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Current account switching levels fell by around 30% last year

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

Current account switching levels fell by around 30% annually last year, figures from a service show.

Some 704,560 current account switches took place in 2020 – made up of 652,369 personal and 52,191 business current account switches.

This compared with 1,002,029 switches recorded in 2019.

The figures relate to the Current Account Switch Service (Cass), which was set up in 2013 to take the hassle out of switching deals.

Under the service, switches are completed in seven working days. Previously it could take up to 30 working days to switch.

Payments are automatically moved over to the new account and a guarantee ensures the customer is not left out of pocket if something goes wrong with the switch.

The service can be used by people as well as small businesses with a turnover of up to £6.5 million, small charities with an annual income of less than £6.5 million, and small trusts with a net asset value of less than £6.5 million.

More than seven million switches have taken place since the launch of the service.

Returns on savings have plunged to record lows during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some banks have tweaked their current accounts to make them less generous, although some have recently offered new incentives to switch.

Consumer research carried out for Cass found that it had exceeded its overall 75% awareness target for 2020, with 79% of consumers saying they are aware of the service.

Matthew Hunt, interim chief executive of Pay.UK, owner and operator of Cass, 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.”