Having written before about how Vince Cable and the Liberal Democrats could be leading a campaign to get people to move their bank accounts, you might expect me to be welcoming the (independent) Move Your Money site which has just launched.
It is always good to see more people campaigning and more people offering up solutions and yet… I’m distinctly unmoved by it. Why? Three reasons.
First, the site is heavy on education and light on getting people actually to move their account. Just count the number of clicks it takes you to get to the point where you are about to ask for a new account to be opened. (Go on, give it a try – but do remember to come back afterwards.) You see what I mean? The site doesn’t just not make it easy, it makes it bloody hard to get to the point where you are about to move your money.
Second, the site is playing to the niche rather than to the mass audience. Offering up credit unions as the first option (rather than, say, a building society account), talking positively about how one bank account helps fund trade unions in the UK, taking a pop at the arms trade and so on.
All reasonable views to express in themselves, but they are ones that appeal to a niche on the political left, not to the mass mainstream audience. To really make a difference to the UK financial system, a mass audience needs to be won over to moving their bank accounts. There are arguments that appeal to mass audiences – arguments that appeal to readers of the Daily Mail as much as The Guardian – but these aren’t what the site is built around.
Third, for both these reasons it means the site therefore is really not very different from much that has been said and done in the past – without much of an impact. What is still needed is a campaign that goes for simplicity and a mass audience.
So whilst it is good to see people offering up their own practical responses to the financial crash, Move Your Money is much more opportunity missed than opportunity taken.