Current account switching has increased year-on-year according to results published by the Payments Council.
There were 306,240 in the last three months of 2013 – equivalent to a 17% rise from the same period in 2012.
The research suggests that the rise has been due to wider awareness of the 7-day Current Account Switch Service, with 59% of the public saying they had heard of it compared with just 25% back in August 2013.
Consumer confidence in changing banks
In terms of consumer confidence, figures have remained steady since the introduction of the service with three quarters saying they think it would be quick and easy to switch a current account from one bank or building society to another.
Although many had expected consumer confidence to rise significantly, figures do suggest that consumers have been gradually gaining the courage to switch their bank for a better deal.
Michael Ossei, personal finance expert at uSwitch, said: “We’re really encouraged by these figures – consumers are finally feeling confident enough to break free from the shackles of their old banks and move to a better deal.
“And, with cash incentives of up to £100 on offer as well as interest rates of up to 5% on in-credit balances, people have everything to gain by switching their current account. We’ve seen consumers on our website express the most interest in the First Direct 1st Account and the Halifax Reward account.”
Current Account Switch Service feedback
Since the launch, feedback from the 33 participating banks and building society brands has been that customers can help prepare for their switch by being ready to give their new bank or building society an up-to-date bank statement that shows their current address and full details.
This is because their switch could be delayed if the name or address provided by the customer to the new bank does not match that held by the old bank.
Examples include if the customer has recently got married and not changed their maiden name to their married name, or if they have moved house and not given their old bank their new address.
Customers should also be ready to give details from their existing debit card to their new bank or building society – this will help their switch commence successfully by enabling banks to run the various checks that they need to undertake to help ensure the security of account switches.
Adrian Kamellard, CEO of the Payments Council, said: “With the launch of new service we have set out to eradicate any concern customers may have had in the past about switching their current account, and although our work isn’t yet done, we have got off to a great start.”
A second burst of advertising for the Current Account Switch Service began on New Year’s Day and is scheduled to run until March.