first direct Lab
Skip menus

£158bn tax free savings have never been switched

18 Mar 2013

Nearly two thirds have never switched their ISA provider 

Research carried out on behalf of first direct has found that 62 per cent* of the UK population with an ISA have never transferred it to another provider.  

The average pot for each UK ISA holder will reach over £10,000** by the end of the 2012/2013 tax year.  first direct 's research suggests that over £158bn*** of ISA savings, which could potentially find a home at a higher rate elsewhere, are sitting in their existing accounts. 

The main reason for staying put was that savers were happy with their current rate (48 per cent), however a quarter said that they had 'never got round' to switching and nearly one in ten didn't even know they were able to transfer their ISA balance. 

Andy Forbes, Head of Product at first direct commented: 

"It's surprising that such a large number of Cash ISA savers have never switched their account and even more so that many don't realise they can transfer their balance. 

"first direct have a market leading 3.0 per cent AER Cash ISA, specifically targeted at savers who've built up a tax free balance over the years and want access to a great rate for their hard-earned cash." 

The younger age group (16-24 years) were most likely to say they'd never transferred their ISA, with 93 per cent claiming that they'd never switched.  At the other end of the spectrum it was those aged 55+ who had switched the most, however nearly 60 per cent of that age group said they'd never moved provider either. 

It seems that men are more financially informed than women when it comes to their Cash ISA with almost twice as many women saying they didn't know they could transfer their ISA to another provider.  Men were also more aware than women that ISA limits will increase from 6 April 2013 (17.5 per cent of men vs. 10 per cent of women).  However, this also illustrates that the vast majority of men (82.5 per cent) and women (90 per cent) were unaware of the imminent change. 

Regionally, Londoners tend to have over 14 per cent more in ISA savings than the UK average, just over £11,500****, whereas the South West comes bottom with an average balance of just over £9,100 (nearly 10 per cent less than the national average).  When it comes to switching their ISA savings the Northern Irish are the most likely to make a move (53 per cent), unlike those in the South West where 65 per cent said they'd never transferred their ISA savings to another provider.  However, whilst those in London may have the bigger balances, over 60 per cent have never transferred their ISA savings. 




For further information please contact Rebecca Hirst on 0113 276 6899, or Amanda Brown on 0113 276 6700,  

Notes to Editors  

first direct Cash ISA rates



Tax free
















* Research carried out on behalf of first direct by Opinion Matters in February 2013.  2,034 people aged 16+ were surveyed.

** £10,092.82 = average ISA savings amount at the end of tax year 2012/2013 amongst those with an ISA

*** 51,282,600 - approximate population of 16+ people in the UK according to 2011 Census: Usual resident population by five-year age group and sex, United Kingdom According to research 49.3% of those asked have an ISA = 25,282,322 of those aged 16+ in the UK.  Of this figure 62% have never switched their ISA provider = 15,675,040.

15,675,040 x £10,092.82 = £158,205,357,212.80 

**** Average ISA balances by region


Average ISA balance at the end of 2013 tax year

% difference to UK average ISA balance

Rank - highest to lowest













North East




North West




Northern Ireland








South East




South West












UK Average




A full copy of the research findings is available on request. 

For the latest updates, visit the first direct Newsroom or follow us on Twitter

first direct facts

  • Winner of Best Online Savings Provider of the Year - Consumer Moneyfacts Awards Jan 2013
  • Winner of the Moneywise Most Trusted Savings and Cash ISA Provider June 2012
  • Winner of the Which? Best Financial Provider and Moneywise Most Trusted Financial Provider awards 3 years running

first direct provides both telephone banking and online banking services to its 1.2m customers.  It offers a full range of personal banking products including its award winning Current Account and offset mortgages

Share this (opens in a new window)

You may also be interested in …

first direct has announced New Year offers on a wide range of products including the return of its popular market leading fee free Base Rate lifetime offset tracker Mortgage.  The mortgage tracks the Bank of England Base Rate plus 2.49% making the current rate payable 2.99%.

Share this (opens in a new window)

Further to the base rate cut announced by the Bank of England earlier this month, first direct has the following interest rate changes to its savings accounts and mortgages. All new rates take effect from Tuesday 5th August 2003. Savings accounts Eve499ay Savings Account1 Balances Previous Interest Rate (AER) New Interest Rate (AER) £1...

Share this (opens in a new window)