There have been 1,203,334 current account switches in the past 12 months according to the Payments Council, which represents a year-on-year an increase of 22%.
They attribute the increase to their Current Account Switching Service, which was introduced in September 2013 to make it easier to change bank accounts and create more competition in the consumer banking sector.
Gerard Lemos, Executive Chairman of the Payments Council, said:
“By making switching bank accounts easier for customers than ever before – with the added peace of mind delivered by the Current Account Switch Guarantee – we have created the perfect conditions for competition and choice to flourish amongst new and existing current account providers.
“These latest figures clearly suggest that the good news is getting through to all those customers who want to change provider – that there has never been a better time to do it.”
What does the Current Account Switch Service Guarantee?
To make it easy to change current accounts, the Payments Council demands that banks make sure that the following is possible:
- The customer can switch on a date of their choosing
- It should take no more that seven working days to switch account
- Existing payment arrangements, those going out (e.g. Direct Debits and standing orders) and those coming in (e.g. salary), will be automatically transferred
- Any payments made to or requested from the old account will be redirected automatically to the new account, for a period of 13 months after the switch date
Are banks offering better service?
So are banks offering better service? That certainly looks to be the case, with First Direct topping a customer service index of all UK brands and financial companies improving their customer service score by a bigger margin than all other sectors.
Recent research by uSwitch found a a 276% increase in current account switches from last year amongst uSwitch customers, pointing towards a more competitive consumer banking sector.
Get an award winning current account
Switch current accounts – A more competitive banking sector means higher interest rates, cashback rewards and introductory offers with their current accounts to entice customers.
2014 uSwitch Current Account Awards – Based on the votes of 10,000 customers, with categories such as Most Trusted, Best Customer Service and Best Value for Money. First Direct offer the best current account, followed by Nationwide and the Co-op.