The UK’s Current Account Switch Service (CASS) is celebrating surpassing 10 million total switches since its inception, following its busiest-ever quarter.
The Current Account Switch Service is a free UK service helping consumers to switch a current account from one participating bank or building society to another, in seven working days. It’s designed to be simple and stress-free, and the full switch option is backed by the ‘Current Account Switch Guarantee‘.
Between October and December 2023, CASS facilitated 433,701 switches, the highest quarterly total recorded since it was launched in 2013. These figures take the total number of switches since September 2013 to 10.2 million.
The timing of the uptake in switching suggests that consumers and businesses are analysing their finances, as well as the services available to them more closely, as the cost of living, inflation and interest rates continue to rise.
From July to September 2023, Natwest enjoyed the highest net switching gains, an uptake of 59,158 new customers – according to end-user data. This was followed by HSBC (25,037), TSB (15,754) and RBS (6,382).
Jenny Ross, money editor at consumer champion Which?, reacted to the news: “The latest CASS figures show the power of offering financial incentives for switching, but it’s important to take into account other factors like complaints handling, mobile and online banking service, customer service and local branch closures.
“Some of the banks with the highest number of switches were near the bottom of Which?’s current account customer satisfaction rankings, meaning some customers could end up regretting their decision long after the switching cash has been spent if they overlook crucial service quality indicators.”
Online or mobile banking (44 per cent) emerged as the top reason people preferred their new account. Following this, interest earned (34 per cent) was the second most important reason, with customer service (33 per cent) and location of branches (22 per cent) coming in at third and fourth respectively.
John Dentry, product owner at Pay.UK, the owner and operator of the Current Account Switch Service, also added: “Once again, the run-up to the Christmas period proves itself to be an important time for switching current accounts. It’s encouraging to see more consumers and businesses utilising the service to take advantage of a healthy banking market and ultimately find a current account that best serves their needs.
“As interest rates appear to be stabilising, it will be interesting to see how the market develops. Despite higher interest rates, cash incentives and other financial benefits, online and mobile banking still continue to be the most significant reason that consumers prefer their new current account.
“Following another year of high switching volumes, those considering a new current account should be comforted by the fact that the service has facilitated over 10 million switches through a quick, free and easy process.”
During Q4 2023, 77 per cent of people were aware of the service, and 87 per cent were satisfied with their switch. Monthly switching volumes peaked in November with 162,637 personal, small business and charity accounts being switched, the highest month currently on record. October and December saw 141,924 and 129,140 total switches respectively.