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Current account switches increase in Q4 as incentives return to the market

  • The Current Account Switch Service has now completed over 7 million switches to date
  • 189,273 switches took place between October and December – 52,698 more than in Q3
  • In November 2020 80,980 switches occurred, the highest figure since March 2020
  • Awareness and satisfaction of the Current Account Switch Service remained consistent, at 76 per cent and 91 per cent respectively through the quarter
  • A Current Account Switch Service advertising campaign finished in November, reaching 91 per cent of those classed as financially vulnerable – over its target of 90 per cent.

28 January 2021: Today, the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) publishes its Q4 2020 Dashboard reporting the latest switching figures and trends. The new data shows totals rose from Q3 peaking in November as switching incentives returned to the market. This recovery followed a reduction in consumer switching in Q2.

Since the service launched in 2013, it has helped over 7 million accounts switch and successfully redirected more than 104 million payments. The Current Account Switch Service has a seven-day switching success rate of 99.8 per cent. Of those who switched using the service over the past three years, 84 per cent would recommend it.

In the final quarter of 2020 a total of 189,273 switches took place, an increase of 52,698 compared to Q3. Monthly data shows that November saw the highest number of switches take place (80,980) since March (113,037) as confidence slowly began to return to the market and participant incentives, such as one-off cash bonuses for switching accounts, increased.

Historically December has been a month of low switching through the service, and while this was true of personal current accounts in Q4, there was only a minimal decline in small business and charity switches from October (5,127) to December (5,073). This relative stability through the quarter in business current account switches can potentially be attributed to two new factors. A targeted advertising campaign undertaken by The Current Account Switch Service to an audience which included SME owners and the ongoing pandemic and subsequent social distancing measures causing businesses to assess their banking needs.

Among the Current Account Switch Service’s 49 participants, Halifax had the largest net switching gain in Q3 2020 (participant data is collected three months in arrears). Halifax was followed by Starling Bank, Monzo, Lloyds and Bank of Scotland.

Awareness and satisfaction levels for the Current Account Switch Service remained high in Q4 2020 at 76 per cent and 91 per cent respectively. Age continues to be a key factor, with 45 per cent of those aged under 25 aware of the service compared to 91 per cent of those aged 65 and above.

The Current Account Switch Service’s latest data shows that the most commonly cited reasons for favouring a new account were all service-related, and included better online banking facilities (40 per cent), preferable mobile banking systems (40 per cent) and strong customer service (36 per cent). Of those who completed a switch using the Current Account Switch Service 71 per cent say they prefer their new current account and only 2 per cent believe it to be worse.

From October to November 2020, the Current Account Switch Service ran an advertising campaign targeting those classed as financially vulnerable to reassure them they can switch account should they need to. The campaign ran across a targeted mix of broadcast, digital and non-digital channels and demonstrated the service is available to help them switch to the best bank account to suit their needs. It reached 91 per cent of those classed as financially vulnerable.

In December 2020 the Current Account Switch Service published research looking into the financially vulnerable subgroup. The results showed that those classed as financially vulnerable may miss the best deals and require more support in switching their current account. Full details of the report can be found here.

Like many organisations, the events of 2020 presented new challenges and as a service we’ve had to adapt to a rapidly changing financial ecosystem. While we saw a drop in switching figures in the second quarter of the year, the market picked up following that and switching figures steadily increased up to November as incentives returned to the forefront. It remains to be seen if this trend will continue in 2021, but our focus remains to ensure that the Current Account Switch Service is available to those who wish to move their current account in a quick, easy and guaranteed manner.

While it’s positive to have passed the 7 million accounts switched milestone in 2020, we are fully aware that many consumers and businesses may be at more risk of financial vulnerability due to the economic impact of COVID-19. Our recent advertising campaign and accompanying research was focussed on this audience and understanding how, as a service, we can continue to help those who need it most.

Said David Piper, Head of Service Lines of Pay.UK, owner and operator of the Current Account Switch Service