Confusion about value puts customers off switching banks

Tom Wilson
5 August 2015
Consumers are put off switching current accounts because they cannot meaningfully compare the value offered by different accounts.Some 55% of people find it impossible to determine the value of their current account, and only 14% believe there are large differences in the value offered by different accounts.They are also worried about the difficulties of changing bank, according to market research for Tesco Bank.Benny Higgins, Tesco Bank's chief executive, said: "Customers are telling us that more needs to be done to enable them to understand the true cost and value of their current account. Only then will customers be able to secure a fair return on their money, and avoid paying excessive overdraft charges."In March 2015, the government launched the MiData initiative, partnering with to create an app that provides personal guidance on the best bank account, based on their own habits.Matt Sanders, money expert at, said: "The MiData comparison tool means that customers can actually see which current accounts are best suited to their banking habits and financial circumstances, rather than being swayed by seemingly attractive switching incentives and marketing messages."Customers can use the service by downloading their MiData current account data via their online banking screen, and then uploading this to the comparison tool at is only available for customers of participating banks, which are currently: RBS, NatWest, Ulster Bank, Lloyds, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, Nationwide, Santander, HSBC, First Direct and Barclays.The service then calculates what they'd have paid across a range of current accounts, factoring in things like overdraft usage, typical balances and spending abroad, and then in a few seconds shows the best value account, including a pounds and pence estimate for how much they'd save.The research also found consumers are far less likely to switch current account than other financial products, with just 6% of people having switched in the last year, compared to 29% for car insurance.The process of switching current account has become much easier following the introduction of new rules in October 2013. These ensure switching bank will take no more than a seven working days, and that direct debits and standing orders are automatically transferred to the new account.

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