A scheme proposed by the Government to allow consumers to reclaim their personal information from companies including banks, telecom and utilities providers could help them switch for better deals, The Financial Times reports.
As part of the Midata scheme, dozens of businesses are expected to make the personal information they hold about their customers digitally available by the middle of 2012, in a reusable and standardised format.
The companies include banks such as Lloyds and RBS; utility providers British Gas, EDF and Scottish Power; credit firms such as MasterCard and Visa; and internet companies including Google.
It's hoped that the scheme will help consumers to learn more about their buying habits, and could make it easier to switch for better deals on things such as energy bills and bank accounts.
Ctrl-Shift, a 'consumer empowerment' consultancy advising the Government, has estimated the companies' total customer base to be about 20 million people, and believes the scheme will be a step in the right direction to help 'consumers manage their lives better, and help them make better decisions'.
A spokesperson for thinkmoney commented: "Measures that could help banking customers switch to more suitable accounts and make informed choices about financial services are to be welcomed.
"Having said that, there are already steps people could take to find the best available bank accounts, such as using switching sites or even getting in touch directly with providers to find out what options they offer - and if they could be right for you."