Skip to main content

25 million Brits feel they are being 'taken for granted' by the 'big five' banks

25th January 2018


Current account switching in 2017 was at an all-time low1
TSB calls for industry shake-up, and urges people to ask their bank five simple questions.


New research from TSB reveals that nearly three quarters (71%) of customers of the ‘big five’ banks2 say they feel taken for granted.  The findings come as the Current Account Switch Service publishes its latest set of figures, with the number of people switching banks falling once again year-after-year. 

In 2017, just 931,956 people – around only 2% of UK consumers – used the Current Account Switch Service.  This is despite people feeling the ‘big five’ are doing the bare minimum to keep their customers happy, and the average person being £70 better off by switching.

TSB's research shows:

  • Four in five people who bank with the ‘big five’ believe their bank does “as little as possible” for them; 
  • 86% of people say the big banks only get in touch when they have something to sell; 
  • More than three quarters of people (78%) feel the ‘big five’ banks profit at their expense. 

The ‘big five’ banks – HSBC, Barclays, RBS, Lloyds and Santander – control more than 85% of the current account market in the UK.  

Paul Pester, Chief Executive Officer, TSB, says:  “The Current Account Switch Service launched within a week of TSB’s return to high streets across Britain in September 2013.  I’m delighted that TSB has grown year-after-year ever since, but the same can’t be said for the number of people switching their bank account which is falling year-after-year.  With just 2% of consumers switching banks, it’s clear something else needs to be done to ensure customers are getting the best deal.

“For too long now the banking industry has been dominated by the ‘big five’ banks who have a stranglehold on the UK market.  They are taking customers for granted, safe in the knowledge that people are unlikely to move – rather than delivering the kind of banking people in the UK want and deserve.  It’s time for change and the banking industry is in need of a major shake-up.

“As Britain’s challenger bank, we’re on a mission to bring more competition to UK banking and ultimately make banking better for all UK consumers.  We want all banking customers to know what they’re paying for their banking, to be able to switch easily, and to be aware of their right to switch banks.  Only then will competition really start to work and the culture of banks finally shift to serve customers on their terms – rather than putting the banks’ interests first.”

TSB has consistently been one of the top banks that customers are choosing to switch to – with around 1,000 customers a day voting with their feet to join the challenger bank.  Current Account Switch Service data published today shows that TSB was the bank with the highest number of net switchers in the second quarter of 2017.

TSB’s big five questions 

TSB is challenging people to ask their bank five simple questions to see if they are being taken for granted: 

  1. Does it feel like your bank’s doing as little as possible for you?
  2. Did your bank tempt you in with a nice big interest rate, and then take it away after a year?
  3. Does your bank charge you a monthly fee if you want to get the best offers?
  4. Does your bank only bother to get in touch when they have something to sell?
  5. Does your bank not explain to you how easy it is to switch?

If the answer to any of these big five questions is ‘yes’, then it’s time to break free from your bank and go somewhere better.

#CompetitionMatters – banking needs to be exposed to the full force of competition

TSB continues to call for banking to be exposed to the full force of competition, and for customers to be put in control of their banking, at last.

The Bank believes there are a range of interconnected issues preventing the banking market from operating in the best interests of consumers.  When taken together, these issues have created a market that has been stacked against consumers for far too long:

  1. Consumers don’t know what they are actually paying for their day-to-day banking.  
  2. Consumers can’t easily assess whether a competitor product would be better for them.
  3. Not all consumers can easily move their bank account – particularly overdraft users who are least likely to switch but stand to gain the most.

As Open Banking launches, TSB continues to call for three simple changes to make the market start working for consumers, and not just for the banks that serve them:

  1. Customers need to know what they’re paying for their banking.  All banks should tell their customers how much they’ve paid each month through a standard format “monthly bill”.
  2. The industry needs to create a solution so all customers can switch their bank account, particularly overdraft users who stand to gain the most from switching.  The industry should provide a standard format “credit passport” which customers can take to their potential new bank.
  3. All customers need to be made aware of their right to switch banks.


Notes to editors


  • 1Data from the Current Account Switch Service has been released under embargo and will be available here from Wednesday 24 January.  This data reveals that in the past 12 months (1 Jan 2017 to 31 Dec 2017) there were 931,956 switches.  This compares to 1,010,423 switches in the previous 12 months.
  • 2The ‘big five’ banks are HSBC, Barclays, RBS, Lloyds and Santander – based on their share of the UK current account market.
  • TSB’s research was conducted by an independent research agency in November / December 2017 surveying 2,000 UK adults.
  • “25 million Brits feel they are being ‘taken for granted’ by the ‘big five’ banks” is based on: Office for National Statistics 18-65 year old adult population data (41.4 million); ‘big banks’ controlling c.85% of the current account market; and 71% of ‘big bank’ customers who feel ‘taken for granted’ by their bank. 
  • TSB’s Competition Matters report can be viewed here.

About TSB

TSB was built to bring more competition to UK banking and ultimately make banking better for all UK consumers.  TSB only serves local customers and local businesses, to help fuel local economies, because communities thriving across Britain is a good thing for all of us.

We have a simple, straightforward and transparent banking model and make clear on our website how we operate and make money.  We offer the products and services people tell us they want, with none of the funny stuff people normally associate with traditional banks.

Our five million customers appear to notice: TSB is Britain’s most recommended high street bank and was identified as one of the top 10 big companies to work for in 2017.
For further information about TSB Bank plc, please visit our website