The latest figures from the Payments Council reveal that, in the 12 months up to the end of March this year, there were 1.14 million current account switches using the Current Account Switch Service. That's up from 1.06 million over the same time period the year before.
The switching service launched in September 2013 and is designed to make switching from one bank or building society to another quick, simple and hassle free.
It's a free service that promises to move all outgoing and incoming payments from an old account to your new account within seven working days.
Who are we switching to?
The Payments Council has provided switching information for the third quarter of 2014 between 1st July and 30th September.
The table below shows the number of personal customers, small businesses and small charities that have switched to banks and building societies using the switching service during this period.
Low volume participants (includes C. Hoare & Co., Virgin Money, Cumberland BS & Reliance Bank)
Bank of Scotland
Bank of Ireland (includes Post Office)
AIB Group (includes First Trust Bank and Allied Irish Bank)
Clydesdale Bank (includes Yorkshire Bank)
Co-operative Bank (includes smile)
Royal Bank of Scotland (includes Adam & Company, Coutts and Isle of Man brand)
HSBC (includes First Direct and M&S Bank)
Surprisingly, just four banks managed a net gain over the quarter.
What's behind the figures?
Out in front is Halifax, which has just increased the switching bonus for joining the bank to £125. This bonus is available on three different accounts, though the best is probably the Reward Account which pays you £5 cashback every month that you pay in £750, stay in credit and pay out two different direct debits. You can also earn cashback on certain offers when you spend with your debit card.
The next big winner is Santander, with its 123 Current Account. The 123 Current Account has a £2 monthly fee, but pays 3% interest on balances from £3,000 up to £20,000 and offers up to 3% cashback on certain direct debits paid out from the account.
Nationwide has a number of cracking current accounts, which helps explain its position in third. These include the FlexDirect account, which pays a market leading 5% on balances up to £2,500 for 12 months, as long as you pay in £1,000 a month. It also offers new customers a fee-free overdraft for the first 12 months.
At the other end of the table, Barclays had a disastrous quarter. It was bottom in the preceding quarter too, and this haemorrhaging of customers may go some way to explaining why it has now launched the Blue Rewards cashback scheme on its current accounts.
It is a little surprising to see HSBC perform so poorly, if only because its figures include the wildly popular First Direct 1st Account. This account wins every customer service award going and pays you £100 just for opening the account. You can get another £100 if you choose to leave after six months but before 12 months is out. You need to pay in £1,000 a month or hold another First Direct product in order to avoid the £10 monthly fee (though it's fee free for the first six months anyway).
It's also interesting that TSB lost customers, as its Classic Plus account pays a whopping 5% interest on balances up to £2,000. What's more that rate doesn't drop away after a year. All you have to do is pay in £500 a month, and register for internet banking and paperless statements.
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