The best current accounts - as voted by you

Published by Rebecca Rutt on 11 February 2011.
Last updated on 03 March 2011

Customer service crossword

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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.

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