Press release:

Big banks fall from grace in customer satisfaction stakes while new entrants continue to shine

  • ‘Big Four’ banks – Lloyds, HSBC, RBS and Barclays – fail to secure top three spot and also fall in overall satisfaction, value for money and online services categories[1]
  • RBS reclaims wooden spoon, voted worst current account provider for second year in a row and coming last in further five categories[2]
  • HSBC falls eight places in ‘Most Trusted’ category, while Barclays suffers greatest drop in overall satisfaction[3]
  • First Direct is top performer, winning nine out of twelve awards[4], while new entrant Clydesdale Bank makes immediate impact, winning remaining three[5]
  • Yorkshire Bank and newly reformed TSB see big improvements across the board[6]
  • Satisfaction with value for money and trust overall are up[7].

Just a week ahead of the two year anniversary of the seven-day switching service, new research from reveals that, when it comes to pleasing their customers, the big banks are continuing their fall from grace and allowing new entrants to sweep up the votes[1].

The price comparison and switching service’s annual survey of over 10,000 current account customers highlights that satisfaction with the big banks is falling almost across the board. RBS takes the wooden spoon for the second year in a row, being voted the worst provider overall and coming bottom in a five further categories including trust, value for money and online service[2].

However, RBS isn’t the only provider with disappointing scores. The Co-operative Bank saw the biggest falls compared to last year, sliding in eight out of the twelve categories including overall satisfaction, trust and value for money[8]. Lloyds and Barclays both fell in seven categories, with the latter falling the furthest in overall satisfaction from fourth to tenth place. HSBC also suffered a disappointing year, compounding the recent misery of computer glitches with the biggest fall in trust from fifth to thirteenth position in the rankings[3].

At the other end of the tables, First Direct sweeps the board, topping nine of the twelve categories including the coveted Best Current Account as well as Most Trusted and Best Customer Service[4]. The online and phone-based bank were only denied a full house by new-entrant Clydesdale Bank, who made a big impact in its first year of featuring in the awards. Showing it can appeal to all sorts of customers, the new bank takes home prizes for its app and branch customer service – as well as topping the charts for its switching service[5].

While they didn’t win anything, things are looking up for both the newly reformed TSB and the Yorkshire Bank. Now separated from the Lloyds Banking Group, TSB seems to be capitalising on its rejuvenated brand, seeing improvements in its scores for customer service, value for money and trust – as well as rising from eighth to fourth place in the ‘Best Current Account’ category.  Meanwhile, Clydesdale’s sister, Yorkshire Bank, managed to improve its scores for overall satisfaction, trust, customer service and value for money, as well as substantially improving its online service[6].

But while the survey reveals clear winners and losers amongst the banks, customers have stood to gain the most over the last 12 months. Value for money is improving – up to 75% from 69% last year, as is trust[7]. Along with the fact that satisfaction with in-house switching teams is also on the up[9], it’s clear that some banks – in particular the larger players – will need to up their game if they want to hold onto customers.

Nicolas Frankcom, Money expert at, says: “With savings rates still at rock bottom, current accounts are proving to be much more than an everyday bank account. People are always looking for ways to make their hard-earned cash work even harder, so it’s great that overall satisfaction with value for money is up.

“Overall improvements across the board suggest the bar is being raised, with providers like First Direct and Clydesdale ticking all the right boxes. It’s up to those losing customers to fight back. Big players in this space, such as Santander, are continuing to capitalise, while we’ve seen Barclays forced to re-think ending its rewards scheme. It’s also encouraging to see more people switching.

“However, while customers are looking for value for money, it’s important that the banks don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater and don’t take their eye off getting the basics right – customer service is key.  Many providers still have a long way to go when it comes to delivering here. With more challenger banks expected to shake things up even further in the future, the Big Four clearly have more to do if they want to be the big winners.”

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Notes to editors

Research referred to in the release was conducted online by Opinium from 9th to 16th March 2015 among 10,301 current account holders. All figures are based on 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 Opinium from 7th to 17th January 2014 among 10,629 current account holders.

  1. None of the ‘big four’ banks – RBS, Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC – came top in any categories. See full results below. This year Lloyds placed 12th for overall satisfaction compared to 10th last year; 10th for value for money compared to 9th last year and 8th for online services compared to 4th last year. This year Barclays placed 10th for overall satisfaction compared to 4th last year; 8th for value for money compared to 6th last year and 12th for online services compared to 5th last year. This year HSBC placed 13th for overall satisfaction compared to 7th last year; 12th for value for money compared to 8th last year and 13th for online services compared to 7th last year. This year RBS placed 14th for overall satisfaction compared to 13th last year; 14th for value for money compared to 13th last year and 14th for online services compared to 13th last year.
  2. RBS came 14th for ‘Best Current Account’, ‘Overall satisfaction’, ‘Most trusted’, ‘Best Online service’, ‘Value for money’ and ‘Best rewards’.
  3. This year HSBC placed 13th for ‘most trusted’ compared to 5th last year; This year Barclays placed 10th for overall satisfaction compared to 4th last year.
  4. First Direct came first in the following categories: Best Current Account, Overall satisfaction, Most trusted, Value for money, Best rewards, Best overall customer Service, Best telephone customer service, Best online customer service and Best online service
  5. Clydesdale Bank came first in the following categories: Best branch customer service, Best switching service and Best App
  6. This year TSB climbed from 8th to 4th for ‘Best Current Account’; 12th to 3rd for ‘Best switching service’; 6th to 5th for ‘Most trusted’; 9th to 5th for ‘Best online service’; 6th to 3rd for ‘Best overall customer service’ and 11th to 6th for ‘Value for money’. This year Yorkshire Bank climbed from 9th to 6th for ‘Best Current Account’; 5th to 4th for ‘Overall satisfaction’; 4th to 3rd for ‘Most trusted’; 12th to 4th for ‘Best online service’; 7th to 4th for ‘Best overall customer service’; 5th to 4th for ‘Value for money’ and 13th to 8th for ‘Best rewards’.
  7. This year value for money climbed from 69% to 75% and trust from 72% to 74%.
  8. This year Co-operative bank placed 7th for Best Current Account compared to 3rd last year; 5th for Overall satisfaction compared to 3rd last year; 12th for Best switching service compared to 10th last year; 4th for Most trusted compared to 3rd last year; 7th for Best Online service compared to 6th last year; 8th for Best Overall Customer service compared to 3rd last year; 5th for Value for money compared to 3rd last year; 6th for Best Rewards compared to 5th last year.
  9. Satisfaction with in-house switching service was 72% this year compared to 69% last year


Full findings:

Provider Best Current Account   Provider Overall satisfaction
First Direct 73%   First Direct 83%
Nationwide 64%   Clydesdale Bank 72%
Clydesdale Bank 64%   Nationwide 70%
TSB 60%   Yorkshire Bank 65%
Santander 59%   Co-op 62%
Yorkshire Bank 58%   Santander 62%
Co-op 57%   Halifax 60%
Halifax 56%   TSB 59%
Bank of Scotland 56%   NatWest 57%
NatWest 54%   Barclays 56%
Lloyds 53%   Bank of Scotland 56%
Barclays 53%   Lloyds 55%
HSBC 51%   HSBC 54%
RBS 49%   RBS 49%
Provider Most trusted   Provider Value for money
First Direct 76%   First Direct 73%
Nationwide 71%   Nationwide 63%
Yorkshire Bank 62%   Santander 57%
Co-op 62%   Yorkshire Bank 57%
TSB 58%   Co-op 56%
Santander 56%   TSB 53%
Halifax 55%   Halifax 53%
Lloyds 53%   Barclays 49%
Barclays 52%   Bank of Scotland 48%
NatWest 51%   Lloyds 48%
Bank of Scotland 51%   NatWest 47%
Clydesdale Bank 48%   HSBC 47%
HSBC 48%   Clydesdale Bank 46%
RBS 44%   RBS 44%
Provider Best Rewards   Provider Best Customer service (overall)
First Direct 61%   First Direct 71%
Santander 61%   Clydesdale Bank 66%
Nationwide 60%   TSB 63%
HSBC 56%   Yorkshire Bank 62%
Barclays 54%   Nationwide 62%
Co-op 54%   Bank of Scotland 60%
Clydesdale Bank 53%   Santander 58%
Bank of Scotland 50%   Co-op 58%
TSB 50%   Halifax 57%
Yorkshire Bank 50%   NatWest 56%
Lloyds 47%   RBS 55%
Halifax 46%   Lloyds 55%
NatWest 43%   Barclays 53%
RBS 38%   HSBC 51%
Provider Best customer service (Phone   Provider Best customer service (Branch)
First Direct 85%   Clydesdale Bank 77%
Co-op 71%   Bank of Scotland 67%
Nationwide 61%   Nationwide 67%
Yorkshire Bank 58%   TSB 66%
Bank of Scotland 57%   Yorkshire Bank 62%
TSB 52%   Santander 61%
Clydesdale Bank 51%   Lloyds 61%
RBS 51%   Halifax 60%
Santander 50%   Co-op 59%
Halifax 50%   NatWest 59%
Barclays 46%   RBS 58%
Lloyds 44%   First Direct 58%
NatWest 43%   Barclays 56%
HSBC 43%   HSBC 55%
Provider Best customer service (Online)   Provider Best switching service
First Direct 82%   Clydesdale Bank 89%
Clydesdale Bank 80%   First Direct 72%
TSB 75%   TSB 65%
Yorkshire Bank 74%   Santander 63%
Bank of Scotland 73%   Nationwide 62%
Nationwide 73%   Halifax 59%
Santander 68%   Bank of Scotland 55%
Halifax 67%   NatWest 54%
Lloyds 66%   Barclays 54%
RBS 65%   Lloyds 53%
NatWest 65%   HSBC 52%
Co-op 64%   Co-op 51%
HSBC 64%   RBS 42%
Barclays 62%   Yorkshire Bank 36%
Provider Best Online service   Provider Best App
First Direct 84%   Clydesdale Bank 72%
Clydesdale Bank 78%   First Direct 68%
Nationwide 76%   Nationwide 62%
Yorkshire Bank 72%   NatWest 61%
TSB 72%   TSB 60%
Halifax 70%   RBS 58%
Co-op 69%   Bank of Scotland 58%
Lloyds 68%   Halifax 57%
Santander 68%   Barclays 57%
NatWest 67%   Santander 57%
Bank of Scotland 67%   Yorkshire Bank 56%
Barclays 64%   Co-op 56%
HSBC 63%   Lloyds 53%
RBS 62%   HSBC 51%


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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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