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Reluctance to switch bank account revealed

Reluctance to switch bank account revealed

Category: Banking

Updated: 14/12/2012
First Published: 19/01/2012

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

The reluctance of people to switch bank account providers has been illustrated in new research showing the average person in the UK has had their main bank account for more than 20 years.

According to Halifax, one in ten adults still use the account that they opened between the ages of one and 15 years old as their main account today, while over a quarter of people have held their main current account for more than 26 years.

Many of those questioned admitted to choosing their provider for reasons that may no longer be relevant to their circumstances, with their parents' banking choice being one influential factor.

More than one in ten people (11%) chose their account on the strength of the offering when they were a student.

For almost a quarter, however, the location of a branch, and its proximity to their home, was a determining factor in opening their account.

When asked in what circumstances they would consider leaving their existing bank, the rate on offer was generally deemed to be more important than service.

While only 20% would move their account somewhere else in order to get better service, more than 37% said they would switch for a better level of interest on their current account.

Interestingly, nearly a third of customers (30%) responded by saying that nothing could encourage them to switch providers.

"We understand why some people are reluctant to change current accounts, but moving to the right account really could make them better off," said Anthony Warrington, director of Halifax current accounts.

"If someone's with the bank that they chose at 11 years old or simply because it was the closest branch to where they lived at the time, the likelihood is that there is an account that is more suitable for them now.

"It's an important decision, and it doesn't have to be hard work."

The survey comes in the same week that revealed a battle between the major banks and building societies over current account customers appears to have broken out.

According to the research, a growing number of incentives are being offered by providers in an attempt to persuade people to switch their current account.

The introduction of 'switcher incentives' appears to have intensified in the last few weeks, with high street providers including Halifax, HSBC and Santander all making a play for new customers.

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