Time to change bank? Current account switchers flock to Halifax

Published by Tom Wilson on 20 July 2016.
Last updated on 05 August 2016

More than three million people have moved bank account using the guaranteed switching service since it launched in 2013, and Halifax has gained the most customers.

The latest figures, published today, show that in the first half of 2016, switches via the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) increased by 4% compared to the first half of 2015 - with about 568,000 people moving bank in the first half of the year. See the table below for monthly switching figures.


However, switching seems to have slowed since March, and fewer people switched current account in June 2016 than in June 2015.

Kevin Mountford, head of banking at MoneySupermarket says: “The latest current account switching figures feel slightly underwhelming, with just a 4% increase in switches during the first half of 2016.

“Only a handful of providers – Halifax, Nationwide - are making net gains from switching and it shows more needs to be done to engage customers into switching, and on a more regular basis.

“Providers clearly need to consider adding more products to the market and making it more competitive. At the same time, consumers should continue to put pressure on banks and shop around to see if they can improve on their current deal.

“Given the uncertainty following the Brexit vote many households will be reviewing their finances and as part of this may want to consider changing their current account.”

 

Which bank are people switching to?

The banking body behind the CASS has also published figures showing which banks people switched to and from in the final quarter of 2015.

Halifax picked up the lion’s share of new customers, with 31,181 more people signing up than leaving.

This could be down to Halifax’s sign-up offer, which sees customers get a £100 cash bonus when they switch, plus £5 a month when they stay in credit.

 

Nationwide was the other big winner, gaining 26,150 new customers.

Santander, which has gained lots of customers via its flagship 123 Account, saw a lot of people join, but almost as many leave, meaning it ranked fourth in terms of total account gains. Some 38,180 people said goodbye to Santander in the second half of 2015, more than any other bank.

It’s possible these Santander customers were pushed away by the monthly fee on the 123 Account rising from £2 to £5.

The Spanish bank has this week launched a stripped down version of the account with a £1 monthly fee, the same cashback perks, but no interest on in credit balances – perhaps in an attempt to offset some of the customers it’s lost. Read what we think of its new 123 Lite account

At the other end of the spectrum, Barclays lost some 27,064 customers, while NatWest and RBS said goodbye to 13,928 and 11,430 people respectively.

The table below lists the full winners and losers by bank in the second half of 2015.


Brand

Switches to

Switches from

Net change

Halifax

57523

26342

31181

Nationwide

37640

11490

26150

TSB

19661

10057

9604

Santander

41772

38180

3592

Clydesdale Bank

9792

8022

1770

Tesco Bank

827

526

301

Low volume participants

691

543

148

Bank of Ireland

351

681

-330

Danske

416

893

-477

AIB Group

168

947

-779

Bank of Scotland

2479

3658

-1179

Ulster Bank

206

1505

-1299

HSBC

31309

33291

-1982

Co-operative

2846

8961

-6115

Lloyds Bank

15024

26039

-11015

RBS

2179

13609

-11430

NatWest

14931

28859

-13928

Barclays

5653

32717

-27064

What is the Current Account Switching Service?

The CASS was launched to make moving bank account easier, as there’s lots of evidence that people stick with bank accounts, even if they know they can get a better deal elsewhere.

Under its switching guarantee, moving bank account will take no longer than a week. That’s a big improvement on the old system where moving account could take a month.

Additionally, for people who move banks via CASS, any regular payments, such as direct debits, will automatically be transferred, and payments made to your old account will be forwarded for up to three years.

To take advantage of the CASS, simply speak to the bank you’re transferring to, and it will handle the transfer on your behalf. You’re free to choose the date you switch.

It’s not perfect, but 99% of people who have used CASS so far have had no problems. As part of the guarantee, you’ll also never be left out of pocket if there are any issues during your transfer.

More information is available at www.simplerworld.co.uk.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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