Barclays biggest loser from current accounts switching
The number of customers who switched current account provider in the last 12 months has jumped by 7%, new figures have revealed, with Barclays experiencing the biggest net loss of customers.
Data from the Payments Council found some 1.14 million customers switched to another provider up to 31 March, compared to 1.06 million the previous year, taking advantage of new, faster switching rules.
The new rules were introduced in September 2013 and allow a customer to switch providers within seven working days. According to the Payments Council, 71% of the public are now aware of the switching service, up from 55% the month it was launched, while customer confidence has rose from 56% to 62% over the same period.
Between July and September, the most popular banks to switch to were Santander and Halifax, with a respective net gain of 43,312 and 53,624 customers. The only other providers to make net gains were Nationwide (6,608 customers) and Tesco Bank (2,467).
But Barclays saw the biggest net loss of 31,331, with HSBC, Lloyds and Natwest all suffering losses too.
Responding to the figures, Andrew Hagger of MoneyComms said customers should attempt to shop around to get the best deal, though the "confusing array" of tariffs, overdrafts charges and interest payments, makes it a "minefield" for those looking for the best offer.
"The figures show that although more people are voting with their feet and looking for a more suitable banking relationship, the vast majority are refusing to budge from their existing provider despite the array of enticing up front cash incentives on offer," he said.
Nick Young, head of Halifax current accounts, added: "We are delighted that Halifax remains such a popular choice for customers looking for a rewarding current account. Being top three out of the four quarters of the first year of the Current Account Switch Service is evidence of the extra value we deliver to our customers."
An account opened with a clearing bank (few building societies offer current accounts) that provides the ability to draw cash (usually via a debit card) or cheques from the account. Some pay fairly minimal rates of interest if the account is in credit. Most current accounts insist your monthly income (salary or pension) is paid directly in each month and they offer a number of optional services – such as overdrafts and charge cards – which are negotiable but will incur fees.