By Daniel Hunter

A review published today (Wednesday) has found that providers of cash ISAs have shortened transfer times significantly since the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) intervened in 2010.

The review, which has been released at the start of the cash ISA switching season, found that more than 90 per cent of all cash ISA transfers carried out last year were completed within 15 working days.

Additionally, providers of cash ISAs are now back-dating interest if the transfer is delayed beyond this, and are publishing interest rates on cash ISA statements.

The review, which has been released at the start of the cash ISA switching season, found that more than 90 per cent of all cash ISA transfers carried out last year were completed within 15 working days.

Additionally, providers of cash ISAs are now back-dating interest if the transfer is delayed beyond this, and are publishing interest rates on cash ISA statements.

These initiatives to improve the market for cash ISA consumers were agreed with or recommended by the OFT in June 2010 following a super-complaint from Consumer Focus.

The OFT's review of progress on these and other voluntary initiatives by providers of cash ISAs, part of its ongoing work in the banking sector, found that:

- 93 per cent of cash ISA transfers in 2011 were completed within the new 15 working day guideline
- if delays do occur, providers of cash ISAs are following new industry guidelines that require the acquiring provider to back date interest either to Day 16 of the transfer process, or to the date on the cheque - whichever is earlier, and
- all providers of cash ISAs surveyed by the OFT are now publishing the interest rates that apply on cash ISA statements.

"People considering switching their cash ISA in the new tax year should have confidence that the process will be quick and effective, and that if things do take longer, they won't lose out financially," Claire Hart, Director in the OFT's Services, Infrastructure and Public Markets Group, said.

"We welcome the progress made by providers of cash ISAs since the OFT took action in 2010 but we would encourage the industry to consider ways to reduce cash ISA transfer times further."

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