More than half of adults in Great Britain are now aware of the new rules compelling banks to enable customers to switch their accounts in seven days, according to research by TNS.

2nd November 2013

Although the new SWITCH initiative has not yet resulted in a large increase in switching, those who have switched in the past month are more likely to be aware of it – 68% versus 52% in the overall population. Click to download infographic; scroll down for press release.


“We are not surprised by this as our previous research showed that the new rules in themselves were unlikely to cause a change in behaviour,” said Maureen Duffy, CEO of TNS UK.

“There must be a reason to switch – and the primary trigger remains poor service – and a reason to believe that the ‘new’ bank will offer something better. Awareness of the new rules now gives bank customers the assurance that switching is quick and easy, and that the banks will be held accountable for any mistakes."

“With that assurance, it seems likely that more people who encounter bad service from their banks, or are unhappy with the deal they are getting, will be more inclined to up sticks and leave, rather than stay on and grumble.”

The latest wave of TNS’ Switching Monitor suggests that a third of those who are switching have held their accounts for less than six years - an increase on the 23% of those who switched in August and the 29% who switched in September. They are also more likely to be male and from the ABC1 social groups who are motivated by higher interest on credit balances and ‘rewards’.

There is continuing churn with no absolute winners or losers although the traditional banks are under the greatest pressure. 

Bad service continues to be the main motivation for switching away from a bank (23% of switchers). But there is greater diversity in consumers’ selection criteria for their ‘new’ bank.  Logistical considerations such as branch location and opening hours tend to be common factors, while two other factors, reputation and financial incentives (special offers, interest rates and rewards), tend to be much more differentiating.

Reputation is an important consideration for those choosing First Direct or the Co-operative bank while financial incentives are strong motivators in the choice of Santander, Nationwide and First Direct.

It is too soon to tell whether either of these factors will be more significant in the long term and whether the recent changes in the ownership structure of the Co-operative Bank will change the picture.


Notes to editors:
TNS Current Account Switching Index is a UK study conducted by TNS Omnibus, interviewing 8,303 banking customers, between 20th September and 15th October 2013. For further information please contact

About TNS
TNS 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 for more information.

About Kantar
Kantar is the data investment management division of WPP and one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy groups. By connecting the diverse talents of its 13 specialist companies, the group aims to become the pre-eminent provider of compelling and inspirational insights for the global business community. Its 28,500 employees work across 100 countries and across the whole spectrum of research and consultancy disciplines, enabling the group to offer clients business insights at every point of the consumer cycle. The group’s services are employed by over half of the Fortune Top 500 companies. For further information, please visit us at