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The surprising reason Brits really switch bank accounts

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
Brits don’t change bank accounts very often. Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire/PA Images

Many of Britain’s banks are so keen to lure each other’s customers they are prepared to pay them to switch.

NatWest and First Direct are both currently offering new customers £175, while M&S Bank are handing out £100 gift cards.

But new research suggests a major reason people switch has nothing to do the perks offered by other providers, or even getting fed up with the service at their current bank.

Major life events are a key reason people think about switching, according to research by the Current Account Switch Service.

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An online survey of more than 2,000 people in March found respondents were much more likely to switch at big moments in their lives which had financial consequences.

Starting a new job and buying a property were highlighted as particularly significant moments, with the upheaval and closer scrutiny of their finances perhaps encouraging people to think afresh about how they manage their money.

Customers are well-known for generally sticking with their banks out of habit, inertia and the perceived difficulties of changing.

But the Current Account Switching Service said more than 5.6m people had switched since it launched in 2013, making it easier to move money, payments and details across banks.

The research also found people under 35 were three times as likely to think about switching than people over 55.

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