The latest Current Account Switch Service Dashboard reveals that between January and March 2023 341075 switches took place, a figure that is over 70% higher than the same period last year.
In this latest dashboard, we find out how many of us transferred our bank account in Q1 2023 and who the switching winners and losers were in Q4 2022.
The number of switches during 2023
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 continued throughout the remainder of 2021 as restrictions continued to ease – only falling back in December as variant restrictions increased together with the usual seasonal impact.
Between October and December 2022, the Current Account Switch Service processed 376,107 switches, an increase on the 222,108 it facilitated in the previous quarter between July and September 2022.
The figures from Q4 represent the highest total volume of switches that the Current Account Switch Service has facilitated since its inception, almost a decade ago, in September 2013.
The high switching totals may signal that consumers and businesses across the UK are reassessing their current account options during the challenging economic climate, looking to accounts that offer services that suit them better, or provide switching incentives. The high totals at the end of 2022 align with a number of strong incentives and offers from current account providers at the time, signalling a healthy and competitive switching environment for consumers and business alike.
Monthly switching volumes peaked in November at 157,376, the highest ever recorded and when compared to the same period in 2021 a volume increase of 73%. October and December had 118,427 and 100,304 switches respectively. Small business and small charity accounts also saw a strong quarter, with 2,131 accounts being switched in November alone, the highest monthly level since May.
The Current Account Switch Service has now completed 9.1 million switches since launch and successfully redirected 134.4 million payments.
Euan Ballantyne, Head of Product at Pay.UK, owner and operator of the Current Account Switch Service, said:
“It is encouraging to see Q1 2023 switching figures surpass Q1 2022’s figures by over 70%, demonstrating the continued relevance of the Service to consumers and businesses across the UK. It is also positive to see another uptake in small business and charity account switches, once again showcasing that value of the Current Account Switch Service extends beyond personal accounts.
Those considering a new current account, for whatever reason, can be assured that the Current Account Switch Service, with its 9 million switches and 134.4 million successfully-redirected payments, is a quick, free and easy process.”
Q1 2023: CASS performance
The CASS insights published by Pay.UK (the operator of the switching service) show us that during Q1 2023:
- The past 12 months (1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023) saw over 1 million switches take place through the Service.
- As the Current Account Switch Service approaches its tenth anniversary the Service has now facilitated 9.1 million switches since launch and successfully redirected 134.4 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.
- 99.4% of switches have been completed within the seven working day switch timescale.
- In Q1 2023 86% 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 2% say it is worse.
- The top two reasons people rate their new account as better than their old account continue to be service related:
- Online banking (41%) (Q4 2022 46%)
- Customer Service (29%) (Q4 2022 42%)
- However, perhaps reflecting the current economic climate, financial benefits including interest earned (29%) and spending benefits (25%) were the third and fourth most important factors.
- The Current Account Switch Service’s Confidence Index achieved a score of 78% in Q1 2023. 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’..
Q4 2022: Participant performance
Pay.UK publish participant CASS data a quarter in arrears so the latest data provides an insight to switches completed in Q4 2022:
- Of the 47 brand participants 4 brands recorded a net gain of accounts (note: a number of brands are included in a catch all ‘low value participant’ category which recorded 449 gains and 1458 losses so it is possible that an individual brand or two made a small net gain).
Q4 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: +111941
- NatWest: +5646
- Starling Bank Ltd: +1810
- Triodos Bank: +151
- Lloyds Bank: -403
- Bank of Ireland: -441
- Danske: -515
- Ulster Bank: -697
- AIB Group (UK) p.l.c.: -1065
- HSBC: -1518
- Monzo Bank Limited.: -2079
- Bank of Scotland: -4270
- RBS: -4518
- Co-operative: -5104
- Virgin Money: -7474
- TSB -9642
- Halifax: -20287
- Barclays: -22945
- Santander: -35046
Q4 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 has previously provided a different picture. For Q4 the top three by group are as follows:
- Nationwide: +111941
- Starling Bank: +1810
- NatWest: +1128
At the other end of the table, however, the picture is unaltered when shown by group:
18. Barclays: -22945
19. Santander: -35046
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 2021 (31,854) and February 2021 (42,398), there was a significant increase in March 2021 (63,724) as the roadmap for the COVID-19 recovery became clearer and this continued throughout 2021 and throughout 2022.
Activity in Q1 2023 continues to grow with 341075 switches taking place through the service, compared to 196964 in the first quarter of 2022.
The top two reasons to switch (online banking, mobile banking and customer service) continue to point to current account providers having a strong digital offering, however financial benefits including interest and spending benefits were the third and fourth most important factors.
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 86% of people who have used the service over the last five years being satisfied with the CASS service.
With the increase in switching seen in the current economic climate, 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.