1.2 million switch bank account in past 12 months

Pound notes

More than one million bank customers switched current accounts in the first 12 months of the new switching service, figures have revealed.

The Payments Council found that 1.2 million customers swapped their current account provider in the year following the introduction of the Switch Guarantee scheme in September 2013 – a 22% increase on the previous 12 months.

The scheme was designed to simplify the process of switching accounts for customers who were unhappy with the service they received from their provider. Under the scheme, customers are now able to switch within seven working days, compared to the 30 it took to switch previously.

The Payments Council also found that 69% of Brits were aware of the scheme - up from 60% last October, while consumer confidence in the process has now reached 62%.

Over the year, Halifax and Santander experienced the biggest increase in net new account holders, while Natwest had seen the largest fall.

Step in the right direction

Gerard Lemos, executive chairman of the Payments Council, said: "These latest figures clearly suggest that the good news is getting through to all those customers who want to change provider – that there has never been a better time to do it."

Kevin Mountford, head of banking at Moneysupermarket, added: "While the numbers aren't huge, 1.2 million switches in the last year is definitely a step in the right direction, and hopefully this will continue.

"Halifax, Santander and Nationwide are the clear winners over the past 12 months, showing that listening to customers and taking more of an innovative approach pays off, such as with Santander's 123 account.

"It's also great to see that a building society is able to compete with the big banks. In terms of losers, NatWest and Barclays are at the bottom of the pile, highlighting the fact that recent IT glitches and mis-selling scandals have caused customers to act and vote with their feet."