Challenger banks sweep consumer satisfaction survey

The latest official banking consumer satisfaction survey from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has revealed that digital challenger banks Monzo, Starling and First Direct are consistently ranked far above their traditional banking peers.

The research, carried out between July 2019 and June 2020 by Ipsos MORI, with around 1,000 customers from each bank (19,141 people in total), showed that when asked how likely they would be to recommend their personal current account provider to friends and family, Monzo came top with 86 per cent.

It was followed by Starling Bank on 84 per cent, First Direct with 83 per cent, Metro Bank with 81 per cent and Nationwide with 71 per cent.

We asked customers how likely they would be to recommend their provider’s online and mobile banking services to friends and family, again Monzo came first with 89 per cent, followed by Starling on 88 per cent, Metro Bank with 85 per cent, First Direct with 83 per cent and Nationwide with 81 per cent.

Monzo, Starling, First Direct and Metro Bank also held the highest positions for overdraft services, but of course in terms of branch services, the digital-only players could not compete. In this section of the survey Metro Bank came top with 84 per cent, followed by Nationwide on 77 per cent, Virgin Money on 74 per cent, then Halifax and Lloyds Bank tied with 69 per cent.

Done on a six-month rolling basis for the last three years, the latest figures give new details on customer satisfaction since February, and for the first time include Monzo and Starling and Virgin Money.

Adam Land, senior director at the CMA, said: “These league tables are an invaluable resource for customers to find the best service on offer to suit their needs – by being able to access data on the best and worst performing banks and building societies, people can easily compare providers, driving more competition to improve the overall quality of service.

“These results only cover the initial impact of the Coronavirus outbreak,” he noted, adding that future surveys will better highlight how customer satisfaction has been influenced by the pandemic.

Commenting on the results, Encompass Corporation chief executive Wayne Johnson said that consumer attitudes have shifted in regards to banking, with more people than ever recognising the benefits of a bank that prioritises digital services.

"FinTech and online services have taken on greater importance throughout the COVID-19 crisis, as remote and mobile access shifts from convenience to necessity.

"Banks that are still trying to operate legacy systems must understand that they have a responsibility to provide this seamless experience at all times, which has been the catalyst for many pushing their digital transformation initiatives to the top of the agenda."

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