Will new rules make you switch your bank account?

25 July 2013

banksGiven that, on average, people change their spouse more frequently than their bank account, most people enjoy a relatively long, if not happy, union with their bank. However, new research from uSwitch.com suggests that the introduction of the new Current Account Switch Service might mean people are more willing to change banking partner- even if they still end up with a boring high street partner rather than a dashing young internet bank.

The survey found that, although only one in ten consumers (11%) have switched their current account over the last twelve months. However, with news that the switching service will, from September, take a maximum of seven days, with a money-back guarantee in case anything goes wrong, 42% of consumers said they will now be more likely to switch, and a further 46% will wait and see how the new service pans out.

The research also showed that one in five customers (18%) are unhappy with their current account provider, with excess charges (45%), poor interest rates (36%) and in-branch queues (21%) the main reasons for grumpiness. Given that the worst performers in the recent uSwitch Current Account Awards were Santander, Barclays and RBS, you might be forgiven for thinking that potential switchers were eyeing up younger, more dynamic banking spouses. However, despite the fact that First Direct, Smile and Co-op came top in almost every category, almost half of consumers (49%) said they would still choose to hold their account with a traditional high street bank rather than a building society (23%), online or ‘alternative' bank such as First Direct, Metro Bank or the Post Office (22%). Recent news of Co-op’s financial woes in particular has led to 45% of people saying they would are now less likely to pick the ethical bank as their one and only.

Finally, for most customers, customer service is the number one attractive feature when assessing potential bank mates, but packaged account benefits such as travel insurance or a cash incentive are low on the list. For those thinking of placing a bank account personal ad, these are the things most people are looking for in their ideal bank’s customer service characteristics:

CATA (Charges applied to the account- 45%)
IR (Interest rates- 36%)
QIB (Queues in branch- 21%)
WTOP (Waiting time on phone- 18%)
OH (Opening hours- 11%)
OE (Online experience- 10%)
OCC (Overseas call centre- 9%)

It seems a GSOH or OHAC are not priorities any more.

TOPICS:   Banking   Consumer Advice


  • Alexis
    They still balls it up. The Direct Debits are the problem - the weak point is the companies that have set them up. The new bank tells them to alter the account details and they simply don't do it most of the time. No matter how fancy the switching service is setup, it's no good if your broadband company can't be arsed changing the details it has for you.
  • Dick
    Only 1 in 10 have changed in the past year. But if you changed 14 months ago and are happy, they don't count you. So the statistic is fairly useless.
  • Loafer1946
    You have hit the nub of the problem Alexis I have changed my account and it is the companies that mess it up. Credit Card companies can take up to 28 days to change your DD thereby ensuring that you have miss a payment.

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