October 17,  2013

  • 27% of current account holders in the UK use the same provider as one or both of their parents
  • Only 6% of Britons have switched their bank account in the past 2 years – compared to 37% who have switched car insurance provider

Britons’ relationships with their current accounts are long and are developed at a young age according to new research released by the Payments Council, the organisation spearheading the new Current Account Switch Service launching on the 16th September. At an average of 17 years our current account relationships last longer than the average British marriage at 11 years and six months*1.

The My Bank Account & Me report*2, which uses research from a Populus study of 2,055 UK adults found that our parents have a strong and often lasting effect on our choice of bank or building society. More than a quarter of UK current account holders (27%) use the same provider as one or both of their parents. Parental influence is particularly strong for those making their first banking decisions with almost three in five (59%) 18 to 24 year olds banking where their parents do. And even amongst those over 65, whose childhood days are long since passed, over one in ten (12%) have continued the family banking tradition.

Scotland has the strongest family ties, a third (33%) of Scots use the same bank or building society as one or both of their parents. Scots also have the longest relationships with their banks or building societies, currently standing at 19 years on average.

The research reveals that we are also creatures of habit, making our banking decisions at an early age and sticking with them. A fifth (22%) of us are still using the first bank account we ever opened and nearly two thirds of us (64%) only have one current account. The average age of opening the current bank account that respondents currently use is 29 years old – coincidentally the average age a British woman gets married for the first time*3.

This strength of loyalty is most profound amongst the older generation. Nearly a quarter (24%) of over 65’s use a bank account they opened aged 24 or younger – rising to 37% of 55-64 year olds. A sixth of the respondents (16%) are still using their very first bank account!

To switch or not to switch?

Switching bank accounts is not something that we do regularly. Only 6% of us have switched our current account in the past 2 years, rising to 10% for 25-34 year olds, – compared to 37% who have switched car insurance provider. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of us have had our current account more than 5 years, and 55% for over 10 years. (For a full table of Britain’s switching habits please see Notes to Editors4.)

However the research reveals we are not averse to switching; 43% of respondents indicated they would consider it, rising to 49% of 35-44 and 53% of 25-34. And for 70% of people open to switching, better deals are the overwhelming attraction. Reasons against switching however include the perceived hassle (22%) and difficulties expected when changing direct debits (18%).

Commenting on the findings, Adrian Kamellard, Chief Executive at the Payments Council said:

“Current accounts are a crucial part of our day to day financial lives and often form the primary reason for a relationship with any chosen bank or building society. The research shows that, as creatures of habit, the length of our current account relationships tend to be long, although the reason why remains unclear.

“The appetite to switch current accounts however is also clearly present and from the 16th September the new Current Account Switch Service will remove any perceived hassle or concern for those looking for a change.

“With 33 bank and building society brands offering the new service and using the supporting Current Account Switch Guarantee, would-be switchers will be able to change their current account quicker and easier than before – tapping into the incentives that wider competition will inevitably bring.”

Source:Payment Council