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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.

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

And with the way we carry out our banking business changing rapidly, banks are closing down branches at a frightening pace. 

So, we've mapped every single closure since 2015, and our branch closure finder helps you search for the branches near you that are closing down in 2018.

In this guide, find out:

 Best and worst banks

Customer satisfaction for banking
Provider Customer service Regularity and clarity of communications Dealing with queries and complaints Service in branch Telephone service Internet service Customer Score
Which? Recommended Provider badgeFirst Direct 83%
Which? Recommended Provider badgeNationwide 80%
Which? Recommended Provider badgeMarks and Spencer Bank 71%
Metro Bank 71%
Although this provider is rated highly by its customers, we have not awarded it WRP status because it does not meet every requirement (all WRPs must offer accounts available nationally; have at least one top 10 bank account for credit interest, overdrafts or current account mortgages; and offer a free debit card, free direct debits and free withdrawals from UK cash machines).
Co-operative Bank 71%
Although this provider is rated highly by its customers, we have not awarded it WRP status because it does not meet every requirement (all WRPs must offer accounts available nationally; have at least one top 10 bank account for credit interest, overdrafts or current account mortgages; and offer a free debit card, free direct debits and free withdrawals from UK cash machines).
Danske Bank n/a 70%
Although this provider is rated highly by its customers, we have not awarded it WRP status because it does not meet every requirement (all WRPs must offer accounts available nationally; have at least one top 10 bank account for credit interest, overdrafts or current account mortgages; and offer a free debit card, free direct debits and free withdrawals from UK cash machines).
Which? Recommended Provider badgeTesco Bank 70%
TSB Bank 69%
Virgin Money n/a n/a n/a 67%
Santander 67%
Bank of Scotland 66%
Yorkshire Bank 65%
Halifax 65%
Smile n/a n/a n/a 65%
Lloyds Bank 64%
Barclays Bank 63%
NatWest 63%
Clydesdale Bank 62%
HSBC 60%
Ulster Bank n/a 59%
Royal Bank of Scotland 57%
Average Customer Satisfaction Score n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 68%
Table notes:
n/a = sample size too small
Average overall customer satisfaction score is 68%
Sample sizes: First Direct (276), Nationwide (478), M&S Bank (83), Metro Bank (43), Co-op Bank (282), Danske Bank (45), Tesco Bank (85), TSB (323), Virgin Money (33), Santander (345), Bank of Scotland (224), Yorkshire Bank (137), Halifax (354), Smile (35), Lloyds Bank (364), Barclays (323), NatWest (363), Clydesdale Bank (87), HSBC (371), Ulster Bank (37), Royal Bank of Scotland (175). Total sample size: 5,554.

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 2017. The final sample size was 5,554.

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

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. 
 
Provider Which? verdict Customer
score
Average score of all current account providers rated by Which? Money 64%
First Direct Owned by HSBC. First Direct will pay £100 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.

Which? Recommended Provider badge

83%

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).

Which? Recommended Provider badge

80%

M&S Bank Switch to M&S and get £125 gift card and up to an additional £60 when you stay for 12 months. You can also get access to its best rate regular savings account.

Which? Recommended Provider badge

71%

Tesco Bank Offers 3% interest on balances up to £3,000 guaranteed to 1 April 2019. Earn one Clubcard point per £1 spend in Tesco.

Which? Recommended Provider badge

70%

 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. More than 482 major bank branches will also be axed in 2017, bringing the total number of closures to 1,526 since the start of 2015.

A new wave of closures for 2018 have been announced, with RBS/NatWest and Ulster Bank closing 269 branches, Lloyds Banking Group closing 49 and Yorkshire Building Society closing eight branches. 

That takes the total number of closures between 2015 and 2018 to 1,852.

The map below shows the number of closures in each local authority area per 100,000 people. You can use the search bar to find your local area, filter between banks or choose a year to see when branches closed or are due to close. 

It will be updated for 2018 soon, but in the mean time you can use the table below to search for branch closures in your area in 2018.

               

  Find bank branch closures in 2018 in my area

The table below lists all the banks that have shut, or are due to shut in 2018. You can search for your local authority or postcode to find closures near you.

  • Last updated: December 2017
  • Updated by: Gareth Shaw
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