Current account switching levels surged by more than 70% in the first three months of this year, compared with a year earlier, according to a service that makes it easier for banks’ customers to ditch and switch.
The Current Account Switch Service (Cass), which has been running for nearly a decade, said it has facilitated 9.1 million switches in total, since launch.
Its latest figures show 341,075 switches took place between January and March 2023, marking a 73% jump on the same period a year earlier.
Figures released voluntarily by banks and published by Cass indicate that Nationwide Building Society had the highest net switching gains between October and December 2022, followed by NatWest, Starling Bank, and Triodos Bank.
The figures do not include people switching banks outside the Cass scheme.
Andrew Hagger, from Moneycomms.co.uk, said: “The Nationwide performance was no doubt mainly driven by its £200 switching incentive which was launched on October 3 2022 – this was also a period where the cost-of-living crisis was starting to hurt consumers’ finances, so a £200 freebie probably seemed more appealing than ever.
“Two hundred pound incentives now seem to be the norm and anything less than this benchmark in the future is likely to receive a lukewarm reception.
“It will be interesting to see if any of Nationwide’s peers will up the ante with an even bigger switching incentive on the back of these latest impressive numbers.”
Currently, HSBC UK and NatWest/RBS are running £200 current account switching incentives. First Direct, which often tops customer satisfaction polls, is offering £175 to switch.
The switching service automatically moves payments over to the new account and a guarantee means people will not be left out of pocket if something goes wrong with the switch. It can be used by people, small businesses and small charities.
Cass suggested the high switching figures seen over the past year may also be a sign that people may be re-considering whether their current account still meets their needs, or whether a new current account provider might suit them better.
The high number of switches in the first three months of this year is characteristic of a competitive switching environment for consumers and businesses, Cass said.
People may also want to weigh up how they will use their account overall when deciding whether to switch.
He added: “Those considering a new current account, for whatever reason, can be assured that the Current Account Switch Service, with its nine million switches and 134.4 million successfully-redirected payments, is a quick, free and easy process.”
Here are the net gains or losses in terms of current account switches made between October 1 and December 31 2022. The figures only include customers who have switched using Cass and received the benefits of the guarantee and payment redirection services.
– AIB Group (UK), minus 1,065
– Bank Of Ireland, minus 441
– Bank of Scotland, minus 4,270
– Barclays, minus 22,945
– Co-operative, minus 5,104
– Danske, minus 515
– Halifax, minus 20,287
– HSBC, minus 1,518
– Lloyds Bank, minus 403
– Monzo, minus 2,079
– Nationwide Building Society, 111,941
– NatWest, 5,646
– RBS, minus 4,518
– Santander, minus 35,046
– Starling Bank, 1,810
– Triodos Bank, 151
– TSB, minus 9,642
– Ulster Bank, minus 697
– Virgin Money, minus 7,474