NatWest and Nationwide ‘make strongest gains among current account switchers’

NatWest made the strongest gains among customers ditching and switching their current account between January and March this year, according to figures published by a switching service.

It was followed by Nationwide Building Society, Starling Bank, HSBC UK and Monzo.

Customers using the Current Account Switch Service (Cass) to move banks have payments automatically moved over to the new account and they benefit from a guarantee that they will not be left out of pocket if anything goes wrong with the switch.

The switching figures are provided voluntarily by banks and building societies and they do not include switches made outside Cass.

They specifically include people, small businesses and small charities that have switched using Cass and received the benefits of the guarantee and payment redirection services.

The figures also show that TSB made a net loss of 13,120 switches, while Barclays lost 12,851 and Halifax lost 11,939.

Cass said that nearly two-thirds (63%) of current account switchers in the past year used the switching service, up from 55% in the two years before.

Its data for the second quarter of 2022 also suggest that, in general, service-related, non-financial benefits continue to be the main reasons for customers preferring their new current account to their old one.

Online banking (47%), mobile banking/banking app ease (41%), customer service (38%) and location of branches (25%) were listed as the top reasons for people preferring their new current account.

One in six (16%) current account holders are actively thinking about switching, a similar proportion to the six months before. Another 13% were considering switching but had not yet started looking, according to Cass.

A total of 191,777 switches were completed between April and June 2022, Cass said.

Looking back over 12 months, it said 850,243 switches had taken place, compared with just 646,569 a year before.

David Piper, head of service lines at Pay.UK, owner and operator of Cass, said: “As life in the UK begins to return to its pre-pandemic form, we have seen an uplift in the numbers choosing to switch to a new current account.

“This trend could continue in 2022 with many looking to take advantage of rising interest rates and the cashback incentives that some providers are currently offering.

“Of course, rising living costs provide another reason for people to assess whether their existing current account is providing the right service for their needs, or whether moving to another current account might be a prudent move.

“Those considering whether it’s time for a new current account should remember that the Current Account Switch Service is free to use and provides a valuable layer of protection to those wishing to switch in a fast and stress-free manner.”

Here are the net gains or losses made by current account providers between January 1 and March 31, according to Cass:

AIB Group UK (includes the First Trust Bank and Allied Irish Bank GB brand switches), minus 1,580

Bank of Ireland, minus 388

Bank of Scotland, 732

Barclays, minus 12,851

Co-operative Bank (includes the Smile brand switches), minus 3,895

Danske, minus 91

Halifax, minus 11,939

HSBC UK (includes First Direct brand switches), 5,176

Lloyds Bank, minus 3,099

Monzo, 3,221

Nationwide Building Society, 12,503

NatWest, 19,464

RBS (includes Adam & Company, Coutts and Isle of Man brand switches), 634

Santander UK, minus 3,052

Starling Bank, 11,888

Triodos Bank, 403

TSB, minus 13,120

Ulster Bank, minus 79

Virgin Money, minus 2,310