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Online banks top current account satisfaction survey

By Vicky Shaw, PA Personal Finance Correspondent

Online banks First Direct, Starling Bank and Monzo have topped a current account satisfaction survey from Which?.

The annual survey, which asked more than 4,000 people for their opinions of their current account providers, found that users ranked the trio highly for their customer service, application process, communication and transparency of charges.

They were also likely to be satisfied with their bank and to recommend it to a friend or family member.

While challenger brands sat at the top of the table, Ulster Bank was ranked at the bottom.

Which? said that both First Direct which came first and Starling Bank which came second and features in the list for the first time this year are Which? recommended providers.

Internet and telephone bank First Direct is a brand of HSBC and it frequently tops various customer satisfaction surveys.

Starling Bank and Monzo are both mobile app-based.

Monzo, which was placed third, has not been formally endorsed by Which? with recommended provider status.

Which? said this is because Monzo has not yet signed up to an industry code on bank transfer fraud which offers greater protection when people are tricked into transferring money directly into a fraudster’s bank account.

Which? said it had been told by Monzo that it will be signed up to the code within the first three months of 2020.

Which? said two other banks on its list – Nationwide Building Society and M&S Bank – also have recommended provider status.

Gareth Shaw, head of money at Which?, said: “It’s clear that consumers value great customer service and easily accessible banking – and that applies whether they prefer to bank with a mobile app or a bricks-and-mortar branch.

“Traditional high street banks would do well to learn from their rivals challenging the status quo at the top of our survey.

“It seems they need to up their game to ensure they’re giving customers what they want when it comes to customer service, communication and transparency.

“Anyone unhappy with their bank should vote with their feet and switch to a new provider.”

Here are the full results with the overall customer scores given to current account providers:
1. First Direct, 84%
2. Starling Bank, 83%
3. Monzo Bank, 82%
4. Nationwide Building Society, 78%
5. M&S Bank, 76%
6. Metro Bank, 75%
7. The Co-operative Bank, 73%
=8. Barclays Bank, 70%
=8. Halifax, 70%
=8. Santander, 70%
=11. Lloyds Bank, 69%
=11. NatWest, 69%
=11. Yorkshire Bank, 69%
=14. Danske Bank, 66%
=14. HSBC, 66%
16. TSB, 65%
17. Bank of Scotland, 64%
18. Clydesdale Bank, 63%
19. Royal Bank of Scotland, 62%
20. Tesco Bank, 60%
21. Ulster Bank, 55%