Current account switches increase by 36302 in Q4 compared to Q3
In this latest dashboard, we find out how many of us transferred our bank account in Q4 2021 and who the switching winners and losers were in Q3.
The number of switches during 2021
As previously reported the previously steady state of Current Account Switches was disrupted by the emergence of the COVID pandemic in the first half of 2020. Although the number of switches began to rise during the Autumn of 2020, the December switching level had fallen to 41,357 (a mix of seasonal and lockdown factors being the probable cause).
While current account switches dipped again in January 2021 (31,854) and February 2021 (42,398) as Lockdown 3.0 took hold, there was a significant increase in March (63,724) as the roadmap for the COVID-19 recovery became clearer. This recovery has continued as restrictions continued to ease – only falling back in December as variant restrictions increased together with the usual seasonal impact. During Q3 the number of switches rose by 29855 and by a further 36302 in Q4 to a total of 248902.
94822 switches took place in October 2021, the highest monthly volume since March 2020.
A total of 7.8 million current accounts have now been switched since the service was launched in September 2013.
“Performance and usage of the Current Account Switch Service remained strong in the final months of 2021, with thousands continuing to benefit even in the face of the growing challenges presented by the emergence of the Covid-19 Omicron variant.”
“We also saw digital-first participants continuing to attract new customers as many seek current account providers with high-quality online tools, such as mobile apps. Throughout 2022 and beyond, our focus will continue to be on ensuring the Current Account Switch Service is available to anyone wanting to switch current accounts simply and reliably.“David Piper, Head of Service Lines at Pay.UK, owner and operator of the Current Account Switch Service
Q4 2021: CASS performance
The CASS insights published by Pay.UK (the operator of the switching service) show us that during Q4 2021:
- A total of 248902 switches took place between October and December 2021, 36302 more than in the previous quarter.
- In the past 12 months 782223 switches in total have been processed through the service.
- Since the service launched in 2013, the system has successfully redirected more than 117.1 million payments seamlessly and transparently from an ‘old’ (and closed) bank account to the ‘new’ bank account. One of the early fears for the CASS service was that payments directed to the ‘old’ bank account would result in ‘lost’ payments, the development of a ‘redirection table’ has proved to be an integral part of ensuring the success of the accounts switching service.
- Consumer awareness of the Current Account Switch Service was at an average of 75% through Q4.
- 91% of people who have used the service over the last three years are satisfied with the CASS service:
- 99.7% of switches have been completed within the seven working day switch timescale.
- December 2020 had recorded the highest proportion of small business and charity switchers accounting for 12% of switchers (personal 88%) This increased further in January 2021 with the proportion being 14.9% and 85.1% respectively. Levels for small businesses and charities then fell back to historic levels and this has continued with the proportion at 3.4% in December 2021.
- In Q4 2021 88% of CASS switchers would recommend the switching process.
- Of those who have switched account, 69% say their new current account is better than their old one and only 3% say it is worse.
- The top three reasons people rate their new account as better than their old account continue to be service related:
- Online banking (51%) (Q3 2021 51%)
- Mobile Banking (41%)(Q3 2021 40%)
- Customer Service (38%) (Q3 2021 42%)
- The proportion of current account holders actively considering switching stands at 16% and a further 12% are thinking about it.
- The Current Account Switch Service’s Confidence Index achieved a score of 80% in Q4 2021. The Confidence Index is the average proportion of CASS users agreeing with each of the following four statements: ‘it would be easy for me to switch’, ‘it would be quick for me to switch’, ‘I think it is a secure and reliable process’, and ‘any problems would be dealt with effectively’..
Q3 2021: Participant performance
Pay.UK publish participant CASS data a quarter in arrears so the latest data provides an insight to switches completed in Q3 2021:
- Of the 49 brand participants 9 brands recorded a net gain of accounts (note: a number of brands are included in a catch all ‘low value participant’ category which recorded 417 gains and 950 losses so it is possible that an individual brand or two made a small net gain).
Q3 CASS winners and losers by brand
Pay.UK publish the winners and losers information in alphabetical order but sorting based on net gains/losses provides an interesting picture of winners and losers on an individual brand level:
- Nationwide: +33828
- Starling Bank: +15371
- Monzo Bank Limited: +6498
- Santander: +4372
- Virgin Money: +3377
- Lloyds Bank: +2835
- Bank of Scotland: +1618
- Triodos Bank: +792
- Danske: +199
- Ulster Bank : -30
- Bank of Ireland: -471
- AIB Group (UK) p.l.c.: -769
- RBS: -2174
- Co-operative: -2717
- Halifax: -4548
- Barclays: -4722
- NatWest: -5341
- TSB: -8175
- Tesco Bank: -19657
- HSBC: -19760
Q3 CASS winners and losers by banking group
Pay.UK publish the winners and losers information in alphabetical order by brand but sorting based on net gains / losses by banking group usually provides a different picture. However for Q3 the top three by group are again unchanged – i.e.
- Nationwide: +33828
- Starling Bank: +15751
- Monzo Bank Limited: +6498
At the other end of the table the picture is also unchanged by group:
19. Tesco Bank: -19657
20. HSBC: -19760
The service aided customers from Tesco Bank and M&S Bank who used it to switch away as those providers had commenced withdrawing from the current account market in Q3 2021.
The steady state of Current Account Switches was disrupted by the emergence of the COVID pandemic in the first half of 2020. Although the number of switches began to rise during the Autumn, the December switching levels fell to 41,357 (a mix of seasonal and lockdown factors are the probable cause of this dip). While current account switches dipped in January (31,854) and February (42,398), there was a significant increase in March (63,724) as the roadmap for the COVID-19 recovery became clearer. This has continued in Q4 with the number of Current Account Switches increasing by 36302.
December 2020 had recorded the highest proportion of small business and charity switchers accounting for 12% of switchers (personal 88%). This increased further in January 2021 with the proportion being 14.9% and 85.1% respectively. Since that time the percentage for small business and charity switchers has fallen back to more historic levels and remained at a low level of 3.4% in December 2021.
The top three reasons to switch (online banking, mobile banking and customer service) continue to point to current account providers having a strong digital offering as is evidenced in the league table above.
The key service factors of the CASS service of the 7 day switch guarantee, consumer awareness, consumer confidence and account redirection have all performed highly during Q4. This is evidenced by the 91% of people who have used the service over the last three years being satisfied with the CASS service.
With 16% of current account holders actively considering switching and a further 12% thinking about switching, the service performance and consumer satisfaction point to the likelihood that the CASS service will continue to play its part in stimulating a competitive current account market in the UK.