While the customer is blind, cash will remain king for switching

The first time I considered switching my account is in my first year of University when I looked at who I could get the largest overdraft with. Fortunately it was NatWest and I didn't have to switch. The only other time I have been tempted to switch (but still not quite tempted enough to) is from Halifax's offer of £100 cash and no fees on existing overdrafts for a year (after racking up quite an overdraft with NatWest), writes Billy Bambrough

The first time I considered switching my account is in my first year of University when I looked at who I could get the largest overdraft with. Fortunately it was NatWest and I didn’t have to switch. The only other time I have been tempted to switch (but still not quite tempted enough to) is from Halifax’s offer of £100 cash and no fees on existing overdrafts for a year (after racking up quite an overdraft with NatWest), writes Billy Bambrough

Both times I have considered switching it’s been to do with an immediate desire for cash, nothing more. A half-baked plan for a bit of ready cash when things were tight. This is not because l have been particularly happy with my experience banking with NatWest, to me (and I imagine to the majority of their customers) they’re just a bank, the same as all the others.

Unlike most other retailers you give your custom to it is very hard to test drive another bank. I like shopping in Sainsbury’s but I will occasionally shop in Tesco or Asda or Morrison’s because it may be more convenient at the time. This gives these other shops the chance to show off to me in the hope that they will become my supermarket of choice. Banks cannot do this. If I don’t bank with them I have no interaction with them at all.

The digital platform adds another layer. Unless you have seen someone log in to a different bank online you probably have little idea what it is like. Think about it, do you have any idea what it is like using an online banking service other than your own? How easy is it? How often does the site go down? What’s the security like? Do you need a card reader? Does it have a mobile app?

Advertising their digital platform and how it differs from their competitors is something that banks need to embrace in the digital age. For many it is the most obvious differentiator in the market. Banks are investing such large amounts in apps and web portals and only the existing customers get to see the results, not the potential customers who may be thrilled by the design or layout.

I have never seriously considered switching for any other reason because I am completely blind to the experience of banking with a different bank. A different bank could be better but it could, I caution myself, be far worse, so why risk it? Why have the (perceived) stress of changing my bank? Until I can see what I’ll be getting, I won’t.

Well, if they pay me enough to do it I might.