New research by Which? has revealed the top five reasons consumers do – and don’t – switch their savings accounts.
We surveyed more than 13,000 people between October 2009 and April 2010, and asked them what factors motivated them to move their money, as well as what has put them off switching their savings accounts.
Savings account switching: what’s stopping you?
1. ‘It won’t save me any money’
40% of our survey participants seem to despair of Britain’s banks and building societies – apparently to the extent that they believe no financial institution will offer a good deal.
Yet while a certain amount of cynicism is understandable in today’s climate, some savings account providers really are working harder than others to win – and keep – customers. Many savings accounts are currently paying rates as low as 0.1% AER, but you could earn 2.80% AER with the AA Internet Extra account – an instant access deal currently sitting at the top of the Which? Best Rate table.
2. ‘I’m still looking into it’
35% of the people we surveyed haven’t got around to finding a new savings account. But if you use the Which? savings accounts and fixed-rate savings accounts reviews, you should find choosing a new deal easy.
Which? reviews instant access savings accounts, consistent savings accounts and fixed-rate bonds, listing Best Rate deals based on how much interest they pay.
However, we also consider customer service to ensure you don’t end up with a bum deal. Look for the Which? Recommended Provider and Warning logos to see whether financial institutions performed particularly well, or especially badly, in our latest satisfaction survey.
3. ‘I’ve opened a second savings account anyway’
22% of our survey respondents said they hadn’t bothered switching their savings account because they already had a second, or parallel, account. Having several savings accounts might not seem problematic, but it increases the likelihood you will lose track of the return your rainy day funds are earning. What’s more, it’s risky to leave any kind of financial account dormant; you’ll be more vulnerable to fraud and could be hit with charges or fees you know nothing about.
More to the point, why leave any of your cash languishing in a poorly paying account while you have money earning a better return elsewhere?
4. ‘I wouldn’t get better service at a new bank’
The results of the latest Which? savings account satisfaction survey beg to differ with the 20% of people who think you can’t get better customer service by voting with your feet. Customer service scores for the institutions our members rated range from a paltry 39% (Santander), to a far more attractive 74% (First Direct).
If you’re fed up of shoddy treatment, why not in the Which? ranking? If it scores below the average of 52% for customer satisfaction, you could get better service elsewhere.
5. ‘I can’t be bothered’
14% of the people Which? surveyed weren’t afraid to admit they just can’t be bothered to move their money. Yet apathy is what allows banks to keep providing us with poor rates and customer care.
Loyalty rarely pays when it comes to financial products – so if you stay put with the same provider of savings, car insurance or your mortgage year after year, be aware you’re unlikely to get the best possible deals.
Five good reasons to switch your savings account
1. To get a better savings rate
Rate still rules with 81% of respondents in our poll, who switched their savings accounts in order to earn extra interest.
It’s sensible to ensure you’re making the most of your money by choosing a top-paying account that suits your circumstances. Check out the Which? Best Rate instant access accounts table.
2. To get a more consistent rate
Meanwhile, 20% of the people Which? talked to said they have switched savings accounts to get a more consistent return on their cash. And with banks using attractive rates to reel us in one minute, then dropping them off the edge of a cliff a few months later, who can blame them?
If you’re after a more reliable savings rate, take a look at the Which? table.
3. To get a better online banking service
For 11% of the respondents to our survey, getting a better online service was reason enough to switch their savings account. With many of us now using the web to move money around and keep track of our cash, perhaps this is a sign of things to come.
4. To get better service
Similarly, 8% of people told Which? they have moved their savings in a bid to find better customer service. If you’re thinking about switching your account for the same reason, be sure to read the results of our savings account customer satisfaction survey first!
5. To get easy access to branches
Finally, 4% of respondents to our survey switched their savings accounts so they could have easier access to a local branch. It seems that even in the age of the internet, there is still something to be said for the human touch!
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