The UK's much vaunted current account switching service is beginning to look like an expensive white elephant, as fewer consumers transferred their business in 2015 compared to the previous year.
Introduced as a means to inject more competition into the moribund banking sector, the latest figures from CASS show that just over one million switched their bank accounts last year, 11% down on the 1.15 million recorded in 2014.
The seven-day service, which cost the industry in the region of $750 million, was recommended by the Independent Commission on Banking, which had originally looked at full account number portability, which would have cost anything up to £5 billion.
Findings by comparethemarket.com showed more than a third of people surveyed say that the complexities in the switching process and fear that direct debits may not be successfully transferred discourages them from moving bank.
The disappointing take up is likely to stir the interests of the Competition and Markets Authority and the new Payment Systems Regulator, which have a mandate to shake up the market and provide new opportunities for challenger banks to take on the might of the country's biggest banks.
The FCA has floated two potential models for delivering account portability: building it within the existing market structure and then running the additional infrastructure centrally, as is the case with Cass; or a new central utility model based on a shared platform.