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Starling flies high in account switching race

Starling flies high in account switching race

There was a sharp uptick in the number of Brits switching their current account provider in the second quarter, with Starling Bank the biggest beneficiary.

According to the latest figures from the Current Account Switch Service (CASS), between April and June 2021 182,745 switches took place, an increase of 44,769 on the previous quarter, which Pay.UK attributes to the Covid-19 recovery roadmap.

In the last year there have been just under 650,000 switches, well down on the million-plus seen in 2019. CASS has now facilitated over 7.3 million account switches and successfully redirected more than 110. million payments since launching in 2013.

Challenger Starling saw a 17,769 net gain of customers for the quarter, while Virgin Money say a net gain of 17,495, although this includes the now merged Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank brand. Monzo had a net gain of 7,744.

This week, Starling also picked up a £9.2 million reward for converting the most switchers in the SME marketplace.

In contrast, NatWest and Santander both saw net losses of more than 10,000.

Anne Boden, CEO Starling, says: “Starling is once again the most popular bank for switches, despite offering no signing-on bonuses. Customers are attracted to the value Starling brings through its banking app, which allows them to track spending in real-time and do their banking on the go, and our better customer service. In a few short years, we’ve become a trusted mainstream bank.”

The most commonly cited reasons for favouring a new current account remain ‘non-financial’, as has been the case throughout the pandemic. In the second quarter Brits favoured better online banking facilities (47%), stronger customer service (39%), ease of mobile or app-based systems (39%) and location of branches (25%).

Awareness of the CASS service remains above target at 77%, while satisfaction is at 93%.

David Piper, head, service lines, Pay.UK, says: “As the roadmap to the COVID-19 recovery was outlined and clarity around timings increased, we saw a rise in current account switches through the Current Account Switch Service through Q2.

"It’s too early to tell whether this trend will continue as we head further into 2021, but as a service we remain focused on ensuring those who wish to move their current account can do so in a reliable, simple and stress-free manner."

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