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Why aren’t more people switching current account?

The number of people using the government’s Current Account Switch Service (CASS) is on the up. Be inspired by those switching to the new ethical option from Triodos Bank.

The latest current account switching figures show almost 5 million people have switched, but 2017 saw some of the lowest numbers since the scheme was launched four years ago. Triodos Bank is acquiring switchers who are highly motivated by a sustainable product offering, including a banking app that shows you where your money goes.

BACS – which runs the Current Account Switch Service – have promised to improve the scheme after a review by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that found that a small number of banks still overly dominate the market. Following a high profile advertising campaign, awareness of CASS is said to be as high as 80 per cent, but the review showed that low customer engagement, lack of comparative information and complicated charging structures are ultimately resulting in ineffective competition. That means it is the older and larger banks that do not need to work very hard to gain and keep customers.

However, with only 35 per cent of British consumers believing that banks work in their best interest, some motivated switchers are now focused on the environmental and social impact of their current account provider.

Eilidh Sinclair from Glasgow recently used CASS to switch to the Triodos Current Account

Eilidh Sinclair from Glasgow is a recent switcher to the Triodos Ethical Current Account: “I now know enough about the world that I’m willing to go the extra mile as long as the result is a better outcome for the environment or society. I’ve been looking for a bank that reflects these values for a long time, and when I heard about the new Triodos current account I jumped at it. Now every time I use my debit card I am reminded of how money can have a positive impact.

“The current account switch service was incredibly easy. I think many people just stick with the bank account they’ve had since they were a kid. Once you start to think about what your bank is doing with your money it makes you question things a bit more and I think it will motivate more people to switch.”

Research released earlier this year by Triodos Bank found that more than half (56%) would also switch if they found their money was being lent in areas which negatively affect people or the environment. Meanwhile, 72% think banks need to be more transparent when it comes to disclosing where savings are lent.


switching current account

The Triodos app allows you to see exactly where your money is being invested

The award-winning Triodos current account became available in 2017 and is part of the CASS scheme, making it easier to switch with all direct debits, standing orders and payments in and out automatically transferred. In a direct challenge to the myth of ‘free banking’, the account has a £3 per month charge to cover the cost of the service. Whilst arranged overdrafts are available, Triodos will not allow unarranged overdrafts, thus removing the risk of high penalty fees.

“The current account market is dominated by a small number of large banks and the latest low switching figures are proof that people aren’t motivated by small differences in traditional product offerings. The response we’ve had to our new current account so far indicates that people are motivated to switch banks—they just needed a bank to reflect their values,” said Bevis Watts, Managing Director of Triodos Bank UK.

“We want people to really think about what their bank is doing with their money. Money doesn’t have to be invested in the arms trade, fossil fuels and tobacco – it can be used to do good and help build the society we want to live in. For many years now, you have had the opportunity to align your values with the food you choose to buy, the transport you take, and the energy you consume. Now you have that choice with your daily finances.”


Sign up for a Triodos Ethical Current Account at www.triodos.co.uk/change

What do you think of "Why aren’t more people switching current account?"

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David Barker 3 years ago

Your requirement to provide a summary of income and expenditure on an account which offers no overdraft facility. I don’t want an overdraft facility, I want an ethical current account. I’ve never been asked for this information in the past. These details are between me and the HMRC.

Reply to David Barker
Richard 3 years ago

Just give ballpark figures…..or not. You aren’t asked to provide proof of earnings and expenditure. As to the overdraft, although you don’t want one, an overdraft facility is indeed available to those that do.

Mrs V Soar 3 years ago

We do NOT wish to do our banking on line. We have already invested a small amount but unless there is a telephone service (as Cater Allen has) then I am sorry , no deal Sorry if there are typos, the text is so dim and faint I cannot read it

Ian Wallbank 3 years ago

I applied to open a joint current account with my wife. Both of us have savings accounts and she bonds. Apparently my wife was unable to provide sufficient proof of address despite this. Printouts from her present online current account was not acceptable, so couldn’t proceed. Maybe the switching service is less difficult and would have worked.

Moira Fitt 3 years ago

If I open a current account, how shall I pay in cheques to that account? Our local post office has closed. In the past I paid in cheques using a special envelope.

Reply to Moira Fitt
ANNE TWINE 3 years ago

I would like to know this too

Reply to Moira Fitt
Lyndon Ashmore 3 years ago

Hello Moira, thank you for your message. You can pay cheques into the Triodos Current Account using a freepost mail address.

Helen Toomey 3 years ago

At least the Co-op Bank is still free after many years, and just about ethical to boot, despite closing down human rights campaigns bank accounts, so almost no contest with Triodos which charges every month, and doesn’t take into account seasonal work of the self-employed.

Reply to Helen Toomey
Polly Pearshouse 3 years ago

I’ve been tempted by the Triodos current account but I don’t fancy a monthly charge and Co-op has always been good over the years and I can pay-in at the Post Office or by post – and it is still ethical.

Sue Fisher 3 years ago

I am reluctant to transfer because I have an account that is fixed to a savings account and am unsure if I change that sometime in the future I will not be able to release the money. Poor excuse, I should be looking into it. Sorry.

Matt 3 years ago

My Smile current account has a linked Smile credit card. I would move it to Triodos if a credit card was available

Reply to Matt
Bill Martin 3 years ago

Hi Matt.
i have done exactly this and my Smile credit card continues. There is a higher interest charge on unpaid balances but this should not have any effect if you clear your balance monthly.
Hope this helps, Bill

Douglas Coker (AKA Dougie) 3 years ago

Hi Eilidh … maybe I should switch! Best wishes from Dougie.

+ Show all 13 comments