Bank account switching plummets 30% in pandemic squeeze

By Daniel Lanyon on Wednesday 31 March 2021

Digital Banking

Over 700,000 switches took place through the Current Account Switching Service in 2020, taking the total number of switches to above 7 million since the launch of the service in 2013, but the pandemic year saw the first big fall in uptake of switching.

Bank account switching plummets 30% in pandemic squeeze
Image source: Jo Kenrick/CASS

Taking a renewed look at personal finances was a big trend last year with millions of new customers adopting fintech apps throughout the pandemic.  Unfortunately, according to data from the Current Account Switching Service (CASS), there was also a 30 per cent fall in people changing their bank accounts. 

The total number of current accounts switched in 2020 was 704,560, compared to just over 1 million in 2019.  

The dip in total switching represents a change in consumer behaviour attributable to the pandemic, CASS claims. In the early weeks of the pandemic, data suggests that consumers were more reluctant to switch. 

Jo Kenrick, chair of CASS says who people bank with may not be a priority during the pandemic.  

“As a community, we must recognise the impacts of the pandemic will continue to be felt into the future and we must be prepared for this. Our activity in 2021 will help to ensure we remain mindful of how we deliver our collaborative role as the UK’s switching service for current accounts,” she said.

The fall, CASS said, was also prompted by banks taking a more cautious approach and lowering marketing efforts to potential new customers including some incentives being removed. 

Later on in 2020, the market saw increased switching activity from consumers and the gradual reintroduction of switching incentives into the market from banks. 

In the 4th quarter of 2020 nearly 190,000 switches were completed via CASS, a third more than in the 3rd quarter of the year. In November 2020 alone 80,980 switches occurred, the highest monthly total since March 2020.

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