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Best and worst banks

By Chiara Cavaglieri

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Best and worst banks

Discover the best and the worst banks for customer service, rated by thousands of current account customers. Plus our bank closures map.

Best and worst banks 

Twice a year, we ask bank account customers to rate how satisfied they are with their current-account provider. The table below reveals the best and worst banks for customer service. 

We also compare the best bank accounts if you stay in credit and the best bank accounts for authorised overdrafts

Customer satisfaction for banking
Provider Customer service Clarity of statements Dealing with queries and complaints Service in branch Telephone service Internet service Customer Score
First Direct n/a 85%
Nationwide 75%
TSB Bank 71%
Co-operative Bank 69%
Clydesdale Bank 69%
Yorkshire Bank 68%
Danske Bank n/a n/a n/a 68%
Tesco Bank n/a n/a n/a 66%
Marks and Spencer Bank n/a n/a 65%
Smile n/a n/a n/a 65%
Halifax 64%
Bank of Scotland 63%
Virgin Money n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 62%
Santander 62%
Lloyds Bank 59%
Barclays Bank 58%
NatWest 57%
HSBC 56%
Royal Bank of Scotland 54%
Average Customer Satisfaction Score n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 65%
Table notes:
n/a = sample size too small
Average overall customer satisfaction score is 65%
Sample sizes: First Direct (297), Nationwide (404), TSB Bank (302),  Co-op (295), Clydesdale Bank (110), Yorkshire Bank (168), Danske Bank (43), Tesco Bank (48), M&S Bank (48), Smile (38), Halifax (406), Bank of Scotland (163), Virgin Money (30), Santander (409), Lloyds (410), Barclays (408), NatWest (410), HSBC (395),  RBS (296). Total sample size: 4,918.

Our research

Customer scores are based on a survey of an online panel of respondents from the general public who were invited to take part in the bank account customer satisfaction survey during September 2016. The final sample size was 4,918.

Overall customer scores are worked out using a combination of overall satisfaction and how likely the respondents are to recommend their bank to a friend. Companies need at least 30 responses to be given a rating.

Which? Recommended Providers

Recommended Provider Icon BA

Which? Recommended Providers are companies that are both rated highly by the respondents of our unique customer survey and have products that meet the high standards of our researchers.

  • To feature as a Recommended Provider, a company must have achieved a top score (at least 70%) in our latest customer satisfaction survey.
  • Providers must also have at least one top 10 bank account for credit interest, overdrafts or current account mortgages.
  • Providers must be fully covered by the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and FCA Banking Standards regime.
  • Which? Recommended Providers of bank accounts must offer a free debit card, free direct debits and free withdrawals from UK cash machines, and accounts must be available nationally. 
 
Which? Recommended savings account providers
Which? Recommended Provider badge
Provider Which? verdict Customer
score
Average score of all current account providers rated by Which? Money 54%
First Direct Owned by HSBC. First Direct will pay £125 if you switch. Customers need to pay £1,000 into their account or will face a monthly £10 fee. First Direct 1st Account comes with a £250 interest-free overdraft. 85%
Nationwide If you recommend a friend to its FlexAccount, FlexDirect or FlexPlus you get to share £200. Its FlexDirect account pays 5% on balances up to £2,500 in first year (1% thereafter). 75%

Bank branch closures

Some people are happy banking purely online. But others may need to do at least some transactions face-to-face. So which banks have been shutting branches? 

In autumn 2016, Which? analysis found a total of 1,046 branches were shut between January 2015 and January 2017. 

The map below shows the number of closures in each local authority area per 100,000 people. Use the magnifying glass in the top left corner to search for your local authority and see how many banks have closed in your area.

The most adversely affected areas were Wales, Scotland and south-west England, all of which have extensive rural areas. We've also highlighted four areas where inadequate broadband speed may hinder access to online banking and the total number of branch closures by each bank in the bottom left corner.

 

  • Last updated: March 2016
  • Updated by: Chiara Cavaglieri

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