HomeFinanceSwitching current account: Halifax and Starling winning the battle

Switching current account: Halifax and Starling winning the battle



The number of people of switching current accounts between July and September using the official service rose by almost 30,000 on the previous three months, data shows.

The 212,600 switches recorded represents a rise of 56 per cent compared to the same period last year, showing that bank switching is returning to pre-pandemic levels, driven by a fresh batch of incentives.

Halifax enjoyed the highest influx of switchers, gaining 16,684 more than it lost during April and June –  individual bank data lags three months behind the overall statistics.

Halifax enjoyed the highest net gains between April and June this year, followed by Starling Bank and Virgin Money.

Halifax enjoyed the highest net gains between April and June this year, followed by Starling Bank and Virgin Money.

It is thought that its £100 cash incentive back in April might be largely responsible for the gains.

HSBC was the big loser during the second three months of the year suffering net customer losses of 16,565.

Santander and TSB also suffered heavy losses, down 11,176 and 9,491 respectively with both banks having refrained from switching offers during those months.

However, HSBC’s losses are slightly more surprising given that in April it was offering £125 in cash plus a £20 Uber Eats voucher to switchers, suggesting its switching incentives did not have the desired impact.

HSBC’s current switching incentive ends this Sunday – it is offering joiners £110 plus a £30 Uber Eats voucher to join its HSBC Advance account.

One obstacle which may be putting people off may be HSBC’s requirement for switchers to pay in at least £1,750 each month or £10,500 every six months to be eligible.

Current account switching winners
Provider Gains Losses  Net Gains 
Halifax 25,847 9,163  16,684 
Starling Bank  15,185  1,465  13,720 
Virgin Money  12,309  5,394  6,915 
Monzo Bank 8,759  3,052  5,707 
Lloyds Bank  13,483  9,608  3,875 

Meanwhile Starling Bank continues to bolster its customer base, securing switcher net gains of almost 14,000 over the past three months, without having to offer cash incentives or bank branches.

Starling Bank has remained the most consistent performer having raked in more than 10,000 customers every three months since the start of last year.

But other challenger banks including Monzo and Triodos Bank have also been making gains – neither of which offer switching incentives.

Andrew Hagger, the founder and director of MoneyComms said: ‘Halifax had a £100 switching offer in April which is probably why its figures perked up for that quarter – maybe a flash in the pan and there’s every chance that without it, it could turn net negative again next quarter.

‘Santander didn’t have any incentive in place at the time – that’s probably part of the reason it introduced a £130 switching incentive at the beginning of September. 

‘It’s interesting that the big banks have to keep dipping in and out of switching bribe mode whereas new players Starling and Monzo consistently perform well in the switching stakes without having to resort to cash handouts.’

Current account switching losers
Provider Gains Losses  Net Gains 
HSBC 50,192 66,756  -16,564 
Santander  7,970  19,146  -11,176 
TSB  3,278  12,769  -9,491 
NatWest  6,645  14,096  -7,451 
RBS  1,602  7,790  -6,188 

As has been the case for the past year, non-financial reasons, were the most cited reasons for favouring a new current account.

Online and mobile banking offerings and better customer service were reported as the most common reasons why customers would switch bank accounts, rather than upfront welcome bonuses.

This is perhaps why relative newcomers such as Starling Bank continue to steal customers away from the more established banks.

One such newcomer also worth mentioning is Triodos Bank, which has stood out over recent years for its customer retention – often achieving the highest ratio of any bank for customers opening current accounts with it compared to those switching away.

Triodos, enjoyed a net gain of 1,209 having only lost 81 customers over the course of three months – lower than any other competitor – suggesting that customers are not only joining the bank, but staying.

This is perhaps all the more surprising when you consider that Triodos’ current account customers pay a £3 monthly fee.

Triodos’s USP is its ethical and sustainable stance – giving switchers the ability to align their bank with their own values.

It claims to only lend on projects that make a ‘positive impact’ for people and the planet and publishes details about these organisations on its website so its customers can see where their money is going. 

Bevis Watts, chief executive of Triodos Bank UK, said: ‘The figures released today is again testament to our focus on good customer service and building a community of customers looking for alignment with their environmental and social values.’

Triodos Bank is based in Bristol. It says it's on a mission to ensure its customers money is used as a force for good through its savings accounts, current accounts and investments.

Triodos Bank is based in Bristol. It says it’s on a mission to ensure its customers money is used as a force for good through its savings accounts, current accounts and investments.

But, whilst some will be attracted by the non financial incentives offered by the challenger banks, many switchers will still be seduced by cold hard cash.

There are now six current accounts offering £100-plus for switching – albeit with HSBC pulling its offer this Sunday.

NatWest became the latest bank to do so, offering £100 to new and existing customers who switch with an additional £50 injection for those who stay for a further nine months.

It follows First Direct, Santander, HSBC, RBS and Nationwide, which are all also offering cash incentives of £100 or more.

But a number of banks are also offering some form of interest rates on balances, free overdraft limits, cashback, saving perks and other niche lifestyle benefits are all factors that could make switching worthwhile.

Since the service launched in 2013, the CASS has facilitated 7.6million account switches and successfully redirected more than 113.4million payments.

Of those who completed a switch using the CASS, 73 per cent say they prefer their new current account, with only 2 per cent stating that their new account was worse.

For customers fed up with poor service or a lack of perks at their existing bank – switching can be a great option.

But finding a current account that works best for you, may mean looking past headline grabbing cash incentives.

To help you decide, check out This is Money’s review of the best current account offerings available right now.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.




LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Must Read

spot_img