Bank breaches 'not critical' for UK customers

Less than a quarter of customers would switch banks even if it had suffered a breach, according to new research.

The Semafone survey, which polled more than 2,000 UK consumers about which factors would most likely cause them to change banks, showed that only 24 per cent of people would switch following a hack, despite an 88 per cent rise in security breaches from 2015.

The major reason cited for switching bank accounts was excessive fees. Some64.8 per cent of UK consumers said that they are either likely or very likely to change their bank due to excessive bank fees.

Following this, poor customer service (58.4 per cent either likely or very likely), lack of additional services such as online banking (56.2 per cent), moving abroad (56.1 per cent) and if the bank suffered a data breach (48.8 per cent), were the next major factors leading to bank switching according to the research.

The CMA recently stated: “At the moment only 3 per cent of personal and 4 per cent of business customers switch to a different bank in any year. This is despite, for example, personal customers in Great Britain being able to save £92 on average per year by switching provider, with savings of around £80 a year on average available for small businesses.”

Tim Critchley, CEO at Semafone, added: "Our research shows that consumers are worryingly unconcerned about their bank suffering a data breach. Perhaps this is because the publicity around data breaches has reached saturation point, thanks to the growing number regularly hitting news headlines and people are starting to get blasé about the issue.

"A more likely explanation in my view, is that consumers expect banks and financial institutions to be responsible for their data security and that they do actually trust that their banks will look after their data properly. They believe that it is safe to leave it in the hands of the professionals.

"Banks need to be wary of this apparent consumer complacency towards data security. If customers aren't taking steps to protect their own data, then an even greater burden lies with the financial services organisations that are handling the data."

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