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What’s stopping you switching your current account?


Banks are bending further backwards than ever to try to bring in new current account customers, but switching apathy is growing stronger. So, what’s preventing you from making the change?

Only 57,779 customers used the Current Account Switch Service in September, which is an all-time low.

That’s despite a number of banks offering three-figure switching incentives, and a nationwide advertising campaign explaining how simple the process is.

Previous Which? research suggests lots of people aren’t satisfied with their current account, but the difference between the best and worst accounts is eye-catching.

Bank switching incentives

Both Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank are attempting to lure new customers with £250 – the biggest switching incentive on the market.

That could pay for a significant chunk of your Christmas celebrations, but previous incentives of up to £200 haven’t stopped switching figures dropping. So how big does the incentive need to be before you consider making the move?

How much would a bank need to offer as an incentive to persuade you to switch?

I'd do it for £1,000 (41%, 484 Votes)

£250 seems more than generous (30%, 355 Votes)

No incentive would persuade me to switch (22%, 263 Votes)

I don't need an incentive - I'm switching regardless (7%, 89 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,191

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Our guide on switching your bank account lists the best incentives on the market.

How to beat inflation with current accounts

Current accounts have been offering interest rates that beat traditional savings accounts or cash Isas for some time.

You can earn up to 5% AER on in-credit balances, while many accounts offer cashback on spending.

Earlier this month, we reported on current accounts that offer retail discounts, too – there are plenty of rewards available for those who choose a great account.

So, what’s stopping you from switching banks? Are you worried it’s too complicated? Do you think it makes no difference who you bank with? Or are you already delighted with your current account? What incentives, besides cash, would persuade you to swap?


I’ve switched banks but the problem is that many companies still ignore the direct debit change notifications. They then claim that it’s down to the account holder to make the switch and that they “don’t recognise” this service. Mainly mobile phone companies that act badly with this

I deal with several banks. As a personal customer I use Nationwide and First Direct andf have a Co-op credit card. I have had a Co-op business account.
If you like phone banking First Direct are the specialists and a particular advantage lies with them if you want banking for the elderly or people who don’t use computers. Try to overlook the fact that they are owned by the rather nasty HSBC.
Nationwide does everything better than everyone else except they don’t offer business accounts or ones suitable for not-for-profits.
I am a Treasurer/Membership Secretary for two not-for-profit organisations that use Barclays and Unity Trust. Unity Trust, whom you have probably never heard of, are a bit like the Co-op – well-meaning but not very efficient. Barclays. What do we say about Barclays? They are much better than four years ago and they are trying. Their website is much improved. They even have some branches that might not be too far away.
And yes, I have banked with NatWest (utterly infuriating) and have heard too many nightmare stories about Santander to bother with them.
Get the picture? And Which? wonders why people don’t switch accounts? Simple, really. If you want to ruin your day, spend it dealing with a bank. Unless you are just the right kind of customer, i.e. you earn and spend money like water, few will really want your business or offer what you want, as opposed to what they want to give you.

Brian says:
7 November 2017

Opened my first bank a/c in 1972, still with them. Why change if you have no problems. £1000 would not make me change and I am living on a small pension, £5000, now that is worth thinking about.

It really is so easy to set up a new bank account and a couple of direct debits (£1 each), and then switch that account to another bank paying a switch bonus. Repeat this for all banks paying a bonus. The plus is that most banks have regular saver accounts paying up to 5% interest, better than most saving accounts.
For accounts requiring a monthly deposit, just shuffle the same sum around the banks during the month.
After getting the bonus, minimise or close accounts as you wish.
I respect the views of those who can’t be bothered. To me it’s a tablet game when nothing’s on TV.
They make the rules, you play, they pay.

Word Legs says:
7 November 2017

Doesn’t it affect your credit rating if you keep switching?

Credit ratings have now got too important for many people and companies The ease of getting credit is responsible for this When credit was hard to get these credit rating firms were seldom heard of now they run everyone lives it seems Did they exist years ago??

This comment was removed at the request of the user

I thought thy existed but I had never heard of them or had to make use of them in years past now they control all our lives or so it seems

Many years ago, when the only office equipment was a telephone, typewriter and fax machine, I temped for a company that arranged finance for vehicles. I had to phone another company and ask for a ‘search, voters and written confirmation’ for the applicant. I then had to wait for a fax that could show all sorts of info.

‘Voters’ confirmed the applicant lived at the given address. All previous loans and HP was listed and whether the applicant had defaulted on any previous loan. All loans at the given address was also listed and I can’t remember the details now, but if the applicant had moved, they seemed to know about it.

I think harvesting personal data has gone on for a very long time. Innocent activities like enrolling children in the local newspaper’s juniors’ club brought forth offers and promotions. Sending off the jam jar labels for a golly badge provided useful information. In those days it was probably all on card index and fairly unmanageable, and the level of access was fairly well restricted to just the staff in the office. As Duncan says, computers have changed everything. Data can be hacked and then it can be mined and sold. Sometimes the data-keepers themselves are responsible for its dissemination – do they always diligently and conscientiously honour the preferences customers state for use of their personal information? I am sure the tick boxes to disallow it are conveniently ignored and they are frequently cast in a double negatives to make it confusing for people.

My policy has always been to give the bare minimum of information necessary to transact the business in question. I don’t need to give my age to buy something on line or even to give my telephone number so I don’t. I can’t prove this is why – touch wood – we are rarely pestered or entrapped but it might have something to do with it.

With respect to this particular Conversation, a number of large-scale money losses have occurred during house purchases when the final balance payment has had to be transferred to the solicitor or conveyancer and the seller has received a mysterious intervention requesting redirection the money to a different account. In the first place I don’t think such big-money transfers should be encouraged – or even permitted – until there is far more security in the process, and secondly I do not know why there is not more follow-up of these crimes as I am convinced there must be some inside work at the firm enabling such action to take place. Any legal firm with inadequate security protection for their clients’ data and casework should automatically be held liable for any consequences of a data breach.