Best and worst banks: HSBC, Nationwide and Monzo the big winners as customers ditch Santander

Latest switching figures reveal the banks most people are switching to – and those that are losing customers by the bucketload.

People appear to be more reluctant to switch banks for either a better service or perks, as the number of switches fell from over a million to 868,572 over the past year, according to new data.

This data doesn’t take into account switches where the customer’s old bank account was left open – as loveMONEY readers know, keeping a second account can be a savvy move – so the real switching total may be higher.

The Current Account Switch Service, an initiative to make it easier to move banks, has blamed lower switching numbers on the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing measures.

A total of 98,192 switches took place in the second quarter of 2020, which is 182,328 fewer than the first quarter.

The Current Account Switch Service now claims to complete 99.5% of switches in seven working days, although for those unlucky few who hit problems it really can be a nightmare.

Not all banks are equal

The really interesting stats can be found when you look at which specific banks and building societies we all recently ditched and joined.

This data is provided by Pay UK, the retail payments authority.

As it takes a while to pull together, the latest stats available are for the first quarter of 2020 (between 1 January and 31 March).

So, while there may be some fallout from coronavirus, which started to escalate in March, there is likely to be a bigger impact on switching numbers in the second quarter of this year.

Best UK banks

HSBC has dethroned Monzo with the highest net switching gains as the number of new customers (74,563) far outweighed those who left the bank (40,569) over the quarter.

In January, HSBC revealed a new switching bonus of up to £175, which may well have attracted a surge of new customers.

Nationwide was once again a strong performer, most likely thanks to its stellar customer service.

Between January and March, the building society added another 43,883 customers, which was higher compared to the 36,558 new customers in the previous quarter.

Over the first three months of 2020, Nationwide lost 20,890 customers, leaving it with net gains of 22,993.

While Monzo missed out on the top two spots over the first quarter of 2020, it was still popular with switchers.

Over 22,000 new customers joined the bank with only 3,047 leaving over the same period, resulting in net gains of 19,049.

Both NatWest and app-based bank Starling did well with switchers as both attracted more customers than the previous quarter.

NatWest experienced a stronger quarter as its net gains rose from 9,233 in the last three months of 2019 to 15,681 between January and March – this figure also considers those who left the bank.

In February, NatWest launched a £175 switching bonus, helping to attract new customers.

Starling gained 15,153 new customers over the quarter, up from 9,247 in the previous quarter (these figures also factor in those customers who left the bank).

Triodos Bank, an ethical provider, is one of the smallest players on the list and it continues to attract new customers with net gains of 489 but this is slightly lower than 539 in the previous quarter.

See the table below for the full list of winners.

Brand

Gains

Losses

Net gains

HSBC

74,563

40,569

33,994

Nationwide

43,883

20,890

22,993

Monzo

22,096

3,047

19,049

NatWest

43,581

27,900

15,681

Starling Bank

16,872

1,719

15,153

Triodos Bank

550

61

489

Ulster Bank

968

813

155

Worst UK banks

Santander had the highest net losses between January and March as over 40,000 customers ditched the bank with only 12,030 switching.

This left Santander with 29,192 fewer customers overall, which may have been due to the bank capping the amount of cashback available and cutting the interest rate on its 123 current account.

It was certainly the reason why one loveMONEY writer decided to ditch the bank.

Halifax also lost more customers than it gained as 31,030 left compared to only 7,841 who signed up, leaving it with net losses of 23,189.

Customers may have been fed up with online and mobile banking issues, which happened in both January and March.

It’s worth flagging that Lloyds and Bank of Scotland also had similar issues and both lost more customers than they gained in the first quarter of 2020.

Unfortunately, these banks aren’t the only big names struggling as a significant number of well-known banks are clustered towards the bottom of the table.

You can check out the full list below.

Brand

Gains

Losses

Net losses

Santander

12,030

41,222

29,192

Halifax

7,841

31,030

23,189

Royal Bank of Scotland

4,047

18,141

14,094

Lloyds Bank

12,049

23,527

11,478

Barclays

8,818

20,136

11,318

TSB

13,119

17,926

4,807

Co-operative Bank

2,769

6,291

3,522

Tesco Bank

116

2,795

2,679

Clydesdale Bank

4,909

7,361

2,452

Low Volume Participants

674

2,471

1,797

Bank of Scotland

3,579

4,347

768

AIB Group (UK)

43

778

735

Bank of Ireland

63

660

597

Danske Bank

292

702

410

The best bank accounts for switching bonuses

What matters to us?

Switching incentives are often seen as a key part of the switching merry-go-round.

For example, we've seen in the past NatWest go from near the top to the bottom of the tables after withdrawing a juicy offer.

Regardless, what unites the banks consistently appearing at the top of switching tables are excellent account features and customer service.

A recent Government-backed survey of bank customer service named Nationwide and first direct in the top five for customer service.

It's worth noting here that while we never believe anyone should stick with a poor-value account or suffer rubbish customer service, it's not always a terrible thing if you don't switch.

It might just be you're happy with your current bank and, while you're always looking around, nothing better has come along yet.

This article is updated when new figures are released

Comments


Be the first to comment

Do you want to comment on this article? You need to be signed in for this feature

Copyright © lovemoney.com All rights reserved.