Moneywise Customer Service Awards 2017: Who should you trust with your money?

24 August 2017
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Trust is something that is difficult to gain, but easy to lose. That’s why we all need to be confident our financial provider will do the right thing and treat us fairly. Now in its ninth year, the Moneywise Customer Service Awards 2017 is here to highlight which providers have done their customers proud in the past 12 months.

These awards are the authoritative stamp of approval by UK customers of financial services, and they’re based on the biggest survey of financial consumers in Britain. This year the survey, which ran from January to March 2017, saw 50,000 consumers have their say on the biggest banks, insurance firms, and peer-to-peer lenders.

Kate Garraway presenting the Moneywise Customer Service Awards 2017
Moneywise customer service awards 2017 presenter Kate Garraway addresses the audience in her welcome speech.
 

The votes have been counted and verified, and it is now time to reveal the country’s most trusted and best respected financial services companies. We hope this helps you select the companies you do business with.

Most Trusted Providers for 2017

Current accounts and banking

MOST TRUSTED CURRENT ACCOUNT PROVIDER

WINNER: First Direct

Highly commended: Metro Bank

A good current account sets the tone for a bank’s entire proposition. Get it right, and customers will stay loyal, as has happened with this year’s winner. First Direct rewards its customers with an impressive range of linked products, such as its 5% regular saver. Above all, Moneywise readers love First Direct’s consistently good service.

One reader says: “It is easy to speak to real people, rather than an automated system. The website is easy to use and the security is very good. In all the years I have been with First Direct, I have not had a single thing to complain or worry about.”

Highly commended in this category is Metro Bank, with customers praising its straightforward style and the fact there are few hidden costs associated with its current account.

BEST CURRENT ACCOUNT PROVIDER FOR BRANCH SERVICE

WINNER: Metro Bank

Highly commended: Nationwide Building Society

While some providers cut back their branch numbers and opening hours, Metro Bank has taken an alternative view. Its branches are open seven days a week, 362 days a year – closing only on Christmas, New Year’s Day and Easter Sunday.

Metro Bank also offers much longer opening hours than other banks – customers can visit branches from 8am to 8pm every weekday, from 8am to 6pm on Saturdays, and from 11am to 5pm on Sundays. One customer says: “The service and experience are by far the best I have ever come across.”

Nationwide is highly commended in this category, having invested in its branch network in the past 12 months. One voter says: “Any queries or questions put to the branch colleagues are always answered promptly. This shows a high level of training and consistency in the job that they do.”

BEST CURRENT ACCOUNT PROVIDER FOR CALL CENTRE SERVICE

WINNER: First Direct

Highly commended: Metro Bank

Established in 1989 as one of the first telephone banks, First Direct has enjoyed a stellar reputation ever since. Moneywise readers say the bank continues to offer the best telephone banking in the market.

“First Direct operates a fantastic call centre with very knowledgeable, helpful and friendly staff,” one reader says. “The level of service is the best I have ever encountered, not only in financial services.”

Another adds: “The fact that you do not speak to a machine and have immediate contact with a human being puts this bank’s service above all others.”

Metro Bank was the runner-up, with voters praising its strong customer focus and the helpful attitude of its telephone staff.

BEST MOBILE BANKING APP

WINNER: Metro Bank

Highly commended: First Direct

Being able to bank on the go is becoming increasingly important to consumers. Many people now carry a banking app on their phone, and a good mobile service can really help customers manage their finances.

The winner of Best Mobile Banking App for 2017 is Metro Bank. One user enjoyed its “features and usability”. Another says the app has more features than other banks offer, such as being able to freeze and reactivate a debit card without visiting a branch.

First Direct was highly commended for its mobile banking. One voter says: “The online banking and mobile app are easy to use, so I rarely have to contact First Direct.”

BEST PROVIDER FOR CHILDREN’S SAVINGS

WINNER: Nationwide

Highly commended: HSBC

At Moneywise, we’re passionate about making sure children receive the best financial education possible. There is no better way to help your kids understand money than to open their first savings account.

Nationwide takes the top prize in this category. It offers a very competitive Junior Isa product for under-18s, which pays 3% to young savers.


Kate Garraway and Moneywise's Helen Knapman with Nationwide Building Society's Eden Black.
 

HSBC also scored highly with voters, with its My Savings account paying kids 2.75% on balances up to £3,000.

MOST TRUSTED SAVINGS & CASH ISA PROVIDER

WINNER: Metro Bank

Highly commended: Coventry Building Society

With savings rates low across the board, trust and service are more important than ever. No more so than in the savings market, where competition between providers is fierce.

Metro Bank scoops this award with voters loving its “great rates and service”. Another mentions the fact many branches have a coin-counting machine, which makes it easier for people to build their savings.

The highly commended prize goes to Coventry Building Society, and users liked how easy it was to start saving. “I was able to easily open this account online, unlike with some providers,” says one voter.

BEST PROVIDER FOR REGULAR SAVERS

WINNER: First Direct

Highly commended: Coventry Building Society

Regular savers are a crucial part of a bank or building society’s offering. They encourage people to put money aside every month and build towards a savings goal and tend to offer much higher rates than standard savings accounts.

First Direct is the winner in this category – it continues to offer one of the highest rates on the market. It pays 5% to savers, who can stash away anything from £25 to £300 each month.

One consumer says the strength of this regular saver prompted them to switch their current account to First Direct. Another adds: “First Direct’s regular saver rate is awesome and a much appreciated way of thanking its customers for banking with it.”

Coventry Building Society is highly commended by our readers, with one praising the way it rewards loyal customers with preferential interest rates.

BEST SAVINGS PROVIDER FOR LARGE DEPOSITS

WINNER: Coventry Building Society

Highly commended: Aldermore

If you’re lucky enough to have a large savings pile, then you may have found it frustrating to see providers advertise high rates, only to read the small print and find they’re restricted to small deposits.

Our winner, Coventry Building Society, has carved out a strong reputation in this part of the market, offering good rates and excellent service to those with large deposits.

One Moneywise reader says: “Everything is just so simple. I really feel I can trust it.”

The runner-up in this category is Aldermore. The challenger bank garnered praise for its focus on customers. “Aldermore provides an excellent and professional service,” one customer says.

Small business banking

MOST TRUSTED SMALL BUSINESS BANKING PROVIDER

WINNER: HSBC

Highly commended: Santander

Small businesses play a hugely important role in the UK’s economy and the Moneywise Customer Service Awards is proud to honour the Most Trusted Small Business Banking Provider for the fi rst time with this new award for 2017.

The winner of this award is HSBC. One voter says: “The account is for a community group, and I have found HSBC very good.”

Santander takes second place in this category, with users admiring how quickly it deals with customer requests. “After two months of bureaucracy elsewhere, we went to Santander,” one user says. “The account was opened in eight days.”

Credit cards

MOST TRUSTED CREDIT CARD PROVIDER

WINNER: First Direct

Highly commended: John Lewis

First Direct is the Most Trusted Credit Card Provider once again. It continues to receive praise from consumers for its good service, both via the telephone and online.

One account holder says: “I intend to maintain my relationship with First Direct rather than shop around on price alone and be disappointed with service.”

The range of cards offered by John Lewis was praised highly by Moneywise readers, leading to it picking up the highly commended prize in this category. One customer says: “I am very impressed by some staff in the call centre, who have called me on more than one occasion to query a transaction. This is a huge benefit and gives me peace of mind, which is priceless.”

BEST CREDIT CARD PROVIDER FOR REWARDS

WINNER: John Lewis

Highly commended: American Express

We all love to be rewarded for our loyalty and many providers offer great benefits to customers who spend using their credit card. John Lewis comes top of the pile again this year as cardholders continued to earn vouchers to spend in both John Lewis and Waitrose.

One reader says: “I use this card for most of my purchases – paying the balance off each month. Every year, I get a free pair of boots from the John Lewis vouchers.”

American Express comes a close second with its cashback card drawing praise from users.

One of its account holders says: “I have been refurbishing my house largely on credit cards and getting £100s of cashback.”

Loans, mortgages and peer-to-peer lending

MOST TRUSTED MORTGAGE PROVIDER

WINNER: First Direct

Highly commended: Yorkshire Building Society

Buying a home is the biggest financial decision any of us will ever make – so making the mortgage process easy is hugely important.

Our winner, First Direct, won praise for its competitiveness, flexibility and customer service.

One voter says: “Customer service is second to none and the rates are so competitive. When I had a gap between sale and purchase of new property, First Direct was able to keep my fantastic rate on hold for me. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.”

Yorkshire Building Society has been voted the runner-up by Moneywise readers, scoring strongly for its all-round product proposition.

MOST TRUSTED BUY-TO-LET MORTGAGE PROVIDER

WINNER: Coventry Building Society

Highly commended: NatWest

The needs of a landlord are often complex, and Coventry Building Society leads the way for property investors. Voters admired its mortgage team for taking an individual approach to applications and being flexible with mortgage criteria.

“Coventry offers the best combination of low variable rates with mortgage features and reasonable fees. Its customer service is also second to none,” says one happy customer.

NatWest is highly commended, with one landlord saying: “NatWest was very efficient with its mortgage application procedure and gave me a quick offer.”

MOST TRUSTED LOANS PROVIDER

WINNER: First Direct

Highly commended: Lending Works

Loans aren’t just about the lowest rate – although that is crucial. Customer service and speed of application are also important things to consider. Our winner, First Direct, has it all.

One reader says: “I’ve had several personal loans with First Direct and it’s always been obliging, flexible and sensible regarding the amount lent and the repayments expected.”

Lending Works also scored highly with voters, best summed up by one customer: “Quick to set up, great rates and fully managed online.”

BEST P2P PLATFORM FOR SAVERS

WINNER: Lending Works

Highly commended: Zopa

With savings rates offered by banks and building societies poor across the board, savers have turned towards the higher risk peer-to-peer market to try and find a better return.

Using peer-to-peer for the first time can be an intimidating experience but our winner – Lending Works – has been applauded for giving “prompt, clear replies to any questions raised”.

Zopa secured a strong second place in this category, with one user saying: “It offers much better results than keeping money in any savings account available today.”

Insurance

MOST TRUSTED HEALTH INSURANCE PROVIDER

WINNER: CS Healthcare

Highly commended: Benenden

We all hope we never have to make a health insurance claim, but if the worst happens it is vital our provider pays out.

The esteem in which our winner, CS Healthcare, is held is best demonstrated by this voter, who says: “I have belonged to CS Healthcare for 42 years and have made many claims over the years, most recently to fund most of the cost of two total knee replacements done privately. I cannot speak too highly of CS Healthcare.”

Our highly commended firm, Benenden, drew strong praise from readers for its conscientious service. One says: “I have just rung about a major hearing loss. The phone operator was very understanding and she spoke slowly and very precisely, using the phonetic alphabet when necessary.”

MOST TRUSTED HEALTH INSURANCE PROVIDER VIA EMPLOYER

WINNER: Benenden

Highly commended: Simplyhealth

More companies are choosing to offer health insurance to their employees, but making sure you can trust your provider remains just as important.

Benenden takes the top prize in this category, with one voter commenting: “An excellent company. It is really interested in both prevention and cure.”

In second place is Simplyhealth, with readers equally positive about its service. “I love Simplyhealth, and its health insurance is one of the employee incentives that stops me looking for a new job,” says one reader.

MOST TRUSTED PET INSURANCE PROVIDER

WINNER: Petplan

Highly commended: John Lewis Insurance

Insurance is a vital safety net for families with a beloved pet. Petplan scoops the top prize with its customers praising the considerate way the firm deals with claims and general customer enquiries. “Its great value as I have had two cats insured. Customer service is great and I’ve never had any problems,” says one claimant.


Kate Garraway and Moneywise's Moira O'Neill with Petplan's 2017 winners team.
 

John Lewis Insurance is the runner-up in this category, with its comprehensive range of products covering both cats and dogs.

MOST TRUSTED LANDLORD INSURANCE PROVIDER

WINNER: Direct Line

Highly commended: Aviva

A new category for 2017, the award for Most Trusted Landlord Insurance Provider is won by Direct Line. The provider was able to entice new customers this year with strong pricing, such as offering to beat the renewal premium or quote of any other insurer.

Customers are also given a wide range of customisation options to make sure their policy matches their needs.

Aviva also scores highly among landlords, with its policies including sending an approved tradesperson to secure a property within two hours of any break-in.

MOST TRUSTED LIFE INSURANCE PROVIDER

WINNER: LV=

Highly commended: Royal London

Life insurance is there in order to support our families and LV= showed the value of these policies again to its customers in the last year. The firm won praise from one voter, who says that staff are “always helpful and knowledgeable”.

Another praised the added benefits they receive for being an LV= customer, such as discounts on car and home insurance. The runner-up spot went to Royal London, with one policyholder commenting that they’d stayed with the provider for more than 50 years.

MOST TRUSTED HOME INSURANCE PROVIDER 

WINNER: NFU Mutual

Highly commended: Direct Line

Taking out a home insurance policy involves balancing price and the level of cover. Moneywise readers say NFU Mutual is able to find the sweet spot between the two. Respondents highlighted its thorough cover and the speed in which claims are settled.

One customer, who recently made a claim, says: “We live in on old house in a high-risk flood area and NFU Mutual is not only competitive, but we have also never had a claim challenged.”

Highly commended went to Direct Line, which offers a range of benefits including emergency plumbers within three hours of a claim being made. One customer says: “Direct Line has consistently offered reasonable premiums, plus a 10% discount for having another product with it.”

BEST PROVIDER FOR CONTENTS INSURANCE

WINNER: Legal & General

Highly commended: Saga

Legal & General moved up from highly commended in 2016 to take this year’s winning spot. Policyholders are presented with a range of options to make sure their cover fi ts their needs, with the firm’s contents calculator function helping consumers work out exactly what to choose.

The insurer also scored strongly on its pricing, with one Moneywise reader saying Legal & General “halved my quote”.

Saga, which specialises in insurance products for the over 50s, is highly commended. The fi rm offers new-for-old replacement of items as standard, plus a range of other perks.

MOST TRUSTED TRAVEL INSURANCE PROVIDER

WINNER: Staysure

Highly commended: Holidaysafe

Being stranded or being taken ill abroad is every holidaymaker’s nightmare. So having travel insurance to cover any eventuality is key. Our winner, Staysure, has been praised time and time again by its customers for offering comprehensive policies at reasonable prices. More importantly, customers say that the firm makes a difference when things go wrong.

“My wife fell and fractured her right arm on holiday, which required treatment,” says one reader. “The service was excellent, you never know how good the cover is until you have to use it – in the case of Staysure it stood up to the plate.”


Staysure's Jonathan Cattle (left), Lyndsey Howsam and Julian Kearney with Moira.
 

Holidaysafe took the runner-up spot, with readers picking it out as a good all-rounder. “Great travel insurance, good customer service, competitive rates,” says one.

MOST TRUSTED CAR INSURANCE PROVIDER

WINNER:CSIS (Civil Service Insurance Society)

Highly commended: NFU Mutual

Like CS Healthcare, CSIS (Civil Service Insurance Society) products are only available to consumers who either work in the public sector – or have links to those who do. Those people who are able to take out a policy are full of praise for the level of service provided, and the quality of staff.

“Always had a positive experience with CSIS,” says one customer. “They have friendly staff and great value for money. I can’t see myself changing any time soon.”

Runner-up NFU Mutual was praised for how it rewards existing customers. One customer says: “It looks after existing customers and not just new customers, a rarity these days.”

MOST TRUSTED INSURANCE COMPARISON SITE

WINNER: Topcashback

Highly commended: Compare the Market

Finding the best deal on your insurance is vitally important, and price comparison sites help you find appropriate cover at a good price. Our winner in this category, TopCashback, offers cash bonuses to users who switch providers using its site.

One happy customer says: “TopCashback had the best comparison for motor insurance combined with top incentives.”

In a closely fought category, Compare the Market took the highly commended prize.

Overall winners for 2017

MOST TRUSTED P2P PLATFORM

WINNER: ZOPA

Highly commended: RateSetter

The peer-to-peer sector continues to grow apace, but with a raft of new providers entering the market it can be difficult to choose the right platform.

Both our winner and our highly commended are two of the longest standing firms in the sector.

Zopa was praised by both investors and borrowers.

Offering higher returns than big banks, savers were pleased with how their investments had performed.

“Zopa’s rates are very competitive, and I feel that I can trust it to provide the best deal without compromising professional service,” says one reader.

RateSetter, meanwhile, drew credit among voters for its customer service and for being transparent with its terms and conditions.

MOST TRUSTED INSURER

WINNER: LV=

Highly commended: Aviva

LV= takes home our Most Trusted Insurer award for the second year running. Once again, the provider demonstrated that its customers trust the brand to offer competitive rates and deliver when needed.

“It really does put the customer first and will always do what’s best for them,” says one voter. “I’ve had a recent situation where LV= has gone above and beyond in ensuring I was looked after.”

Aviva was highly commended in this category and scored highly among voters for its well-trained staff and for paying out claims quickly. “It’s always friendly and very knowledgeable,” says one Moneywise reader.

MOST TRUSTED MAINSTREAM BANK

 

WINNER: Santander

Highly commended: Halifax

Santander has retained its title as Most Trusted Mainstream Bank. Despite changes to its proposition in the last year, Moneywise readers believe its range of products set it apart from the rest of the market.

Its 123 Current Account rewards customers with 1.5% interest on balances up to £20,000, while 123 World customers also get access to other preferential products from the bank.

“It has consistently provided the best current account for some time,” says one reader. “Plus, the availability of branches makes access easy.”

Halifax, which rewards its current account customers with a £3 a month bonus, takes the highly commended prize. “I have never had any trouble,” says one loyal account holder. “Any queries that I have had over the years have always been dealt with quickly and efficiently.”

MOST TRUSTED FINANCIAL PROVIDER

WINNER: METRO BANK

Highly commended: First Direct

It’s the award that all financial providers want to win, and the prize of Most Trusted Financial Provider goes to Metro Bank for the second year running. The challenger bank received heaps of praise from happy customers with everything from its long opening hours and modern branches to its consistent rates and good customer service being celebrated.

But the one thing customers really loved was the way they were treated, with staff putting the customer’s well-being above the need to make sales.

 


It was a big night for the team at Metro Bank, which won the Most Trusted Financial Provider award.
 

One says: “The bank has a fresh approach to everyday banking, which is just so different to the rest. The service is excellent and employees seem to care about you rather than what they can sell you.”

First Direct’s equally customer-focused approach saw it finish a close runner-up, with many customers saying they have banked with the brand for decades. One voter sums up the experience as follows: “Staff are always courteous and efficient, and we have never been let down by First Direct.” 

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I don't have a banking account or checking or saveing account i can't afford one

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Metro Bank winner or customer service award Is this must be a joke ???? . Have you read what people are saying about them online. Metro Bank Is by far the worst bank in the UK. They treat Customers like criminals for withdrawing they own Money.They froze my account for no reason demanded explanation for a withdrawal transaction I made.When I refuse to tell them what I am doing with my own money, they seize my card, refuse to close my account. Deny to serve me then call the police to remove me from their premises All because I withdraw a little money.

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