Current account switching levels increased towards end of 2020


Current account switching levels are on the increase, with around 52,000 more deals switched in the last three months of 2020 than in the previous quarter.

Some 189,273 switches took place between October and December – 52,698 more than in the previous three months, figures from the Current Account Switch Service (Cass) show.

In November 2020 80,980 switches took place, which was the highest figure since March 2020, when the number was 113,037.

  • Online banking facilities

  • Mobile banking systems

  • Customer service

Cass’s findings also indicate that good customer service is key for banks looking to attract new business.

The most commonly cited reasons why customers were ditching and switching were service-related.

They included wanting better online banking facilities, preferable mobile banking systems and strong customer service.

Customers using the service can expect their account switch to be completed in seven working days, with regular payments such as direct debits and wages automatically moved over to the new provider.

Payments accidentally made to or requested from the old account will be automatically redirected to the new account for as long as is needed and customers are guaranteed not to be left out of pocket if anything goes wrong with the switch.

Banks and building societies also voluntarily released switching figures for the third quarter of 2020. They show switches made using Cass and not those where customers chose not to use the service.

Among those releasing this data, Halifax had the largest net switching gain, followed by Starling Bank, Monzo, Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland.

High street names that made net switching losses included Santander, which has recently announced a string of rate cuts to its popular 123 account, as well as HSBC, TSB, Barclays, NatWest, RBS, the Co-operative Bank and Nationwide Building Society.

Martin Turner, head of current accounts, Halifax, said: “We relaunched the Halifax reward current account in 2020 and we’re thrilled that it’s made such an impression with customers.

“We offered a generous sign up offer over the summer, which was clearly an extra bonus for those looking to change banks.”

Halifax launched a £100 switching offer in August 2020, which ran for just over a month.

Gareth Griffiths, head of retail banking at ethical bank Triodos, which also made net switching gains, said: “The second half of 2020 saw heightened awareness of the link between environmental issues and social justice.

“People now have a greater understanding of the role that money and banks can play in addressing both.”

From October to November 2020, Cass ran an advertising campaign across various channels specifically aimed at financially vulnerable people, to reassure them they can switch account should they need to.

David Piper, head of service lines at Pay.UK, owner and operator of Cass said: “While we saw a drop in switching figures in the second quarter of the year, the market picked up following that and switching figures steadily increased up to November as incentives returned to the forefront.

“It remains to be seen if this trend will continue in 2021, but our focus remains to ensure that the current account switch service is available to those who wish to move their current account in a quick, easy and guaranteed manner.”

Since the service launched in 2013, it has helped over seven million accounts switch and successfully redirected more than 104 million payments.

Here are the net switching gains and losses made by banks and building societies between July 1 and September 30 2020. The figures do not include switches made outside Cass, and therefore do not represent all current account switches:

– AIB Group UK (includes First Trust Bank and Allied Irish Bank GB
brand switches), minus 260

– Bank of Ireland, minus 274

– Bank of Scotland, 667

– Barclays, minus 3,495

– Clydesdale Bank (includes Yorkshire Bank brand switches), minus 326

– Co-operative Bank (includes the Smile brand switches), minus 1,630

– Danske, minus 151

– Halifax, 22,742

– HSBC (includes First Direct and Marks & Spencer Bank brand switches), minus 14,863

– Lloyds Bank, 8,335

– Monzo, 9,157

– Nationwide, minus 928

– NatWest, minus 9,717

– RBS (includes Adam & Company, Coutts and Isle of Man brand switches), minus 3,695

– Santander, minus 10,029

– Starling Bank, 12,652

– Tesco Bank, minus 1,949

– Triodos Bank, 666

– TSB, minus 5,005

– Ulster Bank, minus 61