Do you love your bank more than your partner? You might say no, but it’s likely that you’ll be together with your bank for longer than your loved-one. Maybe it’s time to switch…
According to a new survey by banking behemoth Santander, Britons stay with their bank longer than their partner. It says the average UK citizen has had their current account for around 16.5 years.
By contrast, the average Brit’s longest relationship has lasted 14.1 years. And while more than half of all adults in the UK have kept the same current account for more than a decade, amazingly one in five has stayed loyal for more than 30 years.
This research made me chuckle. Not because it’s depressingly true, but because Santander has the gall to publish the survey in the first place.
Low satisfaction with Santander
Its own appalling customer satisfaction rating of just 47% on its current account should indeed make people switch – away from Santander. Second only to Bank of Scotland’s poor 45% for customer satisfaction, Santander’s score is embarrassing compared with the impressive 88% scored by both First Direct and the One Account.
So why aren’t we switching in droves? All too often, we only ditch our bank when something goes disastrously wrong. I know from experience.
When NatWest royally messed up my change of address and failed to reply to my letters of complaint, I took the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service (and won). I then switched to another bank – my final letter to NatWest spelled out the reasons for my exit.
Good reasons to switch
But there are other good reasons for switching too: better day-to-day customer service, higher interest rates on credit balances, lower overdraft rates and penalty charges, easier accessibility, the list goes on…
Or maybe the question should be ‘Why do you stay with your bank?’. I’m sticking with my new current account provider, First Direct, because they offer fantastic customer service. In fact, I’ve even dropped them a line in the past to praise a member of staff who went beyond the call of duty. If First Direct goes downhill though, I’ll be off.
Banks and building societies want my cash. In return, I want excellent service and good-value products.
But it’s up to us to tell them where they’re falling down. And if they don’t improve, we should stick to our guns and vote with our feet by taking your custom elsewhere. It’s that or be stuck in a loveless banking relationship.