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Over 300,000 switch current accounts in first quarter this year

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

More than 300,000 current account switches took place in the first three months of 2016 with Santander the biggest winner, official statistics show.

There were 309,678 current account switches in the first quarter of the year, which is 20% higher than the previous three months and a 10% increase compared to the same period in 2015.

The figures released by Bacs on behalf of the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) also show that in the past 12 months (1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016) there were 1.06 million switches, down from the 1.13 million recorded in the previous 12 months.

In total, since the launch of the seven working day switch guarantee in September 2013, there have been more than 2.81 million switches, with more than 99% of these completed within the time frame.

But the data also shows that 11,214 customers decided to keep their old account open when they switched, falling outside of the CASS guarantee.

Here are the total numbers of customers who switched in the first quarter of 2016:

January: 74,723
February: 110,340
March: 124,615 – the highest number recorded since CASS launched.

Biggest winners and losers

Bacs also today published data today showing which of the banks and building societies had the largest number of gains and losses between 1 July 2015 and 30 September 2015.

Santander gained the most customers with 66,786 switching, but 15,784 walked away, handing it a net gain of 51,002.

It was followed by Nationwide which saw its customer base swell by 26,317 while 11,125 ditched it so the provider had an overall net gain of 15,192.

Making the top three was Halifax which had a net gain of 11,177 as 36,876 joined the provider while 25,699 ditched it.

In contrast, Barclays recorded the largest net loss with 25,577 as 31,672 walked away from the provider while it only gained a lowly 6,095 new customers.

But overall, HSBC topped the table for the largest loss – 31,820 – though when taking into effect the numbers that joined it – 23,137, it was left with a net loss of 8,683.

The table below shows the gains and losses for each bank and building society in the third quarter of 2015:

YM CurrentAccount Table

Kevin Mountford, head of banking at Moneysupermarket, said the latest current account switching figures are encouraging but the total number of switches is still “comparatively small” given there are 65 million active current account holders in the UK.

He added: “Consumers should continue to put pressure on banks by switching provider if they aren’t happy with their current deal. On average people save £70 a year by switching and there are plenty of enticing  deals currently on the market, offering high interest rates, cash incentives and other perks, so it’s well worth shopping around as there may be a better offer elsewhere.”