The Current Account Switch Service achieved all its regulatory KPIs in 2021, while the total number of current accounts switched across the year was 782,223, as outlined in its Annual Report published today.
The Service has now facilitated more than seven million switches since its launch in 2013.
This was a successful year for the Service in meeting all of its regulatory KPIs: 99.8% of switches were completed within 7 working days and consumer satisfaction averaged 92% across the year. As Britain moved towards recovery following the pandemic, 76% of consumers said they were aware of the Service, exceeding the overall awareness target of 75%.
The Current Account Switch Service 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 2021, the Service focussed, using targeted marketing and a multi-channel approach, on groups that could potentially benefit most from switching - specifically financially vulnerable people, 18-24-year-olds and SMEs. Through this marketing, including a series of advertorials showcasing the ease of switching, the Service was able to focus on these key groups without it impacting overall awareness.
In early 2021 the Current Account Switch Service launched a mass awareness campaign targeting everyone in the UK. As Covid-19 continued to impact lives in a significant way, its approach was to engage with the wider population by sharing real-life stories about switching. This enabled the Service to reflect that, even during those challenging months of the pandemic, choosing to switch a current account was still quick, easy and worthwhile.
The Current Account Switch Service also continued its commitment to publish new research insights. In Q3 2021, the Service collaborated with the Social Market Foundation completing research that explored the role that banks and building societies can play in bolstering financial resilience and improving outcomes for vulnerable customers. The final report was informed by an expert roundtable held in November 2021, which brought together people from industry, the finance research community, consumer groups and charities. The report concluded that outcomes in the financial services industry are best improved through a mixture of measures to increase customer engagement and current account switching, with regulatory interventions to protect vulnerable customers.
In 2022, the Current Account Switch Service 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 the future needs of consumers are met, as people and businesses look towards recovery following the coronavirus pandemic.
Jo Kenrick, Chair of the Pay.UK Switching Services Participant Committee, said: “Despite the ongoing challenges posed by Covid-19, 2021 saw the financial services industry and its customers act decisively on what they had learned in the previous year.
“I am proud of the achievements that the Current Account Switch Service and the team have delivered in 2021. The impacts of the pandemic will continue to be felt into the future and we must be prepared for this. We are looking forward confidently as the UK’s switching service for current accounts.”
David Pitt, Chief Executive of Pay.UK, owner and operator of the Current Account Switch Service, said: “This annual report highlights the Current Account Switch Service’s activity and successes during the year and we are pleased to see that the Service has achieved all of its KPIs for 2021. With the continued challenging economic backdrop, this was enabled by deep understanding of the changing market for current accounts; both in terms of what banks and building societies are offering and what customers value.”