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Bank switchers flock to Santander and Nationwide

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

Santander and Nationwide recorded the highest gain in current account customer switches in the final three months of 2021.

Santander gained 60,588 customers while Nationwide took on 55,605, according to Pay.UK which owns and operates the Current Account Switch Service (CASS).

However, while Santander saw 24,000 leave the bank in the three months to December 2021, it was left with the highest net gain of 36,494.

Nationwide saw 21,914 exit the mutual’s current account offering, but on net gains, at 33,691, it came out second in the tables.

Challenger bank Starling came in third place as it notched up 13,514 gains, though it saw just over 3,000 customers close their current accounts with the digital bank.

At the other end of the scale, HSBC reported 38,476 left the banking giant, leaving it with a net loss of 14,875. Tesco Bank also saw over 20,000 customers leave, following its decision to pull out of the current account market with closures taking place by 30 November 2021.

While the brand switch data is three months in arrears, Pay.UK has also revealed the total number of moves in the first quarter of 2022.

It noted there were 196,964 switches in this period, taking total switches via CASS to eight million since launch in 2013.

A total of 47 brands now take part and over the past year to 31 March 2022, a total of 841,211 switches have taken place.

It has a satisfaction rating of 90%, and 99.8% of switches took place within the seven working day timescale.

Pay.UK said service related, non-financial benefits “continued to be the main reasons end users prefer their new current account to their old one”.

It added that online banking (53%), mobile banking/banking app ease (42%), customer service (40%) and location of branches (22%) were listed as the top reasons for people preferring their new current account.

Further, one in six current account holders are actively thinking about switching, with those who have experienced a major life event in the past year twice as likely to consider switching (22% compared to 9%).

Its research in Q1 2022 also revealed that 33% of 2,000 customers polled claimed to be very loyal to their existing current account provider, but nearly one in five (18%) feel that the cost-of-living crisis will push them into additional overdraft facilities.

David Piper, head of service lines at Pay.UK, owner and operator of the CASS, said: “We have seen positive levels of engagement and satisfaction with the Current Account Switch Service at the start of this year, with a higher number of switches taking place compared to this quarter in 2021, when pandemic disruption was more front of mind for many.

“Of course, with cost-of-living rises continuing to put pressure on many households it’s more important than ever that people assess whether their existing current account is best suited to their needs. It may be that an alternative provider could offer something preferable and we would encourage those considering a switch to remember that the Current Account Switch Service is free to use, easy and guaranteed.”