UK account switching service prompts Brits to move banks

Source: Payments Council

The Payments Council today (16 January) published its first quarterly switching dashboard which shows that the new switching service has got off to an encouraging start since its launch on 16 September 2013.

Tracking research shows that the majority of people in the UK are now aware of the Current Account Switch Service, helping to contribute to switching levels for the last quarter of 2013 increasing 17 per cent year-on-year.

The first dashboard covers the period from service launch on 16 September 2013 to the end of December and for the first time provides detail on: customer awareness of the service; customer confidence in the service; and service performance.

The findings show that by December 2013 just under three-fifths (59%) of the general public were aware of the Current Account Switch Service. This was achieved with the help of the first phase of a national TV, radio and print advertising campaign which kicked off at launch alongside many individual providers' own campaigns. A second burst of advertising began on New Year's Day and is scheduled to run until March.

Customer confidence in the service is similarly high. 58 per cent of people are confident in how the new service works, with three-quarters of us thinking it would be quick and easy to switch a current account from one bank or building society to another.

Adrian Kamellard, CEO of the Payments Council, said: "With the launch of new service we have set out to eradicate any concern customers may have had in the past about switching their current account, and although our work isn't yet done, we have got off to a great start. Even though the Current Account Switch Service only launched a few months ago most people are already aware of it and are confident in it. More than 300,000 switches in three months is an encouraging start and we hope this will be further boosted by the second wave of our national advertising campaign that kicked off this January."

During the last quarter of 2013 (October to December) there were 306,240 switches. This represents a 17% year-on-year increase in switching levels, which totaled 261,122 in the last quarter of 2012.

The increase was even more marked for switches in the last month of the year. There were 83,729 switches in December 2013, which was a 54 per cent increase on the same month in 2012 when there were 54,329 switches.

Since launch, feedback from the 33 participating banks and building society brands has been that customers can help prepare for their switch by being ready to give their new bank or building society an up-to-date bank statement that shows their current address and full details. This is because their switch could be delayed if the name or address provided by the customer to the new bank does not match that held by the old bank. Examples include if the customer has recently got married and not changed their maiden name to their married name, or if they have moved house and not given their old bank their new address.

Customers should also be ready to give details from their existing debit card to their new bank or building society - this will help their switch commence successfully by enabling banks to run the various checks that they need to undertake to help ensure the security of account switches. 

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