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Current Account Switch Service issues progress report

Source: Cass

The Current Account Switch Service (CASS) achieved all its regulatory KPIs in 2020 and the service has facilitated more than seven million switches since its launch in 2013, as outlined in its Annual Report published today.

The Current Account Switch Service (CASS) achieved all its regulatory KPIs in 2020: 99.5% of switches were completed within 7 working days and consumer satisfaction ratings averaged 92% across the year. Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, CASS exceeded its overall 75% awareness target for 2020, maintaining a positive engagement rate, with 79% of consumers saying they are aware of the service. The total number of current accounts switched through the service in 2020 was 704,560 including 652,369 personal and 52,191 business current account switches.

CASS plays a vital role in helping consumers and businesses make the most of their money by providing a simple and stress-free way to move their current account. In these unprecedented times, the smooth working of the service is more important than ever.

In the second half of 2020, CASS adapted its approach to focus on groups that could potentially benefit most from switching in light of the pandemic - specifically the financially vulnerable, 18-24-year olds and SMEs. Through targeted marketing, including a series of advertorials aimed to showcase the ease of switching, CASS was able to focus on these key groups without sacrificing overall awareness.

CASS continued its commitment to publish new research insights, and in early 2020 CASS published the summary report from the ‘Millennials and Money’ research work (concluded in late 2019) which aimed to understand how millennials engage with and make decisions on the financial services they use. The service also developed its research and discussions around SME banking, to understand how decision makers in these businesses view their current account needs and which factors play a part in whether they switch provider.

In November 2020, CASS commissioned economic consultancy Frontier Economics to undertake a research project aimed at another of its key audience segments - financially vulnerable consumers. The study was conducted with the aim of improving understanding of how the pandemic was impacting attitudes to switching. This was the first major study into attitudes to bank accounts since the pandemic began and revealed new insights that provided CASS with a more detailed view of the changing financial ecosystem within which it operates.

In 2021, CASS continues to work with the ecosystem to understand more about consumer needs and how the banking sector serves them. Its revised strategic approach aims to have a long-term impact on the way banking services are delivered and consumers’ future needs are met, taking into account the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jo Kenrick, Chair of the Pay.UK Switching Services Participant Committee, said: “I am delighted with the progress that the Current Account Switch Service has made in 2020. Against a challenging economic backdrop, we have maintained a high quality, reliable service for individuals and small business and charities. The upheaval due to the pandemic causes us all to reflect on what’s important in our lives. Who we bank with may not be the priority and we have seen an impact on market activity in 2020. As a community we must recognise the impacts of the pandemic will continue to be felt into the future and we must be prepared for this. Our activity in 2021 will help to ensure we remain mindful of how we deliver our collaborative role as the UK’s switching service for current accounts.”

Matthew Hunt, Interim Chief Executive of Pay.UK, owner and operator of the Current Account Switch Service, said: “Obviously the impact of the pandemic has meant that account switching has not been at the forefront of people’s minds. But we have worked hard to keep our critical infrastructure functioning and CASS has ensured that it has met its primary function: to help those who want to switch their bank accounts without difficulty. It is a valuable model to the financial services industry that shows how the power of collaboration can support customers’ needs in a changing world.”

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