BACS – which runs the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) – has reported that it has completed nearly 5 million successful current account switches since the service launched in 2013. Despite awareness of the government-backed service claimed to be as high as 80%, there is still a lack of movement in the market, with overall switching figures dropping 7% from 2016 to 2017.
At the same time, increasing number of people are likely to switch accounts for a social purpose. As British consumers become more aware of how their money can be used for positive social and environmental impact many are looking beyond the old, larger institutions for a bank that matches their values.
“For many years now, consumers have had the opportunity to align their values with the food they choose to buy, the transport they take, and the energy they consume. Now they have that choice with their daily finances,” says Bevis Watts, Managing Director of Triodos Bank UK.
“Switchers to Triodos know that we are completely transparent about where we lend their money and that it is working towards positive social, cultural and environmental change.”
Triodos customer Kat Brealey recognises the importance of this opportunity for social impact, saying that the Triodos Current Account was a chance for her to make a clear statement about the kind of world she wanted to live in and the kind of values she wanted to support. “For me, switching to a Triodos Current Account is just another piece of the puzzle in terms of being proactive about trying to live according to my values – so once the option became available, I wanted to take it. These days I’m keen that my money doesn’t just ‘not do bad,’ but actively does good – which is why the Triodos model appeals”
As the public gains a better understanding of the implications of where they put their money – thanks to campaigns like Christian Aid’s Big Shift – savers are increasingly turning to the ethical option that enables their money to do good, even when it’s in the bank.
Zoe Sear, Head of Marketing and Communications at Triodos Bank UK, says there is a desire for meaningful social impact among current account holders. “There is a real disconnection with fintech providers, in that many customers want to know what is sitting behind the tech. If we are challenging consumer behaviour with tech, is that going far enough? The way to break inertia is to help customers understand the power they actually have within their finances and empower them to make more conscious choices about their banking relationships.”
Research conducted by Triodos Bank at the end of last year found that 63% of people want their money to have a positive impact on society and the environment and that 51% would switch banks if they found out their money was financing organisations that negatively affect people or the environment.
This trend is becoming a global movement: insurance giant Lloyd’s of London has announced plans to stop investing in coal companies, while last year the total amount divested by universities hit £80 billion globally. The call for positive impact is growing louder; customers want more information on how their money is being used, with many customers who switch to Triodos citing transparency as a major motivation for doing so.
Triodos Current Account
The Triodos current account is part of the Current Account Switching Service (CASS) scheme, making it easier to switch with all direct debits, standing orders and payments in and out automatically transferred.