Press release:

Big banks beaten by smaller rivals in the customer satisfaction stakes

  • Britain’s biggest high street banks – RBS, HSBC, Barclays and Lloyds – once again fail to secure a top three spot[1] in the uSwitch Current Accounts Awards
  • RBS voted worst for Overall Satisfaction for the third year in a row[2], while HSBC comes last in seven categories[3]
  • First Direct is top performer again, winning ten out of 12 awards[4], with Nationwide claiming the remaining top spots[5]
  • Clydesdale Bank is the biggest faller – dropping nine places[6], while the Co-operative Bank climbs into the top three[7]
  • Customers unimpressed with online experience[8], and satisfaction with current account rewards plummets[9].

New figures, from a survey of 10,000 current account customers, shows that once again Britain’s big banks have been beaten by their smaller rival in the customer satisfaction stakes – according to, the independent price comparison and switching website.

The survey reveals that RBS has taken the wooden spoon for Overall Satisfaction, for the third year in a row[2], being voted the worst provider overall by its customers. However, the biggest loser is HSBC which has come bottom in seven categories including Best Customer Service (branch), Best Current Account, and Best App[3].

However, RBS and HSBC aren’t the only providers disappointing their customers over the past 12 months. Clydesdale Bank has seen the biggest falls compared to last year, sliding in eight out of the 12 categories including Best Customer Service (branch) and Best Switching Service[6], which they topped last year. Clydesdale also slumped from second to 11th in the Overall Satisfaction category[6].

At the other end of the tables, First Direct – HSBC’s sister bank – has swept the board again, topping ten of the 12 categories including the coveted Best Current Account as well as the Most Trusted and Best Customer Service awards[4]. The online and phone-based bank has only been denied a full house by Nationwide which has scooped top spots in the Best Rewards and Best Customer Service (branch) categories[5].

While the Co-operative Bank didn’t win any categories, things may have turned a corner as it scored higher in ten out of the 12 categories than a year ago[5]. Having seemingly put the bad times behind it, the Manchester-based bank has seen improvements in its scores for Best Customer Service (overall), Value for Money and Online Service – as well as rising from fifth to third place in the Overall Satisfaction category[6].

While the survey reveals clear winners and losers amongst the banks, it also highlights changing customer attitudes. Traditional reward schemes no longer seem to be providing customers with the same level of satisfaction, with scores tumbling in the Best Rewards category[9], while the banks’ overall value for money ranking remains around the 50% mark[10].

Tashema Jackson, money expert at, says: “Current accounts are usually the most important part of people’s dealings with their bank, so choosing the right provider is imperative. As a result, and unsurprisingly, how banks treats their customers’ remains the barometer by which they are judged, and it is no surprise to see those that scored highly in the customer service categories dominate the overall satisfaction table.

“Getting the balance right is proving to be the biggest challenge for banks, because while branch customer service is on the rise, there has been a noticeable drop in customer satisfaction with the online service provided. Given the rise in online-only banks, the high street needs to get its act together or could find itself losing out to these digitally switched on challengers.

“The task for the big banks remains to provide a great service for all customers, whether face to face, online or over the phone. With both First Direct and Nationwide consistently getting it right, it shows that regardless of whether you offer a bricks or clicks service meeting your customers’ expectations is the sure fire way to success.

“Given the consistent low marks from some of the big banks, you have to question whether they are genuinely interested in keeping their customers happy, so it is no surprise that they continue to lose customers to the challengers. To stay ahead of the competition, the high street banks will need to up their game and start putting customers first.”

 For more information visit or call 0800 093 06 07

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Notes to editors

Notes to editors

Research referred to in the release was conducted online by CensusWide from 9th August 2016 to 9th September 2016 among 10,038 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 9th to 16th March 2015 among 10,301 current account holders.

  1. None of the ‘big four’ banks – RBS, Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC – came top in any categories. See full results below.
  2. RBS came 13th for ‘Overall Satisfaction’, this year, after also placing in last place in 2015 and 2014.
  3. This year HSBC placed last for ‘Best Current Account’, ‘Best Customer service (overall), ‘Best Customer service (phone), ‘Best Customer service (branch), ‘Best Customer service (online), ‘Best Online service’ and ‘Best App’.
  4. First Direct came first in the following categories: ‘Best Current Account’, ‘Overall Satisfaction’, ‘Most Trusted’, ‘Best Value for Money’, ‘Best Customer service (overall), ‘Best Customer service (phone), ‘Best Customer service (online), ‘Best Switching Service’, ‘Best Online service’ and ‘Best App’.
  5. Nationwide came first in the ‘Best Customer Service (branch)’ and TSB topped the ‘Best Rewards’ table.
  6. Clydesdale Bank placed 11th in the ‘Overall Satisfaction’ table this year, compared to 2nd in 2015. It placed 11th ‘Best Current Account’ compared to 3rd in 2015, 6th ‘Best Customer service (overall)’ compared to 2nd in 2015, 4th ‘Best Customer Service (branch)’ compared to 1st in 2015, 12th ‘Best Customer service (online)’ compared to 2nd in 2015, 13th ‘Best Switching Service’ compared to 1st in 2015, 13th ‘Best Online service’ compared to 2nd in 2015 and 12th ‘Best App’ compared to 1st in 2015.
  7. Co-operative Bank placed 3rd in ‘Overall Satisfaction’ compared to 5th in 2015. It also placed 3rd ‘Best Current Account’ compared to 7th in 2015, 3rd ‘Most Trusted’ compared to 4th in 2015, 3rd ‘Value for Money’ compared to in 2015, 3rd ‘Best Customer service (overall)’ compared to 8th in 2015, 3rd ‘Best Customer service (branch) compared to 9th in 2015, 3rd ‘Best Customer service (online)’ compared to 12th in 2015, 5th ‘Best Switching Service’ compared to 12th in 2015, 4th ‘Best Online service’ compared to 7th in 2015 and 11th ‘Best App’ compared to 12th in 2015.
  8. Satisfaction with ‘Best Online Services’ was 61% in 2016 compared to 68% in 2015.
  9. Overall satisfaction with ‘Rewards’ was 33% in 2016 down from 52% in 2016.
  10. ‘Value for Money’ satisfaction was 52% in 2016, which was identical to the 52% from 2015.

Full findings:

Rank Provider Best Current Account Rank Provider Overall Satisfaction
1 First Direct 73% 1 First Direct 78%
2 Nationwide 66% 2 Nationwide 69%
3 Co-operative Bank 62% 3 Co-operative Bank 62%
4 TSB 62% 4 TSB 60%
5 Bank of Scotland 59% 5 Halifax 57%
6 Halifax 58% 6 Lloyds 55%
7 Santander 57% 7 Bank of Scotland 54%
8 Lloyds 57% 8 Santander 54%
9 NatWest 56% 9 Barclays 52%
10 Barclays 56% 10 NatWest 52%
11 Clydesdale Bank 54% 11 Clydesdale Bank 51%
12 RBS 53% 12 HSBC 51%
13 HSBC 52% 13 RBS 49%
Rank Provider Most trusted Rank Provider Value for Money
1 First Direct 87% 1 First Direct 72%
2 Nationwide 83% 2 Nationwide 63%
3 Co-operative Bank 81% 3 Co-operative Bank 61%
4 TSB 76% 4 TSB 53%
5 Bank of Scotland 74% 5 Bank of Scotland 53%
6 HSBC 73% 6 Halifax 51%
7 Lloyds 73% 7 Santander 50%
8 Halifax 73% 8 Lloyds 50%
9 Santander 72% 9 NatWest 49%
10 Barclays 72% 10 Barclays 49%
11 NatWest 70% 11 HSBC 48%
12 Clydesdale Bank 67% 12 RBS 44%
13 RBS 64% 13 Clydesdale Bank 43%
Rank Provider Best Rewards Rank Provider Best Customer Service
1 Nationwide 39% 1 First Direct 73%
2 TSB 37% 2 Nationwide 64%
3 Bank of Scotland 37% 3 Co-operative Bank 63%
4 Halifax 37% 4 TSB 60%
5 Barclays 34% 5 Bank of Scotland 57%
6 Clydesdale Bank 34% 6 Clydesdale Bank 57%
7 Santander 34% 7 Santander 56%
8 Lloyds 31% 8 Lloyds 56%
9 NatWest 29% 9 NatWest 55%
10 Co-operative Bank 29% 10 Halifax 55%
11 First Direct 28% 11 RBS 54%
12 HSBC 28% 12 Barclays 52%
13 RBS 27% 13 HSBC 49%
Rank Provider Best Customer Service (phone) Rank Provider Best Customer Service
1 First Direct 83% 1 Nationwide 65%
2 Co-operative Bank 65% 2 TSB 63%
3 Nationwide 57% 3 Co-operative Bank 61%
4 Clydesdale Bank 54% 4 Clydesdale Bank 59%
5 TSB 53% 5 Lloyds 58%
6 Bank of Scotland 51% 6 Bank of Scotland 58%
7 Halifax 51% 7 Santander 57%
8 NatWest 49% 8 NatWest 57%
9 Santander 49% 9 Halifax 56%
10 RBS 49% 10 RBS 55%
11 Lloyds 48% 11 Barclays 54%
12 Barclays 44% 12 HSBC 53%
13 HSBC 41% 13 First Direct N/A
Rank Provider Best Customer Service (online) Rank Provider Best Switching Service
1 First Direct 76% 1 First Direct 82%
2 Nationwide 70% 2 TSB 68%
3 Co-operative Bank 64% 3 Nationwide 67%
4 TSB 64% 4 Bank of Scotland 62%
5 Santander 62% 5 Co-operative Bank 61%
6 Bank of Scotland 61% 6 Halifax 61%
7 Lloyds 61% 7 Santander 61%
8 NatWest 59% 8 NatWest 58%
9 Halifax 59% 9 Barclays 58%
10 Barclays 58% 10 Lloyds 56%
11 RBS 58% 11 HSBC 54%
12 Clydesdale Bank 56% 12 RBS 54%
13 HSBC 52% 13 Clydesdale Bank 53%
Rank Provider Best Online Service Rank Provider Best App
1 First Direct 82% 1 First Direct 76%
2 Nationwide 76% 2 Nationwide 73%
3 TSB 73% 3 Barclays 72%
4 Co-operative Bank 72% 4 Halifax 71%
5 Lloyds 68% 5 Bank of Scotland 71%
6 Halifax 67% 6 NatWest 70%
7 Bank of Scotland 67% 7 TSB 70%
8 Santander 67% 8 RBS 69%
9 NatWest 66% 9 Lloyds 68%
10 Barclays 65% 10 Santander 68%
11 RBS 63% 11 Co-operative Bank 67%
12 Clydesdale Bank 62% 12 Clydesdale Bank 58%
13 HSBC 62% 13 HSBC 58%



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