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Starling Bank big winner in current account switching

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

There was a large increase in the number of Brits switching their current account provider in Q2 2021, but only seven banks made net gains in the quarter.

Starling Bank, Triodos, Virgin Money, Monzo, Bank of Scotland, Nationwide and Lloyds all reported more people opening current accounts than closing them, according to figures from the Current Account Switch Service (CASS).

Between April and June 2021 182,745 switches took place, an increase of 44,769 on the previous quarter. Over the course of the past year, from June 2020 to June 2021, a total of 646,569 switches were processed by the service.

Across the CASS’s 50 participants, Starling Bank had the largest net switching gain in Q1 2021 (participant data is collected three months in arrears) with a net increase of 17,769 accounts. This was followed by Virgin Money (17,495), Monzo (7,744), Nationwide (1,474) and Bank of Scotland (1,448). Triodos had the lowest number (77) of customer losses of any UK bank in Q1 2021.

In contrast, NatWest and Santander both saw net losses of more than 10,000 customers.

Anne Boden, CEO of Starling, said: “Starling is once again the most popular bank for switches, despite offering no signing-on bonuses. Customers are attracted to the value Starling brings through its banking app, which allows them to track spending in real-time and do their banking on the go, and our better customer service. In a few short years, we’ve become a trusted mainstream bank.”

The latest data shows that the most commonly cited reasons for choosing a new current account remain ‘non-financial’, as has been the case throughout the pandemic.

In the second quarter of 2021, consumers favoured better online banking facilities (47%), stronger customer service (39%), ease of mobile or app-based banking systems (39%), and location of branches (25%) in their new current account.

Of those who completed a switch using the Current Account Switch Service, 70% said they preferred their new current account, with only 2% stating that their new account was worse.

David Piper, head of service lines at Pay.UK, owner and operator of the Current Account Switch Service, said: “As the roadmap to the Covid-19 recovery was outlined and clarity around timings increased, we saw a rise in current account switches through the Current Account Switch Service through Q2.

“It’s too early to tell whether this trend will continue as we head further into 2021, but as a service we remain focused on ensuring those who wish to move their current account can do so in a reliable, simple and stress-free manner. I am continually proud of our team in their ability to maintain a high completion rate and strong satisfaction and awareness figures that sit above the target levels.”

Gareth Griffiths, head of retail banking at Triodos Bank UK, said: “It’s great to see banks that challenge the status quo leading on customer gains versus those lost. At Triodos, we continue to grow steadily, and these figures show that we are a top pick for sustainable current accounts. Once again, we have the lowest numbers of customers leaving of any major bank, just as we did every single quarter last year, testament to our focus on good customer service and building our community.