Account switches down by 180,000 amid COVID-19

More than 180,000 fewer account switches occurred in the second quarter of this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, new data from the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) has revealed.

The figures show that 98,192 switches took place in the three months to July, down 182,328 on the first quarter of 2020.

Those that did make the jump to other account providers in the second quarter favoured new accounts with improved customer service and online banking facilities to help them adapt to branch closures and social distancing, rather than the largely financial reasons including better rates and lower charges that would normally incentivise a switch.

The most commonly cited reasons for favouring a new account were improved online banking facilities (43 per cent), better customer service (38 per cent) and preferable mobile banking systems (36 per cent).

By contrast, better interest rates (28 per cent), preferable account fees or charges (23 per cent) and cashback on spending (17 per cent) were classed as lesser reasons for being satisfied with a new current account.

When comparing switching volumes between April to June 2020 and the previous quarter, a fall of 65 per cent took place.

The new switches - which totalled nearly 100,000 - mean that more than 6.7 million accounts have been switched since the CASS launched in 2013, with more than 98.1 million payments successfully redirected by the service.

Matthew Hunt, chief operating officer of Pay.UK, owner and operator of CASS, said: “The past few months have seen highly significant changes for consumers and businesses.

"Switching numbers overall have been far lower this quarter, but CASS has continued to provide a dependable, much-needed service to almost 100,000 people who have switched.”

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