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Current account switching levels dipped in first three months of 2021

Vicky Shaw, PA Personal Finance Correspondent
·3-min read

The number of current account customers ditching and switching their bank fell in the first three months of 2021.

A total of 137,976 switches took place in the first quarter of 2021, according to figures from the Current Account Switch Service (Cass).

This marked a 51,297 fall compared with the final quarter of 2020 (189,273) – a time when social distancing measures were relaxed for many people and current account providers started re-introducing switching incentives to the market, Cass said.

It added that switches dipped in January and February this year before picking up in March.

Cass was introduced in 2013 to take the hassle out of switching current accounts.

Switches can now be made in seven working days, compared with up to 30 previously. Payments are automatically moved over to the new account.

More than 7.2 million switches have been completed since launch, Cass said.

It said the latest quarterly switching total was nearly identical to total switches completed in the third quarter of 2020 (136,575) when similar social distancing measurers were in place for many people.

Across Cass’s 50 participants, Lloyds Bank had the largest net switching gain in the last quarter of 2020 (29,556), followed by Starling Bank (15,960), NatWest (9,003), Clydesdale Bank (8,584) and Monzo (6,765).

TSB meanwhile made a net loss of more than 20,000 switches.

TSB stopped paying credit interest on its classic plus current account last year. The classic plus account is no longer available to open but TSB instead offers its spend and save account.

Santander, which has made several cuts to its flagship 123 account, made a net loss of more than 18,000. Halifax made a net loss of more than 11,000 switches.

The figures, provided voluntarily by banks, only capture switches taking place when people use the service and not those outside the scheme, so they do not reflect total switches.

David Piper, head of service lines at Pay.UK, owner and operator of Cass, said: “Through a fast-changing market the Current Account Switch Service remained focused on its priority objectives, to ensure that the service is available to those who wish to move their current account in a simple, reliable and stress-free manner.

“To that end, I’m proud our team has been able to maintain its exceptional completion rate into 2021 and awareness and satisfaction levels were above target.”

– Here are the net gains and losses banks made from customers using Cass in the fourth quarter of 2020:

AIB Group UK (includes First Trust Bank and Allied Irish Bank GB switches), minus 310

Bank Of Ireland, minus 374

Bank Of Scotland, 627

Barclays, minus 6,398

Clydesdale Bank, 8,584

Co-operative Bank, (includes Smile brand switches), minus 1,729

Danske, minus 242

Halifax, minus 11,231

HSBC (includes First Direct and Marks & Spencer Bank brand switches), minus 3,944

Lloyds Bank, 29,556

Monzo, 6,765

Nationwide, minus 6,454

NatWest, 9,003

RBS (includes Adam & Company, Coutts and Isle of Man brand switches), 1,013

Santander, minus 18,270

Starling Bank, 15,960

Tesco Bank, minus 2,487

Triodos Bank, 1,043

TSB, minus 20,236

Ulster Bank, 317