The best current accounts - as voted by you

For more winners read: Best customer service for car insurance - as voted by you

The best credit cards for customer service - 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.

The results

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
First Direct 802 9.4 9.4 7.2 9.3
Smile 142 9.6 9 7.4 9.3
Coventry BS 200 9.2 9 9 9.2
The Co-operative 150 8.9 8.7 8.4 8.7
Cahoot 70 8.7 7 4.5 8.1
RBS 390 8.5 7.4 8.1 8.1
Nationwide 746 8.7 7.2 7.9 8
Intelligent Finance 66 8.4 7.5 3.8 7.8
NatWest 1,037 8.6 6.9 7.6 7.7
Bank of Scotland 185 8.3 6.6 7.7 7.6
Lloyds TSB 1,342 8.5 6.4 7.6 7.6
Yorkshire Bank 100 7.5 6.8 7.4 7.6
Alliance & Leicester (now Santander) 871 8.1 6.7 7.1 7.4
Halifax 910 8.2 6.5 7.4 7.4
HSBC 940 8.4 6.5 7.3 7.4
Barclays 1,083 8.3 5.9 7.4 7.3
Clydesdale 73 7 6.3 7.4 7.3
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.

Your Comments

How does First Direct & Smile score 7.2 & 7.4 on their Branch Service Score when they don't even have branches??? Dodgy Surveyt! Dodgy Results! Dodgy Website!

I have banked with First DIrect since they opened. Throughout that time I have been delighted withthe service. Nothng is too much trouble and on the rae occasion there has been a probelm they have worked hard and quickly to get it resolved. First Class service from First Direct a firsct class bank

I think its a bit unfair to include First Direct, as they do not have Branches and are online / telephone only, which I think skews the call centre / online results in their favour.

After the most appalling service from ANY bank I switched accounts after less than a year from A&L to First Direct.A wise decision as I hear it's got worse under Santander!

I would have thought that higher interest rates was more the issue for the average customer than 'overall whatever'(?).

@Amar:  first direct customers are able to do some of their banking at HSBC branches which isn't entirely convenient and might be the reason they rank lower in this category - it also makes sense of the fact that branch scores for HSBC and first direct are similar.

Smile offers a range of branch-type services (importantly cash and cheque deposits) through the Post Office, so even if they don't have physical branches they do offer branch services through an agent.  Again the lower score compared to phone and online based services reflects the inconvenience factor.

Finally the story does flag up the fact that first direct and Smile are best for those who prefer online/phone based banking so your comments seem a bit hasty.


I stuck with Abbey (now Santander) for nearly a year-and-a-half. I initially opened my account there because of the high interest, but ended up writing four complaint letters during that time.

I probably should have left them earlier, but they kept promising me that the were doing everything they could to improve their service. It didn't improve - and in fact seemed to get much worse.

I moved my banking to First Direct and I haven't had a single issue in over twelve months.

I am afraid - i have not found First Direct satisfactory - the secure messaging service is " jOKE"

Very slow response times and i doubt whether they actually read them properly

Amar Shah,as First Direct are part of HSBC,they do have braches.The only thing dodgy are your comments.

I am like many of the above moved from A&L, Santander or whatever name you wish to call them because of poor service to First Direct in November.I have had to ring them 4 times, not due to fault of First Direct but each time they have answered the call on the first ring with a voice at the end of the phone, no call platform and press 1 for this and 2 for that - excellent friendly service.First Direct customers can use HSBC branches so in theory not just an online account.

Thought i would check out first direct only to find that i need to be earning at least £1500 a month to be eligible for the £100 switching offer. I have been with co-operative bank and never had a problem in15 years.

I have found that the interest in current accounts only adds up to a few quid difference, often no difference at all if like me you put any excess monthly balance into savings accounts, yes the rate might be 5%, but 5% of an average balance of say £200 quid really isn't worth it. To me, service is key as this is probably the financial service you use the most.

I tried most of the high street banks, chasing introductory offers and high interest but my conclusion is that the effort isn't worth the reward, one late payment because of transfer problems and you've probably lost all the money you money you've made!

Also, you don't need to earn £1500 a month for FD to be fee free, you just need to pay in £1500, so if you earn say £1000 a month, just transfer £500 into another account and immediately transfer it back.

First Direct, First Class!

Regarding First Direct, another way to bank free with them is to have 2 or more accounts. So open a savings account with £10, and then your current account is free whatever you get paid. I'm only receiving carer's alowance, but have several (mainly defunct) ISAs, so pay nothing for my current account.

A totally first class bank. You can use the phone if you prefer to, I did until a couple of years ago when I took the plunge and do it mostly over the internet. But they're still just a phone call away if I need them, and have been known to phone in the middle of the night in a panic over an impending payment (quicker than starting up the pc).

Best with out any doubt First Direct no more to be said

Smile do have branches - they useThe Cooperative banks - thats where I go if I need to do anything over the counter

I have banked with Barclays for 44years and have found all the services excellent including internet banking, telephone banking and in branch. Just thought i'd speak up for them as they seem to have quite a low score which surprises me.

I have banked with Alliance & Leicester for many years, since changing to Santander I have had nothing but problems. They advised me to change to a different current account, one that pays higher interest. Little did I know the account has extremely high charges if you use card and it is declined, also I told them I do not want an overdraft, and after waiting 2 months for online banking details I mistakenly went overdrawn without knowing and was charged an obscene ammount for the overdraft I did not want in 1st place. I will be saving my money elsewhere

First Direct have total use of the HSBC branch network for the occasions you want to go to a branch..has worked perfectly for me for more than ten years
Not cheap... but would never consider moving my current account to a bank like Santander who even managed to lose my ISA money and took a while to find it again. I want easy fast efficient access.. not premium rate phone numbers, standing in a queue on the phone and a dreadful web site
You get what you pay for in life and i am happy to stay with First Direct even though i know i could get a better deal elsewhere ...but on a customer service front they stand out miles ahead !!

I don't know about Smile, but First Direct do use branches of HSBC for some services - for example, I lost my card abroad, and I was able to draw money out over the counter at HSBC while I waited for a replacement card. Not so dodgy!

FD provide a full branch service though HSBC