Automated account transfers boost fickle consumers

Automated account transfers boost fickle consumers

One in four adults would consider changing banks as a result of a new automatic account switching process launched in the UK today, according to research conducted by ICM for telenet bank Intelligent Finance.

The research suggests that three million adults have moved their current accounts in the last twelve months, up from the 1.66 million who said they had changed banks between March 2000 - 2001. Nearly six million more people say they are considering making a move in the year ahead.

According to the research, the new automatic process to switch customers’ standing orders and direct debits being introduced today by high street banks and building societies would make one in four adults, representative of some 12 million people, more likely to consider changing banks.

Results show younger and more affluent customers are showing the highest propensity to move to take advantage of better deals:
* over one in ten 18-34 year olds moved their current accounts in the last twelve months;
* one in six 18-34 year olds are considering moving their current accounts in the year ahead;
* one in ten ABC1’s have moved their accounts in the last twelve months;
* one in six ABC1’s are considering changing banks in the year ahead; and
* one in three 18-44 year olds and one in three ABC1’s would be more likely to change banks if a switching service for their standing orders and direct debits took the hassle out of moving.

Jim Spowart, chief executive, Intelligent Finance, comments: “Anything which makes it easier for customers to move banks in search of a better deal is a welcome step forward. We will keep a keen eye on the turnaround times from other banks.”

UK banks have moved to ease the account switching process in the face of mounting pressure from consumer groups and public bodies, who argued that some banks deliberately slowed the process of transferring customers' standing orders and debit instructions, thereby discouraging competition.

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