Press release:

Tide turns as three quarters of consumers now trust their bank

After years of reputational issues and costly scandals, banks are finally winning back the public’s trust, according to new research from uSwitch.com. The 2014 uSwitch Current Account Awards, based on votes from over 10,000 customers, reveals almost three quarters (72%) now trust their current account provider [1]:

  • Customer satisfaction with banks is strong with 82% satisfied overall[2]
  • First Direct is the best bank in the eyes of consumers, coming top in eight of nine categories[3]
  • After a troubled year, Co-op Bank hogs third position in categories including ‘Best Current Account Provider’ and ‘Most Trusted’[4]
  • Moving up from bottom place last year, customers give Santander the thumbs up for rewards but the thumbs down for service[5]
  • RBS is voted worst current account provider by its customers, coming last in eight out of nine categories[6] – Lloyds and HSBC also perform badly[7]
  • Loyalty dwindles – only six in ten customers (59%) have been with their bank for more than ten years, down from 72% last year[8].

With seven in ten consumers now trusting their current account provider[1], banks and building societies may finally be winning over the hearts and minds of customers. uSwitch.com, the independent price comparison and switching service, shines the light on the providers who have been successful and those who have failed to secure the consumer vote, in a survey of over 10,000 current account customers.

The success story is nowhere more evident than with online and phone-based bank, First Direct, whose commitment to service and experience has once again wowed customers and secured its first place in eight out of nine categories[3].

The Co-op Bank holds onto third position in almost every category, despite the widespread negative publicity that the Group has endured over the last year[9]. While the Co-op dropped several places in the Best Switching Service category, falling from third place in 2013 to tenth this year, it has still managed to secure a top-three spot in the Most Trusted, Most Recommended, Best Overall Satisfaction, Best Customer Service and Best Value for Money categories[4] – a positive start on its road to reform.

Santander has pulled itself up from bottom place last year to fourth place overall in this year’s awards. Its innovative cashback programme and generous interest rates have played a strong part in this improvement – Santander comes top in the ‘Best Rewards’ category. However, it fails to even make it into the top ten for customer service. Despite this, the 1-2-3 account has gained a 10% share of those switching accounts since the launch of the Current Account Switching Service in September 2013[10].

With consumers beginning to demand more from their banks, larger players such as RBS will also need to up their game – it was voted the worst current account provider overall, coming last in all categories but one[6]. Other members of the big four – notably Lloyds and HSBC – also performed badly, failing to secure a top-three position in any of the categories[7].

There is evidence that the Current Account Switching Service, introduced last September, is beginning to make an impact. The uSwitch research shows only six in ten customers (59%) have had the same current account for more than ten years – down from 72% in 2012[8]. This, coupled with the latest figures from the Payments Council which show a 14% year-on-year increase in switching levels[11], suggests that consumers are at last demanding more from their bank account.

David Mann, Head of Money at uSwitch.com, says: “Where you keep your hard earned-cash should be as important as how much you earn in the first place – so it’s great to see a healthy level of trust between banks and their customers. However, it’s crucial that banks and building societies keep strengthening the relationship they have with their customers by offering them innovative products and services.

“It’s clear that the best bank accounts are the ones that offer tangible benefits such as incentives and rewards – but other factors such as customer service, value for money and trust are as important as ever. Many providers still have a long way to go before they are comfortably sitting in their customers’ good books.

“Competition in the current account market is hotter than ever and banks can’t afford to take their foot off the pedal. Already this year we have seen high profile brands such as M&S and Tesco launch current accounts specifically designed to steal customers off the high street. With the likes of Virgin Money and Atom Bank also expected to launch in the next 12 months, it’s clear that the Big Four are no longer holding all the cards.”

To compare bank accounts visit http://www.uswitch.com/currentaccounts or call 0800 093 0607

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Notes to editors

Research referred to in the release was conducted online by Opinium from 7th to 17th January 2014 among 10,629 current account holders. All figures are based on uSwitch.com analysis. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults aged 18+. Last year’s awards were based on research conducted online by YouGov between 25/09/12 and 3/10/12 among 10,269 adults.

1. When asked: “How much do you trust your main current account provider?” 39% answered ‘Completely trust’ while 32% answered ‘Slightly trust’.
2. When asked: “Overall, how satisfied are you with your MAIN current account provider? Please consider all the factors, including customer service, rates and charges, billing, range of services, everything.” 42% answered ‘Very satisfied’ while 40% answered ‘Fairly satisfied’.
3. See tables below – First Direct occupies first place across every category except for Best Rewards.
4. Co-op Bank comes third for Best Current Account Provider and Most Trusted.
5. Santander comes 4th in the Best Current Account Provider category. In the 2013 Awards, Santander came in 11th place out of 11 providers. It comes top in the ‘Best Rewards’ category but 11th out of 13 in the ‘Best Customer Service’ category.
6. RBS came in 13th place out of 13 providers in the Best Current Account Provider category and last in every category except Best Rewards.
7. HSBC comes in 11th place out of 13 providers in the Best Current Account Provider category, while Lloyds comes in 10th place out of 13 providers in the same category.
8. When asked ‘How long have you held your current account’ 59% said ‘more than 10 years’. In 2013, this figure was 72%.
9. Source: BBC News – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27137762
10. Source: This is Money – http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/saving/article-2616267/Santander-accounts-profits-surge-snaps-people-moving-accounts-new-faster-switching-rules.html
11. Source: Payments Council – http://www.paymentscouncil.org.uk/media_centre/press_releases/-/page/2863/

 

 

 

Best current account Position Score
First Direct 1 72%
Nationwide 2 61%
Co-op 3 55%
Santander 4 51%
Bank of Scotland 5 50%
Barclays 6 50%
Halifax 7 49%
TSB 8 48%
Yorkshire Bank 9 48%
Lloyds 10 47%
HSBC 11 47%
NatWest 12 46%
RBS 13 39%

Source: uSwitch.com

Best Overall Satisfaction Position Score
First Direct 1 84%
Nationwide 2 71%
Co-op 3 67%
Barclays 4 62%
Yorkshire Bank 5 61%
Bank of Scotland 6 59%
HSBC 7 58%
TSB 8 58%
Halifax 9 57%
Lloyds 10 56%
Santander 11 56%
NatWest 12 56%
RBS 13 46%

Source: uSwitch.com

Most Recommended Position Score
First Direct 1 79%
Nationwide 2 60%
Co-op 3 49%
Barclays 4 46%
Santander 5 43%
HSBC 6 43%
Halifax 7 42%
TSB 8 41%
NatWest 9 40%
Lloyds 10 40%
Yorkshire Bank 11 39%
Bank of Scotland 12 39%
RBS 13 27%

Source: uSwitch.com

Most Trusted Position Score
First Direct 1 78%
Nationwide 2 68%
Co-op 3 59%
Yorkshire Bank 4 58%
HSBC 5 56%
TSB 6 54%
Barclays 7 50%
Bank of Scotland 8 50%
NatWest 9 49%
Lloyds 10 48%
Halifax 11 48%
Santander 12 47%
RBS 13 34%

Source: uSwitch.com

Best Switching Service Position Score
First Direct 1 72%
Nationwide 2 59%
Santander 3 58%
Barclays 4 55%
Halifax 5 54%
Yorkshire Bank 6 54%
Bank of Scotland 7 52%
NatWest 8 51%
Lloyds 9 50%
Co-op 10 49%
HSBC 11 48%
TSB 12 47%
RBS 13 44%

Source: uSwitch.com

Best Customer Service Position  Score
First Direct 1 86%
Nationwide 2 70%
Co-op 3 68%
Barclays 4 62%
Bank of Scotland 5 62%
TSB 6 61%
Yorkshire Bank 7 58%
HSBC 8 58%
NatWest 9 56%
Lloyds 10 56%
Santander 11 55%
Halifax 12 54%
RBS 13 52%

Source: uSwitch.com

Best Value for Money  Position Score
First Direct 1 69%
Nationwide 2 57%
Co-op 3 56%
Santander 4 48%
Yorkshire Bank 5 48%
Barclays 6 44%
Bank of Scotland 7 44%
HSBC 8 43%
Lloyds 9 43%
Halifax 10 42%
TSB 11 41%
NatWest 12 40%
RBS 13 35%

Source: uSwitch.com

Best Online Service  Position Score
First Direct 1 86%
Nationwide 2 77%
Bank of Scotland 3 69%
Lloyds 4 68%
Barclays 5 68%
Co-op 6 68%
HSBC 7 66%
Santander 8 66%
TSB 9 66%
NatWest 10 64%
Halifax 11 64%
Yorkshire Bank 12 61%
RBS 13 59%

Source: uSwitch.com

Best Rewards  Position Score
Santander 1 32%
Halifax 2 31%
Nationwide 3 30%
Bank of Scotland 4 28%
Co-op 5 23%
First Direct 6 19%
TSB 7 17%
Lloyds 8 17%
Barclays 9 14%
NatWest 10 14%
RBS 11 11%
HSBC 12 3%
Yorkshire Bank 13 2%

Source: uSwitch.com

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Launched in September 2000, uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, broadband, TV services, mobiles and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, car and home insurance. Last year we saved UK consumers over £278 million on their energy bills alone.

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