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Has the economic downturn made us a nation with 'Current Account OCD' (Obsessive Checking Disorder)?

16 Mar 2012

According to recent research by first direct , 39% of the UK population check their current account more frequently now than they did before the downturn.  The survey revealed that 20% review their balance at least once a day and amazingly, over 470,000 sneak a peek almost hourly!  However, on average, people leave nearly 8 days between viewing their account balance.

Perhaps unsurprisingly those who have been either overdrawn or have exceeded their pre-agreed overdraft limit in the last 12 months are more likely to check their current account once a day or more (26% versus those that remained in the black (18%)).  However 14% of this group still do less than the average weekly review.

Technology and the generation gap

The research shows the dramatic change in how people check their balances, over three quarters (77%) say they would use the internet via their computer, laptop or tablet.  However, the more traditional methods, whilst some way behind in popularity, are still prominent - cashpoint (54%) came in second and branch (17%) third.  The age gap is also starting to become apparent as, whilst the internet was the top and cashpoint second choice for all ages, the research found that the younger generation (18-24) has swapped branch banking for checking their account on the internet via their Smartphones (23%) and those 25-34 are moving in this direction too with as many saying they'd branch bank as use their Smartphone (16%).

Emma Cocksedge, Current Account Product Manager at first direct commented:

"It's great to see that people are paying more attention to their current account in an uncertain financial climate and with the number of different ways people can check their accounts, this trend looks set to continue.

"Like first direct customers, the young are often early adopters of new technology like Smartphones and text message banking, but with increased awareness and availability the 'Silver Surfers' are unlikely to be far behind."

It may come as no surprise then, with increased 'on the go' access, that the 18-24 age group are the most likely to check their account once a day or more and the 25-34 age group 2-3 times a day.  Results show that the higher the age group the more likely they are to only check their account once a month or less.



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


Notes to Editors  

A relevant spokesperson is available for comment on request.  Some regional breakdowns also available. 

Results based on Populus survey carried out by Dynamic Markets on behalf of first direct 02/03/12 - 04/03/12 with a sample size of 2087.  Available on request.

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

first direct facts

  • Winner of the Which? Best Financial Provider award 2 years running
  • Top financial institution in the Which? Customer Satisfaction Survey with an all-time high of 93%
  • Ranked first in the Retail Banking Satisfaction Study by J D Power & Associates for two years running
  • Recently (Feb 2012) received 90% customer satisfaction in a survey carried out by

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.

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