LONDON - 18th April - Bank customers are no more likely to switch now than they were before the government-backed Current Account Switch Service was launched in September, new data from TNS UK has shown. But the drift of customers away from the Big Four High Street banks has continued.
The TNS Current Account Switching Index (CASI) has found that the number of those switching is little different now from the immediate pre-Switch period, and that the banks most likely to gain and lose switching customers are the same.
TNS UK surveyed 94,596 between July 2013 and March 2014, covering the quarter before the launch of switch and the two quarters since then.
The main change since Switch was launched is that many fewer people are leaving their old accounts open when they move banks. Before Switch, 54% of switchers left their old account open: in the most recent quarter, this had fallen to 40%.
Satisfaction levels with the switching process and with the switchers’ new banks are virtually identical in the pre-Switch and post-Switch periods.
The main reason for switching away from a bank remains poor service, and the number citing this factor has remained virtually constant at just under a quarter of switchers in all three quarters.
The main reason for choosing a new bank is still reputation - the level has fallen slightly, from 17% in the pre-switch quarter to 14% in both of the recent quarters, but this may be because customers have become accustomed to banking scandals, with few banks are now untainted by allegations of some description.
The number of those citing rewards as a reason for choosing their new bank has risen in the last quarter, and convenient branch location is a more important factor than it was before Switch. A physical branch reassures customers that, if something goes wrong, they can go and talk to someone.
Santander, Halifax and Nationwide were the main gainers through switching in the three quarters surveyed. Santander alone consistently attracts around a fifth of switchers, and has improved its net gain figure over the three quarters. Halifax had a low level of net gains until the latest quarter.
Lloyds TSB (surveyed together for survey consistency), NatWest, Barclays and HSBC have seen the largest numbers of departures among their customers, and all have suffered net losses over the period.
Maureen Duffy of TNS said, “Santander, Halifax and Nationwide are gaining steadily, and Santander appears to be on the way to catching up with the traditional Big Four players in the market.
“This continues the trend away from the Big Four. As their dominance reduces new account openers (Generation Y) will have a wider consideration set. That said we know that there is still a strong tendency for young people to open their first current accounts at their parents’ bank.
Notes to editors:
Nationally representative sample of 94,596 consumers interviewed between July 2013 and March 2014. Interviews conducted face-to-face in-home twice weekly.
Data aggregated into 3 periods:
2013 pre-switch 16,552 respondents - 688 switchers in last 12 months/277 in last 6 months/197 in last 3 months
2013 post switch 33,774 respondents - 1176 switchers in last 12 months/650 in last 6 months/380 in last 3 months
2014 post switch 44,270 respondents - 1,441 switchers in last 12 months / 727 in last 6 months/367 last 3 months
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TNS UK advises clients on specific growth strategies around new market entry, innovation, brand switching and stakeholder management, based on long-established expertise and market-leading solutions. With a presence in over 80 countries, TNS has more conversations with the world's consumers than anyone else and understands individual human behaviours and attitudes across every cultural, economic and political region of the world. TNS is part of Kantar, one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy groups. Please visit www.tnsglobal.com/uk for more information.
TNS UK was awarded the Market Research Society's (MRS) Agency of the Year 2013.
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