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Number of SMEs switching banks using CASS hits 10-year low

SME-focused fintech Allica Bank has launched a new business current account to encourage small businesses to switch

Richard Davies, Allica Bank

Richard Davies/Allica Bank

Over the past 10 years, less than one per cent of SMEs have switched bank account, according to new research from Allica Bank.

The Current Account Switch Service (CASS), has been used four times less by small and medium businesses than it has by personal customers, with just 33,000 UK SMEs using the service.

This puts SME current account switching at its lowest level since the scheme began in 2013.

“I wasn’t surprised to see the stats which show that minimal numbers of SME banking customers have switched their current accounts in the last decade. After all, what motivation has there been for them to do so?” Allica Bank CEO Richard Davies said.

“This is exactly why Allica Bank exists — to offer an alternative to the big banks. SMEs only switch when there’s a strong benefit in doing so.”

Bank switching numbers - SME only

In conjunction with a temporary RBS-funded ‘Incentivised Switching Scheme’, there was a brief uplift in bank switching from February 2019 to June 2021, but since then the number of SMEs switching accounts has dropped significantly.

This is in large part due to a lack of SME-specific services from most incumbents.

Specifically catering to SMEs, Allica became a member of CASS in December 2023 and is launching a new business current account, the ‘Business Rewards Account’, to give established businesses  “compelling reasons” to switch their bank accounts.

“Our Business Rewards Account offers no account fees, cashback on all purchases, and a leading savings rate, so businesses can switch and save permanently,” Davies said. 

“Our mission is to transform banking for established SMEs and we’re determined to drive change in the market — Britain’s SMEs deserve better.” 

By contrast, the number of personal customers changing their bank account through CASS has steadily increased since 2020, and the proportion of personal customers switching is four times higher than SME switching rates.

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