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Challenger banks Monzo, Starling top UK customer satisfaction rankings

Saleha Riaz
·3-min read
Starling Bank, Monzo and First Direct were the most highly rated by customers in a survey of 4,500 members of the public on their opinions of their current account providers. Photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty
Starling Bank, Monzo and First Direct were the most highly rated by customers in a survey of 4,500 members of the public on their opinions of their current account providers. Photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty

Challenger banks Starling Bank and Monzo cemented their place at the top of the rankings in an annual current account customer satisfaction survey.

The news comes not long after Starling Bank has said it is eyeing up an initial public offering amid reports that banking giants Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) and JP Morgan (JPM) were interested in the company.

The British startup challenger bank, founded in 2017, said that a stock market listing was “still in our sights.”

Starling Bank, along with troubled bank Monzo and First Direct, were the most highly rated by customers in a survey conducted by consumer group Which? of 4,500 members of the public on their opinions of their current account providers.

READ MORE: Monzo faces 'pivotal' year with future in doubt as losses mount

They topped Which?’s customer score table, with users ranking the brands highly for their customer service, application process, communication and transparency of charges.

Starling Bank and First Direct were also named Which? Recommended Providers.

Starling Bank finished top of the 24 brands ranked in the survey, achieving a customer score of 88%.

Customers said they liked its “clear and honest communications,” the ease of opening an account and using the app, as well as speedy responses from its “excellent” customer service team.

Monzo received the second highest customer score of 82%.

However, Which? said it has not formally endorsed the bank with its ‘Recommended Provider’ status as it has not met key criteria by signing up to the Contingent Reimbursement Model voluntary code, where banks refund blameless victims of authorised push payment fraud.

Earlier this week, Which? also criticised payment platform PayPal for not being “part of the voluntary code for authorised push payments, which commits banks to reimbursing customers who have been tricked into parting with their money.”

Meanwhile, First Direct achieved a score of 79%, earning five stars for customer service, complaints handling, online service and its mobile banking app.

Another bank that received Which? Recommended Provider status was M&S (MKS.L) Bank, with a customer score of 77%. It also earned five stars for online service.

All of the biggest traditional banks finished outside the survey’s top six, with RBS (RBS.L), TSB, owned by Banco Sabadell (SAB.MC) and Santander (BNC.L) coming in the bottom third of the table.

Tesco (TSCO.L) Bank and Citibank (C) received the joint lowest customer score of 60%.

RBS holds this year’s record for the most two-star ratings in the survey with customers criticising its telephone service, account benefits, complaints handling, branch service and overall customer service.

Jenny Ross, money editor at Which?, noted that “The leading challenger banks have cemented their position ahead of many of the UK’s biggest banking brands in terms of customer satisfaction, showing that innovation and modern ideas are shaking up the market. However, it’s still good service that is truly valued by customers.”

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