Following yesterday's call for providers to do more to encourage customers to switch current accounts, Consumer Intelligence has revealed figures that show the true extent of consumer apathy, with the average customer keeping their account for over 15 years. Is it time to make a change?
The figures show that bank customers have had their current account with the same firm for an average of 15-and-a-half years, with the launch of switching services and improved competition doing little to encourage customers to switch. In fact, two out of five customers said they've never switched – a figure that rises to 42% among customers aged 65+ – while 35% have held their account for 20 years or more.
The most popular reason for staying put appears to be that they're happy with the level of service received, despite fierce public criticism of banks' service levels, with 37% of respondents citing this as their main reason for staying put. However, a further 33% think it'd be too much trouble to move, which suggests that many aren't aware of the seven-day switch service in operation.
Another 20% said they can't see any point in moving as all banks are the same, while 10% are scared to move because of the risk of losing their overdraft limit, but ultimately, this kind of loyalty to one particular bank could be holding many people back from finding products better suited to their needs.
"Keeping a customer for an average of 15-and-a-half years is quite an achievement and highlights that many customers do want to build a relationship with providers," said Ian Hughes, chief executive of Consumer Intelligence. "However, it is clear that substantial numbers are staying put simply because of inertia or because they don't believe there's any point in moving," he added, but according to research, this simply isn't the case.
Figures from the Competition and Markets Authority revealed that the typical current account customer could save an average of £70 per year if they switched banks, while those who regularly use an overdraft could save up to £260 by finding an account with more favourable terms. Is that a good enough reason to consider your options?
You may think you're happy with your current bank, but when was the last time you saw what else was out there? Competition is fierce in the sector at the moment, and that means you could find a great deal. From high interest current accounts that can double up as a savings vehicle to those that offer cashback and other incentives, now's the time to get an idea of what's available, so start the process by checking out the current account best buys to see if you can find a better deal.
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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