Press release:

Trust in banks dives but satisfaction is on the rise

  • Customer’s trust in their bank plummets as the uSwitch.com Current Account Awards are announced[1] – but overall satisfaction is on the rise[2]
  • Big high street banks rooted to the bottom of the table for customer satisfaction[3] with RBS taking the wooden spoon for the third time in four years[4]
  • First Direct sweeps the board, picking up ten awards[5] with Nationwide Building Society scoops remaining two[6]
  • HSBC narrowly avoids a second successive year in last spot overall but comes last in most categories – seven out of twelve categories[7]
  • Current account holders remain unimpressed with rewards on offer from their banks[8].

Over the past year, customers’ trust in their banks has taken a rapid nose dive according to the latest Current Account Awards[1] announced by uSwitch.com, the price comparison and switching service. However, at the same time, the overall satisfaction of customer’s day-to-day dealings with their banks is on the increase[2].

This loss of confidence has seen the trust ratings for every single bank slip when compared to the previous awards[1]. The worst offender, RBS, saw trust fall by a third (64% to 42%), at the other end of the spectrum, Nationwide had the smallest drop with just a 7% dip in customer trust[9].

While trust fell, overall satisfaction is on the rise with ratings for almost every provider improving, highlighting that customers feel their banks are getting it right in the day to day services they provide[2]. Despite this, there is a clear divide between the service provided by the main high street banks compared to the smaller competitors and building societies, with the latter consistently outperforming the former.

The overall winner, First Direct, claimed top spot for the second year in a row and was ranked number one in ten out of a possible twelve categories, including winning the award for Best Overall Customer Service and Best Switching Service[5]. First Direct didn’t have it all its own way though and failed to impress customers when it comes to rewards, coming eighth in the Best Rewards category[10].

While Frist Direct once again impressed, its parent bank, HSBC, was ranked bottom in the most categories (seven in total), including all of the customer service awards (branch, phone, online and overall)[7]. Highlighting that putting customers first really does make a difference.

Nationwide came second overall, and is the outright winner for Best Rewards as well as Best – Branch Customer Service. The building society again showed it care for customers, placing second in nine awards[6].

The results reveal a disparity between customer satisfaction for online services and personal interaction with banks over the phone or in branch. Online services scored a higher combined average satisfaction rating of 63% compared to face-to-face services which only averaged 52%[12]. Online customer service was also the most impressive category of the awards with every provider improving their ratings[13].

The award which saw banks perform worst in was the Best Rewards category, with an average rating of just 30% across all the awards[8]. This is likely to be linked to the reduction in rewards on offer over the last year, with the likes of Santander, Halifax, Lloyds and TSB all cutting back on the perks offered to customers[14].

Tashema Jackson, money expert at uSwitch.com, says: “The fact that we have seen this alarming dip in trust, compared to the increase in overall customer satisfaction, shows that customers’ relationships with their banks is a marriage of convenience rather than one of romance.

“This decline in customer trust is definitely of concern and something that needs to be addressed by all the banks sooner rather than later if they wish to retain their customers, especially with the challenger banks continuing to go from strength to strength. With some of the better-known banks having fared the worst in this category, it’s safe to say they have the most work to do to regain their customers’ trust.

“We have seen how First Direct and Nationwide consistently get their act, demonstrating the importance of delivering great customer service all the time. The main task for the big players is to provide customers with an all-encompassing high standard of service that meets the needs of the modern-day customer, or risk falling even further behind. Likewise, customers seem to want something more in return than the banks currently offer as a reward for giving them their business.”

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

— ends —

Notes to editors

All research referred to was conducted online by Opinium from 10th August 2017 to 14th August 2017 among 10,001 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 results were based on research conducted online by CensusWide from 9th August 2016 to 9th September 2016 among 10,038 current account holders.

  1. In the Most Trusted award category, every provider had a decrease in their satisfaction rating. See full results tables below.
  2. Overall satisfaction has improved with all providers either increasing or maintaining their rating in 2017 from 2016.
  3. None of the high street banks – RBS, Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC – came out on top for any categories. See full results tables below.
  4. RBS came 12th in the Overall Satisfaction category in 2017, after also placing last in 2016, 2015 and 2014. RBS also came last in fourth other categories; Best Current Account, Value for Money, Most Trusted and Best Switching Service. See full results tables for 2017 below and previous year’s results tables at the bottom of the respective releases – 20162015 and 2014.
  5. First Direct has come first in ten out of 12 categories in 2017; Best Current Account, Overall Satisfaction, Most Trusted, Value for Money, Best Customer Service (Overall), Best Customer Service (Phone), Best Customer Service (Online), Best Switching Service, Best Online Service and Best App. See full results table below. It is also the second year First Direct has won ten our of 12 awards – see 2016 release and results table.
  6. Nationwide won two awards; Best Rewards and Best Customer Service (Branch). Nationwide came in second place for nine awards; Best Current Account, Overall Satisfaction, Most Trusted, Value for Money, Best Customer Service (Overall), Best Customer Service (Online), Best Switching Service, Best Online Service and Best App. See full results table below.
  7. HSBC placed at the bottom of the table for the following awards in 2017; Best Rewards, Best Customer Service (Overall), Best Customer Service (Phone), Best Customer Service (Branch), Best Customer Service (Online), Best Online Service and Best App. See full results tables below. It is the second year that HSBC has been at the bottom of the table for Best Online Service – see 2016 release results tables.
  8. Average of satisfaction results in 2017 for the Best Rewards category is 30% (sum of all scores divided by the sum of respondents). This is the lowest average of satisfaction results for any category in 2017 (average of satisfaction results for each category calculated as the sum of all scores divided by the sum of respondents).
  9. In 2016 RBS scored a satisfaction rating of 64% which dropped 22% to 42% in 2017. Nationwide scored 83% in 2016 compared to 76% in 2017 which is a 7% decrease in satisfaction. See full results tables below.
  10. First Direct came in at number 8 for Best rewards. See full results table below.
  11. In 2016 First Direct scored 73% in the Best Current Account award and Nationwide scored 66% (a 7% difference). In 2017 First Direct scored 70% in the Best Current Account award and Nationwide scored 68% (2% difference). See full results tables below.
  12. Interaction comparison calculated by sum of all scores divided by the sum of respondents for digital categories (Best Customer Service (Online) + Best Online Customer Service + Best App) and personal-contact categories (Best Customer Service (Phone) + Best Customer Service (Branch)).
  13. There was an increase in satisfaction ratings for all providers in 2017 compared to 2016 for Best Customer Service (Online). See full results tables below.
  14. Santander, Halifax, Lloyds and TSB all announced cuts to their current account rewards at the end of 2016 which came into effect in early 2017 – https://www.ft.com/content/c57d9d92-9127-11e6-a72e-b428cb934b78.
  15. Questions asked for each award as per below table:

Award Category Survey Questions / Award Calculations
Best Current Account Based on uSwitch.com analysis of overall satisfaction ratings across all categories.
Overall Satisfaction 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.
Most Trusted How much do you trust your main current account provider?
Value for Money Taking account of everything your current account provides along with its rates, charges, service and technology, how satisfied are you with the value for money you receive from your main current account?
Best Rewards How satisfied are you with the extras (e.g. gadget insurance, travel insurance, airport lounge access vouchers, rewards etc…) offered by your MAIN current account provider? Please consider the size of the benefits/incentives and the ease of claiming them.
Best Customer Service (Overall) Sum of all customer service categories that follows.
Best customer Service (Phone) Overall how satisfied are you with each the different customer service types you’ve received from your main current account provider? Please consider all the factors that contribute to service in this area, such as the length of time to communicate, having helpful staff effective with dealing with your issue. – Phone
Best customer Service (Branch) Overall how satisfied are you with each the different customer service types you’ve received from your main current account provider? Please consider all the factors that contribute to service in this area, such as the length of time to communicate, having helpful staff effective with dealing with your issue. – Branch
Best customer Service (Online) Overall how satisfied are you with each the different customer service types you’ve received from your main current account provider? Please consider all the factors that contribute to service in this area, such as the length of time to communicate, having helpful staff effective with dealing with your issue. – Online
Best Switching Service Respondents who has switched their main current account in the last four years, were asked – How satisfied were you with the in-house switching team at your main current account provider?
Best Online Service How satisfied are you with the online banking service offered by your main current account provider? Think about the desktop/laptop/tablet/mobile browser service, do not include apps. Please consider all factors including the ease of use, range and quality of the services available, reliability, everything.
Best App How satisfied are you with the online banking app offered by your main current account provider? Think about the tablet/mobile app service, do not include the browser service. Please consider all factors including the ease of use, range and quality of the services available, reliability, everything.

 

Full list of winners and runner ups across all categories:

Award Category Winner Runner Up
Best Current Account First Direct Nationwide
Overall Satisfaction First Direct Nationwide
Most Trusted First Direct Nationwide
Best Customer Service (Branch) Nationwide TSB
Best Customer Service (Phone) First Direct Co-operative Bank
Best Customer Service (Online) First Direct Nationwide
Best Customer Service (Overall) First Direct Nationwide
Value for Money First Direct Nationwide
Best Switching Service First Direct Nationwide
Best Online Service First Direct Nationwide
Best App First Direct Nationwide
Best Rewards Nationwide TSB

 

 

Top 12 award category findings below:

 

Best Current Account
Rank Provider 2017 Score 2016 Score
1 First Direct 70% 73%
2 Nationwide 68% 66%
3 Co-operative Bank 61% 62%
4 TSB 59% 62%
5 Halifax 59% 58%
6 Santander 59% 57%
7 Lloyds 58% 57%
8 Bank of Scotland 56% 59%
9 Barclays 56% 56%
10 NatWest 55% 56%
11 HSBC 50% 52%
12 Royal Bank of Scotland 49% 53%
Overall Satisfaction
Rank Provider 2017 Score 2016 Score
1 First Direct 82% 78%
2 Nationwide 75% 69%
3 Co-operative Bank 68% 62%
4 TSB 65% 60%
5 Santander 63% 54%
6 Halifax 63% 57%
7 Barclays 60% 52%
8 Lloyds 60% 55%
9 NatWest 57% 52%
10 Bank of Scotland 56% 54%
11 HSBC 55% 51%
12 Royal Bank of Scotland 49% 49%
Most Trusted
Rank Provider 2017 Score 2016 Score
1 First Direct 76% 87%
2 Nationwide 76% 83%
3 Co-operative Bank 67% 81%
4 TSB 64% 76%
5 Halifax 62% 73%
6 Lloyds 59% 73%
7 Santander 58% 72%
8 Barclays 57% 72%
9 HSBC 57% 73%
10 NatWest 56% 70%
11 Bank of Scotland 54% 74%
12 Royal Bank of Scotland 42% 64%
Best Customer Service (Branch)
Rank Provider 2017 Score 2016 Score
1 Nationwide 72% 65%
2 TSB 65% 63%
3 Santander 62% 57%
4 Halifax 60% 56%
5 Lloyds 59% 58%
6 Co-operative Bank 57% 61%
7 Bank of Scotland 56% 58%
8 Royal Bank of Scotland 56% 55%
9 NatWest 56% 57%
10 Barclays 54% 54%
11 HSBC 53% 53%
12 First Direct N/A N/A
Best Customer Service (Phone)
Rank Provider 2017 Score 2016 Score
1 First Direct 79% 83%
2 Co-operative Bank 67% 65%
3 Nationwide 60% 57%
4 Bank of Scotland 56% 51%
5 Halifax 53% 51%
6 Royal Bank of Scotland 52% 49%
7 Santander 52% 49%
8 TSB 51% 53%
9 Lloyds 50% 48%
10 Barclays 48% 44%
11 NatWest 46% 49%
12 HSBC 45% 41%
Best Customer Service (Online)
Rank Provider 2017Score 2016 Score
1 First Direct 78% 76%
2 Nationwide 75% 70%
3 Lloyds 70% 61%
4 Santander 70% 62%
5 Co-operative Bank 69% 64%
6 TSB 68% 64%
7 Halifax 68% 59%
8 Bank of Scotland 67% 61%
9 Barclays 65% 58%
10 NatWest 65% 59%
11 Royal Bank of Scotland 64% 58%
12 HSBC 60% 52%
Best Customer Service (Overall)
Rank Provider 2017 Score 2016 Score
1 First Direct 71% 73%
2 Nationwide 68% 64%
3 Co-operative Bank 61% 63%
4 Santander 61% 56%
5 Halifax 61% 55%
6 Lloyds 61% 56%
7 Bank of Scotland 59% 57%
8 TSB 59% 60%
9 NatWest 58% 55%
10 Barclays 58% 52%
11 Royal Bank of Scotland 57% 54%
12 HSBC 51% 49%
Value for Money
Rank Provider 2017 Score 2016 Score
1 First Direct 69% 72%
2 Nationwide 64% 63%
3 Co-operative Bank 61% 61%
4 TSB 57% 53%
5 Santander 50% 50%
6 Barclays 49% 49%
7 Halifax 48% 51%
8 Lloyds 47% 50%
9 HSBC 46% 48%
10 Bank of Scotland 44% 53%
11 NatWest 44% 49%
12 Royal Bank of Scotland 37% 44%
Best Switching Service
Rank Provider 2017 Score 2016 Score
1 First Direct 74% 82%
2 Nationwide 66% 67%
3 TSB 64% 68%
4 Halifax 63% 61%
5 Santander 63% 61%
6 Co-operative Bank 63% 61%
7 Bank of Scotland 59% 62%
8 NatWest 49% 58%
9 HSBC 48% 54%
10 Barclays 47% 58%
11 Lloyds 47% 56%
12 Royal Bank of Scotland 36% 54%
 Best Online Service
Rank Provider 2017 Score 2016 Score
1 First Direct 80% 82%
2 Nationwide 78% 76%
3 Halifax 72% 67%
4 Lloyds 72% 68%
5 Co-operative Bank 72% 72%
6 Santander 71% 67%
7 TSB 70% 73%
8 Barclays 68% 65%
9 NatWest 68% 66%
10 Bank of Scotland 68% 67%
11 Royal Bank of Scotland 62% 63%
12 HSBC 61% 62%
Best App
Rank Provider 2017 Score 2016 Score
1 First Direct 74% 76%
2 Nationwide 72% 73%
3 Lloyds 69% 68%
4 NatWest 68% 70%
5 Halifax 67% 71%
6 Santander 66% 68%
7 Barclays 65% 72%
8 Bank of Scotland 65% 71%
9 Co-operative Bank 62% 67%
10 TSB 60% 70%
11 Royal Bank of Scotland 59% 69%
12 HSBC 55% 58%
Best Rewards
Rank Provider 2017 Score 2016 Score
1 Nationwide 47% 39%
2 TSB 39% 37%
3 Lloyds 35% 31%
4 Barclays 32% 34%
5 Bank of Scotland 31% 37%
6 Halifax 29% 37%
7 Co-operative Bank 28% 29%
8 First Direct 27% 28%
9 NatWest 27% 29%
10 Santander 26% 34%
11 Royal Bank of Scotland 24% 27%
12 HSBC 19% 28%

About us

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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