More than a million ditched and switched current accounts over past year

More than a million current account customers ditched and switched provider in 2019, new figures show.

Some 1,002,029 switches took place last year using the Current Account Switch Service (Cass) – the highest total since 1,010,423 in 2016.

Since the seven-day switching service launched in 2016, 6.3 million moves have been completed, 260,000 of which took place between October and December 2019.

The service aims to take some of the hassle out of moving to a different bank or building society, swapping payments over automatically to the new account.

It can be used by individuals, small businesses and small charities.

Figures provided voluntarily by banks and building societies also show that, in the third quarter of 2019, Nationwide Building Society made the biggest gain among customers using Cass.

The figures do not include switches made by customers who did not use the service.

HSBC also made big gains from customers moving to it, as did digital challengers Monzo and Starling Bank.

Ethical bank Triodos was also among the current account switching “winners”.

Bevis Watts, chief executive of Triodos Bank UK, said: “The demand for our current account and Triodos’ overall relevance has continued to grow steadily in the past year.

“As the climate crisis worsens, the need for a different kind of banking becomes even greater.”

Banking giants including Halifax, Lloyds Bank, NatWest and RBS saw more customers using Cass to switch away than joining up between July and September last year.

Over the past three years, of those over the age of 45 who switched, 75% used Cass, as did 41% of under-25s.

Many banks have recently announced changes to their overdraft charging structures as they prepare to comply with new rules from the regulator which come into force from April.

The changes, which will make overdraft pricing clearer and easier to compare with what other banks are offering, may prompt a further wave of people looking to move to a current account that is more suitable for their needs.

Matthew Hunt, chief operating officer of Pay.UK, which owns and operates Cass, said: “Although switching figures are increasing, there are still many people who could be taking advantage of the opportunities presented by moving their current account.

“This is particularly true of those in younger age groups and those considered financially vulnerable.

“We work to bring the benefits of switching to all by making it easy and hassle-free, allowing people to move to an account which works better for them, whatever their financial situation.”

Here are the net gains and losses made by banks from customers using Cass between July 1 and September 30 2019:

AIB Group UK (includes First Trust Bank and Allied Irish Bank GB brand switches), minus 732
Bank of Ireland (includes Post Office brand switches), minus 2,433
Bank of Scotland, minus 582
Barclays, minus 1,104
Clydesdale Bank (includes Yorkshire Bank brand switches), minus 3,455
Co-operative (includes Smile brand switches), minus 4,183
Danske, minus 398
Halifax, minus 15,714
HSBC (includes First Direct and M&S Bank brand switches), 17,204
Lloyds Bank, minus 8,076
Monzo Bank, 21,576
Nationwide, 25,355
NatWest, minus 9,885
RBS (includes Adam & Company, Coutts and Isle of Man brand switches), minus 5,122
Santander, minus 2,486
Starling Bank, 7,075
Tesco Bank, minus 4,510
Triodos Bank, 409
TSB, minus 4,834
Ulster Bank, minus 332