Current account customers of Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank have rated them as the poorest for customer satisfaction, the latest survey from Which? has revealed.
In a survey of 1,631 members of the general public on bank customer satisfaction, the Bank of Ireland came bottom with a score of just 41% and scoring just two out of five stars for customer service, regular communication, clarity of statements and branch availability.
At the other end of the scale First Direct has, for the eighth consecutive time, come top scoring an impressive 85%. It also achieved the highest recommendation score – 94% of customers said they would recommend First Direct to a friend.
Which banks are keeping customers happy?
Current account customers of First Direct, Smile, The One Account, Co-operative Bank and Norwich & Peterborough Building Society all rated them highly enough for them to gain Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) status. It’s especially good news for Norwich & Peterborough Building Society, which has been awarded WRP status for the first time, achieving a score of 71%.
High street giants Barclays, Halifax/Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest/RBS and Santander all need to do more to to keep their customers happy – each scored below the market average of 62%. The computer glitch suffered by Ulster Bank this March – as well as previous computer faults last summer – could have something to do with its low satisfaction rating of 45%, second from bottom in our league table.
Which? encourages customers to put pressure on poor performers
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, says: ‘It’s clear once again that the biggest banks have a lot of work to do to improve their customer service.
‘For people unhappy with their current account provider, switching should get easier and quicker from this autumn, and we hope that more customers will put pressure on the poor performers by voting with their feet.
‘The Government’s proposed reforms must lead to more competition on the high street and a big change in banking so that banks put customers first, not sales.’
Five steps to finding the best bank account
And, for those people who want to leave their current account provider there is a way out. If you’re unhappy with your current account provider, it could be time to get a new one. We take a look at where you should start to find the best bank account for you.
- Assess how you use your bank account – the best bank account for you might not necessarily be the one with the best rate – it all depends on your current financial situation. If you always have a positive bank balance at the end of the month, or if you tend to dip into the red and don’t want to be hit with big charges, your best options will differ.
- Online vs. branch banking – Do you want to manage your account online, or would you prefer to be able to see someone face-to-face in a branch?
- Customer service – If good customer service is important to you then consider switching to a WRP. These banks have the best service ratings and have the most satisfied customers.
- Packaged accounts – Some bank accounts charge a monthly fee in exchange for a range of additional ‘benefits’ such as travel insurance, car breakdown cover and mobile phone insurance. These are only worth paying for if you use all of the included benefits.
- Switching – The last stage when you have decided which bank you want to switch to. It may seem like a daunting prospect but it’s a lot easier than you may think, read our guide to switching.
- Latest current account Which? Recommended Providers – find out more
- Best banks for customer satisfaction – see our full survey results
- Where do I go if I have a bank complaint – your customer rights explained