half said this was a key determinant.

Having a previous or existing relationship with a bank was also an important factor cited by around one in four.

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Around a quarter of consumers said they were prepared to consider an online only provider without branch services.

"We're very glad to see that most consumers have taken some action towards moving their current account, however we would strongly encourage consumers to try and complete the process as soon as possible so they don't experience any banking issues over the Christmas period," Kevin O’Brien, CCPC Commission Member said.

"Ulster Bank have indicated they will start freezing certain accounts in the coming weeks so consumers could lose access to their money if they haven’t completed their switch," he added.

Consumers can access information on how to transfer payments and compare current account options on the CCPC website.