More current account customers ditching and switching as banks offer cash perks


More current account customers have been ditching and switching their bank as cash incentives have sweetened the deals available.

Some 136,575 switches took place between July and September – 38,383 more than in the second quarter of this year, figures from the Current Account Switch Service (Cass) show.

It said switching levels were consistent over the third quarter “as some participants offered cash incentives for switching again”.

There have recently been signs of competition ramping up to attract current account customers with cash offers.

These may be particularly attractive as many people have lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic, although people will need to weigh up all the elements of an account to see if it is worth switching rather than just focusing on the cash.

Examples of recent deals being launched include HSBC UK unveiling a £125 cash offer to new customers in September, available to switchers to its advance and premier current accounts.

In October, NatWest also announced it is offering £125 to new and existing customers switching their main bank account.

Lloyds Bank is also offering £100 to switchers.

The Cass report also includes switching figures provided voluntarily by banks, covering the period April 1 to June 30. The figures only include switches made as part of the Cass scheme – not all switches.

Under the service, switches are completed in seven working days and payments are automatically moved over from the old account to the new account. There is also a guarantee that customers will not be left out of pocket if something goes wrong with the switch.

The switching figures provided by banks show that Santander made a net loss of 12,532 switchers in the second quarter of 2020. The bank has chipped away at the returns offered on its flagship 123 account.

Meanwhile, Halifax made a net loss of 10,019 switchers, Barclays lost 3,325 and TSB lost 3,046.

Online challenger brands Starling Bank and Monzo made the biggest net gains among those which provided data, followed by Nationwide Building Society, NatWest and ethical brand Triodos Bank.

Zoe Sear, head of marketing and communications at Triodos Bank UK, said: “By changing your bank you really can make a difference and put people and the planet first.”

Maha El Dimachki, chief payments officer of Pay.UK, owner and operator of Cass, said: “After a dip in switching figures earlier in the year, it’s encouraging to see month-on-month rises in switching numbers through the most recent quarter.

“Our focus is to ensure the Current Account Switch Service is available to those who wish to manage their finances more flexibly by switching their current account in a stress-free manner.

“We recognise that many consumers and businesses could be at more risk of financial vulnerability due to the spread of Covid-19. We recently launched a new advertising campaign designed to raise awareness of the service among those who may benefit from it most.”

Here are the net switching gains or losses made by banks in the second quarter of 2020 from customers using Cass:

– AIB Group UK (includes the First Trust Bank and Allied Irish Bank GB brands) minus 196

– Bank of Ireland, minus 178

– Bank of Scotland, 228

– Barclays, minus 3,325

– Clydesdale Bank (includes Yorkshire Bank brand), minus 226

– Co-operative Bank (includes the Smile brand) minus 297

– Danske, minus 80

– Halifax, minus 10,019

– HSBC (includes First Direct and Marks & Spencer Bank brands), minus 2,192

– Lloyds Bank, minus 1,698

– Monzo, 11,393

– Nationwide Building Society, 10,083

– NatWest, 4,134

– RBS (includes includes Adam & Company, Coutts and Isle of Man brands), minus 1,799

– Santander, minus 12,532

– Starling Bank, 11,998

– Tesco Bank, minus 724

– Triodos Bank, 410

– TSB, minus 3,046

– Ulster Bank, minus 31