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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?


Switched once before now I am happy with bank I switched to so why should again ? the incentives do not tempt me I could end up with a worse bank Something for nothing syndrome runs some peoples lives

I last switched in 1989 when First Direct started up. I have been very happy there so why would I want to switch?

Now, if FD would like to give loyalty bonuses to their long-standing customers……………. 🤑🤑🤑


It took me thirty years to learn my current current account number.

I switched to Lloyds in 1978 because they had more cash dispensers than Barclays! Have had no problems with them, and see no point in switching – especially as their platinum account includes world wide travel insurance which is much cheaper than I can get for me and my wife elsewhere.

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I’m quite satisfied with my current account. I would consider switching, or opening another account, if long-term incentives were offered and the bank were known for reliability and good service, and had a local branch. But if someone offers me £250, I wonder why, and who is going to pay for it; possibly I will long term.

@ldeitz Hi Lauren,

I have just checked customer satisfaction for banking:

First Direct gets 3 out of 5 for Service in branch.

First Direct does not have any branches so is misleading and probably brings down their Customer Score.

It is not obvious whether n/a stands for not applicable or (info) not available. As Dealing with queries and complaints has a lot of n/a, it suggests (info) not available.

The questionnaire people are asked to fill in also needs to be able to reflect this.

Hi @alfa, sorry for not getting back to you sooner – it’s been a busy week!

I’ve had a chat with the lead researcher on this and First Direct is an odd one as technically it’s part of HSBC and therefore customers can use HSBC branches. However, they have taken your point and have raised this with the survey team for consideration when carrying out the next batch of research.

Which? style is to use n/a for not applicable in tables, in our surveys we need at least 30 responses for a rating to be given.

Hi @ldeitz,

Thanks for following this up. AFAIK, we cannot discuss our First Direct accounts with HSBC.

We can use their facilities for paying in cheques, free use of cash machines and arrange to withdraw money but I think that is about it, at least that is all I have done with HSBC in 28 years.

It would be very helpful when displaying surveys to state the number of people figures are based on.

Just out of interest, cheques is highlighted as an incorrect spelling. A right-click suggests I change it to quenches, squelches or quiches !!! 🙂

It was a sample of 5,041 people – it does have it in the article but I can let Chiara know that it might need to be clearer 🙂

The associated article does say “Customer scores are based on a survey of an online panel of respondents from the general public who were invited to take part in the bank account customer satisfaction survey during March 2017. The final sample size was 5,041..

As Which? has more than 30 000 Connect Members whom they regularly poll on some matters. and who are members of the general public, were these the ones surveyed, or did they use a commercial polling organisation? We have seen instances in the past of Populus being used, which say “We are the online community that allows you to earn £s in return for your time completing surveys. As a member you will be financially rewarded for participating ….”I’d prefer to see people respond to a survey because they want to contribute, not because they will be paid to say something (that may not be heartfelt).

Hi @ldeitz,

I would like to see how the 5041 people are spread in the table with a column in the actual table stating the number of people each score is based on to give the scores more meaning. A recent example is where Zen ISP scored highly but was probably only based on a small number of people.

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I have been with the same bank for nearly 50 years and on the very rare occasion that there is been a problem it has been dealt with very promptly. I know people who do have hassles with their bank, so I am not planning to switch any time soon.

Banks, like many institutions, are like the proverbial broom you’ve had for 30 years – it has only had 4 new handles and 5 new heads. Organisations are not what they were 50 years ago; they change for the better or worse, or stay similar. We need to assess them as they are behaving today and, if they do change for the worse, be prepared to move. But if they do what we want, and please us, why change?

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When I was at university I got bank accounts with Lloyd’s Bank and HSBC Bank. One gave me £40 and the other one gave me £30. I read that First Direct was offering 8% interest for its regular saver so I got rid of my Lloyd’s Bank Account. For one year I had the 8% and then the next 6% interest regular saver. I got rid of my HSBC Bank Account and got an account with Halifax Bank for the monthly reward. Now I have a regular saver with Nationwide the place I had my mortgage.

I have had numerous problems with Nationwide, despite it being a Recommended Provider. But I will not switch until I am 100% certain that the new provider will transfer my overdraft facility that I have earned with Nationwide; the organisations I have approached are very coy on this point, and are reluctant to commit themselves.

George says:
3 November 2017

Personally I dont switch because I soon to take a morgage and dont want it to affect my credit score and affordabillity.

We use Handelsbanken – their service is second to none and totally personal – no call centres just people who care – worth every penny but not expensive

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Don’t assume that everyone is going to use your current account switch service! I didn’t – but I switched a few months ago!

I’ve been with NatWest since 1968 (when it was the National Provincial Bank). I appreciate that the current incarnation is not the organisation I signed up with, but in all that time I have moved branch several times, taken personal loans, run overdrafts and had multiple direct debits and standing orders. I do not recall a single error and they have always complied with my requests. I have no reason to switch from a bank that has supported me all my adult life and yet I have heard many horror stories about others’ experiences with NatWest. It seems to me that if a relationship works for you, why would you want to end it?

The financial incentives usually have a sting in its tail like 5% on everything you spend from your current account “except for X,Y, & Z (in small print) or 5% up to so much then it drops to 3% then 1% (also in small print). or free travel insurance except if you are over 50.
A simple straightforward benefit with no ifs and buts would help encourage me to change my bank account.

The question is, why would a bank want to give you a cash benefit to change to them, if they were not going to make money out of you in some way? Nothing (well, rarely) is free.

Banks have offered incentives to students for years. I presume it still happens. Railcards were popular but some of the offers were more generous.

Helping people financially at the outset of their adult lives makes sense commercially but an incentive for switching where there is no likelihood of additional profitable business would be anathema to a banker.

Fiona says:
4 November 2017

Describing a situation in which there is little to no choice for people in whom to bank with locally as apathy is insulting to all those involved. The ability to switch banks is only meaningful when all the banks have branches in every town. With the level of branch closures, some towns are left with a single branch of a single bank, if any. At the rate other banks’ branches are closing in my area, it is impossible to know which other bank to switch to since it is so uncertain which will still have a branch in a year’s time.
I recently spoke with a woman whose branch was closed, so she changed to another bank, then she was forced into a new bank again when one of the majors (Lloyds?) split up its personal banking. She’s sick of moving banks. Another woman joined the conversation and told us of her work as a care assistant in a care home, in which she had to assist her elderly charges to the bank branch for them to withdraw their money, a task that now takes the form of an hours long expedition by mini-bus from the care home to another town.

This might help – banks with the greatest number of branches (top 4 are Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and Santander). It does not mention the Post Office where basic bank facilities are provided for those with personal accounts elsewhere – 11500 branches.

Gordon says:
4 November 2017

It is really depressing that ‘so called’ competition means that people who are basically happy with the service they get are actually penalised for their loyalty/apathy. As with many previous responders I am happy with my long term provider (Nationwide in my case – good mortgage, good service & 20+ years of “doing the job”). However my solution, albeit a real hassle, is to have a second current account fulfilling the minimum basic qualifications ( 2 DD’s & £500/month) which I can change every 12 months to the best current deal while leaving my main account where it is. Unfortunately this just further penalises the people who do not switch who are paying for the rest of us.