Consumers ‘prefer’ challenger banks over High Street names

While four in 10 current account holders have been with the same bank for over 20 years, challenger banks are outperforming traditional High Street banks on customer satisfaction, according to research from Which?.

The consumer organisation surveyed 4,400 members of the public on their opinions of their current account providers – finding that three challenger banks – Starling Bank, Monzo, and Triodos – were most highly rated by customers.

Starling Bank also received a high enough score in Which?’s product analysis to be named a Which? Recommended Provider (WRP). It is joined by First Direct and Nationwide Building Society.

Which? said that many traditional banks are landing at the bottom of its customer satisfaction table, often ranking poorly for service in branches and receiving mediocre scores across all other categories.

Royal Bank of Scotland was bottom of the table – which means it has been one of the three lowest-ranked banks for customer score every year since 2014. FStech has approached RBS for comment.

HSBC and TSB were also in the bottom three.

When Which? asked people what they like about their current accounts, most cited online banking facilities - 47 per cent - positive past experiences - 34 per cent - and mobile banking facilities - 32 per cent.

Four challenger banks achieved high customer scores, but missed out on becoming WRPs by not meeting all of Which?’s criteria: Triodos and Metro Bank got lower-than-average scores in Which?’s own product analysis, while Monzo and Triodos have not signed up to an important industry code for reimbursing scam victims.

Revolut also missed out on being a WRP as they are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

“While many current account holders stick with their banks over many years, we found leading challenger banks are ahead of the traditional high street names in terms of customer satisfaction,” said Jenny Ross, Which? money editor. “Our research shows a clear gap between the best and worst providers, and this should encourage customers unhappy with their service to switch banks, as it’s never been easier.

“With the cost-of-living soaring, it’s vital to get the most out of your current account. Switching can bring great incentives such as cash bonuses, accounts paying interest on your balance and even cashback on your purchases.”

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