The best current accounts - as voted by you
For more winners read: Best customer service for car insurance - as voted by you
Ten million UK customers can't think of one reason to recommend their bank and 40% are dissatisfied or indifferent towards it, according to research from Triodos Bank.
Record numbers of people are fed up with the financial service they receive and we believe it's time things changed.
Each year we encourage people to get talking about the financial companies they deal with in our Great British Customer Service Survey. The survey is currently running so why not let us know how your financial service provider is treating you (and stand the chance to win £1,000 in our prize draw).
More than 10,000 customers took part last year and the results revealed a great deal about which companies were taking their account holders seriously. So if you aren't happy with the service you're getting on your current account, check out the results of last year's survey to find out which banks consumers rate and which ones they don't.
Results from last year's survey
Current Account Providers:
The clear winners for current account providers, coming top in several categories, were First Direct, Smile and the Coventry Building Society, while bottom of the pile throughout were Abbey and Alliance & Leicester (now Santander).
First Direct and Smile's performance was based largely around their online and call centre service whilst Coventry Building Society seems to be the way to go if you prefer to do your banking in a branch.
Best Online Service:
If you hardly ever set foot in a bank branch, Smile and First Direct seem the logical choice (coming first and second respectively) with customers loving their online service whilst enjoying strong support from their call centres.
Commenting on Smile one respondent said: "During the many years I have banked with Smile I can only remember one small problem occurring which was sorted out with one phone call. Although it is not the best account for interest I find the reliability of the service outweighs any small difference in income to the account."
Other strong performers were Coventry Building Society, The Co-operative Bank and Cahoot. Worst performers online according to their customers are Clydesdale, Santander and Yorkshire Bank.
Best Call Centre Service:
First Direct again stormed into first place, with Smile and Coventry BS in joint second. One respondent said: "First Direct is a very friendly bank, I am surprised at the level of service I have received from them. I love the fact you don't get transferred nor do you have put up with automated phone systems."
Abbey were rubbished as the worst provider for call centre service, followed closely by Barclays and Lloyds TSB.
Best Branch-based Service:
Coventry BS topped the chart with The Co-operative Bank in second. In what may be a surprise to some, Royal Bank of Scotland came third which makes them top on Branch-based service for the big banks. Nationwide Building Society and Bank of Scotland completed the top five.
The worst performer in this sector was Intelligent Finance, and Abbey came in lowest of the big banks yet again.
Vote now in the 2011 survey
For the third year running we're asking you to tell us who deserves to be crowned top for customer service and who should be shown up for shoddy performance.
Now it's your turn to take part in this year's survey and speak out about the financial services you love or hate, and to reward you for your time there's a chance to win £1,000 or one of five £50 shopping vouchers.
Detailing average scores out of 10 as voted by the customers here follows a snippet from the full results of the survey:
|Company||Votes||Online service score||Call centre service score||Branch service score||Overall customer service score|
|Bank of Scotland||185||8.3||6.6||7.7||7.6|
|Alliance & Leicester (now Santander)||871||8.1||6.7||7.1||7.4|
|Abbey (now Santander)||449||7.4||5.2||6.4||6.3|
Let us know your thoughts on these and don't forget to vote in the 2011 survey.
An account opened with a clearing bank (few building societies offer current accounts) that provides the ability to draw cash (usually via a debit card) or cheques from the account. Some pay fairly minimal rates of interest if the account is in credit. Most current accounts insist your monthly income (salary or pension) is paid directly in each month and they offer a number of optional services – such as overdrafts and charge cards – which are negotiable but will incur fees.
This is a mutual organisation owned by its members and not by shareholders. These societies offer a range of financial services but have historically concentrated on taking deposits from savers and lending the money to borrowers as mortgages, hence the name. In the mid-1990s many societies “demutualised” and became banks. One academic study (Heffernan, 2003) found demutualised societies’ pricing on deposits and mortgages was more favourable to shareholders than to customers, with the remaining mutual building societies offering consistently better rates. In 1900, there were 2,286 building societies in the UK; in 2011, there are just 51.