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permanent tsb Switching Index shines a light on Irish consumers’ switching, spending and saving habits

  • 8 out of 10 Irish consumers who opened a bank account when they lodged their first pay packet are still with the same bank
  • Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, when it comes to money

A whopping 8 out of 10 consumers who opened a bank account when they lodged their first pay packet are still with the same bank, according to according to the first ever permanent tsb Switching Index, launched today. 70% of those who opened a bank account with their First Holy Communion money are still with the same bank.

Eight out of ten Irish people underestimate the amount they pay in retail bank charges by as much as 50%, while almost one in five Irish people feel that they have a poor choice of current bank account provider.

The permanent tsb Switching Index is a new report designed to compare and contrast consumer loyalty and satisfaction across a range of household necessities and to explore the reasons why consumers switch in each area, as well as their overall attitudes to money. The sectors covered by the Switching Index include electricity, broadband, car insurance, mobile phone providers and banking. The research was carried out by Amárach Research amongst 1001 adults in early October.

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus

The research also found that the old ‘Men are from Mars, women are from Venus’ adage still rings true when it comes to attitudes to money, particularly among the under 35s.

  • Demonstrating that money isn’t always an aphrodisiac, Irish women under 35 are much more likely (45%) to say money can be a source of tension in their relationships, when compared to Irish men under 35 (36%).
  • 32% of females under 35 say they regularly argue with their partner about money versus 24% of males in the same age group.
  • Males 35 or under most likely to have lent money to a partner in the past year (39%), although females 35 are under not far behind (35%).
  • Younger women seem to have taken the budgeting lessons of the recession to heart the most, with 65% of Irish women under 35 saying that they are better with their money now than they were five years ago, versus 49% of females over 35.
  • The research also found that younger people – generally those of us who earn the least - are spending the most on bank charges, with 15-24 year olds visiting ATMs more frequently than any other age group. ATM fees are one of the main drivers of day-to-day banking fees.

Commenting on these findings, John Fitzgerald, executive coach said:

The findings of the Index are particularly interesting as they paint a picture of under 35s as the least brand loyal generation, who have grown up happily switching providers across a whole range of household bills, as they flit from deal to deal. This reluctance to swap provider doesn’t seem to happen in banking, where it seems old habits die hard and family habits follow into adulthood, in a way that just doesn’t happen in other sectors. The recession has definitely made people more aware about what they spend but many are still poorly educated about how to manage their personal finances.

The Switching Index – the score which reflects a consumer’s ability and appetite to move between providers, taking into account factors including customer satisfaction levels, the choice of alternative providers available and the impact of price increases - was lowest for banks (46 out of a possible 100), compared to electricity (50), broadband (53), mobile phone (57) and car insurance (59).

Further key highlights from the permanent tsb Switching Index are as follows:

  • Keeping in the family – 42% of under 35s are still with the same bank as one or both of their parents – showing that like politics, banking can run in families. This figure drops as people get older, falling to 28% of 35 – 44 year olds.
  • Electricity bills have customers most worried about future price hikes, with three quarters of those surveyed saying that their bills are going up
  • There is a high level of satisfaction with the process of switching banks among those who have switched - 74% of those surveyed said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the level of co-operation and assistance from their new bank.

Earlier this year, permanent tsb bucked the trend of Irish banks pushing up current account fees, by introducing senseless fee free banking with no quarterly or day to transaction fees and no minimum balance to be maintained when a customer lodges €1,500 per month. More than 34,000 customers have already opened a current account with permanent tsb this year.

Niall O’Grady, Director of Transactional Banking, Savings and Investments in permanent tsb said:

The research shows that customers move around less in the banking sector than any other of the other household bills examined. It is incumbent upon banks, particularly against the backdrop of recent developments, to continue to offer customers choice, invest in our switching process and support structures to empower customers to make the move.

A copy of the permanent tsb Switching Index is available here. Tweet us your switching stories at @askpermanenttsb or using#ptsbSwitch

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