Banking StandardsLetter from Anthony Browne, Chief Executive, British Bankers’ Association

OFT Review of Personal Current Accounts: Switching

Given your interest in current account switching and account number portability, I thought I should bring to your attention the results of the independent consumer research commissioned by the OFT into personal current accounts, particularly with respect to customers’ views on switching accounts.

We support making account switching easier and increased competition between providers. But it is essential to take account of the evidence on why switching rates are as low as they are when considering the appropriate policies.

The OFT asked consumers who have never moved their current account why they had not done so. The research confirmed that the majority of consumers have not moved their current account because they like their current account/bank, have never wanted to switch, have never thought about it, or perceived no significant benefits in changing provider. Contrary to numerous reports, the overwhelming majority of customers are not deterred from changing banks because of perceived difficulties with switching—only 8% of consumers have not switched because they believe it is too complicated and only 3% have not switched because they perceive that too much could go wrong.

In full, the OFT research found that consumers gave the following reasons for not switching their current account:

I like my current account/bank––58%;

have never wanted to––16%;

never thought about it––10%;

too complicated––8%;

no significant benefits to be gained––7%;

too time consuming––6%;

too much could go wrong––3%;

I would have to rearrange other services––3%; and

too lazy––4%.

The data is contained in table 89/1 in Annex C, on page 328 of the OFT report, and can be found at

Consumers were also asked how familiar they would say they were with the services offered by banks to help customers switch their current account. The research confirmed that 80% of consumers are aware of these services (recorded at table 83/3 on page 311 of Annex C).

I hope this information is of use and am happy to discuss with you further these findings and any other aspects of the OFT report.

28 January 2013

Prepared 19th June 2013