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Bank account switching: Incumbents dominate as neobanks toppled from top spot

Monzo and Starling didn't feature in the most switched to banks' top five for the first time in a number of years.

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Pexels/Sora Shimazaki:

The  Current Account Switch Service saw a 50 per cent jump in the number of people moving bank accounts in the twelve months to 30 June 2023.

Despite the leap, which brought the total number of switches to nearly 1.3 million, there was a noticeable absence in the five most switched-to banks. 

All of the top five were incumbent banks with no challengers making the cut for the first time since at least 2019.

End user switching data, which is three months in arrears, shows NatWest topped the list for the highest net switching gains between January and March 2023, followed by HSBC, Lloyds Bank, RBS and Santander.

Monzo and Starling, the two largest digital challenger banks in the UK with full banking licenses, have always featured in the quarterly top five list. They have both topped the list too on a number of occasions. 

The two banks have still continued to grow rapidly in terms of customer numbers in 2023 and consumers appetite for incumbents could have multiple causes.

The current account switching service (CASS) has now been operational for nearly 10 years and facilitated 9.5 million switches.

Monzo and Starling have typically avoided the financial incentives typical of incumbent banks which can net switchers up to £200 but have still proved popular.

A survey for those switching in Q2 of 2023 - which is the subsequent period to that covered by the data of the most switched-to banks which is three months in arrears - found that 7 in 10 (71 per cent) switchers preferred their new current account to their previous one, with service-related, non-financial benefits for the most cited reason.

Four in 10 (41 per cent) better online or mobile app banking and customer service (29 per cent) as the top two reasons for preferring their new account. 

Financial factors also ranked highly too, with interest earned (29 per cent) and account fees or charges (25 per cent) coming in as the third and fourth most important factors.

“This quarter’s switching figures demonstrate a healthy and competitive switching environment for consumers and businesses during a time of economic uncertainty with high inflationary pressures,” said John Dentry, Product Owner at Pay.UK, owner and  operator of the Current Account Switch Service.

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