Latest figures show that current account customers are switching in their droves, which means providers have to work harder than ever to keep their loyal client base. But just how many people are switching, and what can you get from taking the plunge? We take a look.
The Bacs figures show that more than 5.1m switches have taken place since the launch of the Current Account Switch Service in September 2013, highlighting the proactivity among many consumers. Not only that, but switching levels in the last year are up 5% on the previous 12 months, so it seems that banking customers are increasingly compelled to vote with their feet if they're unhappy with the service from their bank or building society.
Given how easy it is to switch – banks are required to complete the process within seven working days or less – it's little wonder, and it's even less surprising when you consider the switching incentives on offer these days.
Find out how to switch current accounts
Switching incentives – rewarding new customers
Given the growth in customer switching, it's unsurprising that many banks and building societies are offering additional perks in an attempt to snap up business from their rivals. Here's a quick overview of some of the top incentives on offer right now:
· HSBC. The Advance Bank Account gives those customers new to HSBC a whopping £150 if they switch to the Advance Bank Account through the Current Account Switch Service (CASS), and another £50 for those who stay for 12 months.
· M&S Bank. M&S Bank is offering switching customers a £125 M&S gift card, which will be topped up by £5 each month for the first year, provided at least £1,250 is paid in each month and direct debits remain active.
· Barclays Bank. Barclays Blue Rewards is an add-on to Barclays' current accounts that allow customers to earn cashback on everything from shopping and home insurance to simply having the account – and those who switch by 14 November can double the rewards available, with it possible to earn up to £360 in the first year.
· first direct. Rather than offering upfront cash, first direct is offering customers who switch the chance to claim a fantastic free gift, including an Amazon Echo Spot, Bose headphones, a Fitbit or a £150 Expedia voucher.
· Halifax. Halifax's Reward Account offers a £75 incentive for customers who switch to them using the Current Account Switch Service and close their old account.
· NatWest/RBS. Those who switch to NatWest or RBS can get £125, provided they switch before 3 December, close their former account, pay in at least £1,500 and log in to online or mobile banking by 7 January.
· Nationwide. This one isn't a direct switching incentive as such, but it's worth mentioning nonetheless – those who have a Nationwide account (such as the FlexDirect account, which offers 5% in-credit interest too) are eligible for the Recommend a Friend scheme, which means those who recommend someone to Nationwide will receive £100, and so will the friend! They can recommend up to five friends per year, potentially resulting in a £500 boost.
So, what are you waiting for? Switching current account can be highly lucrative, and if you're not happy with your current provider, it's definitely worth seeing what else is out there. Check out our current account Best Buys to get started.
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.