Which is the worst bank in the UK - and which came out on top?


Britain TSB

There's bad news for customers of the newly-formed TSB bank. Just six months after launching, the bank has already been named and shamed as offering the worst customer service out of all the UK banks.

But which banks did better, which has seen the most improvement, and which is the best?

The worst

The results come from a survey of almost 9,000 users of Moneysavingexpert.com. The website asked people to rate their bank as either 'great', 'OK' or 'poor'. The vast majority of TSB customers were unimpressed - with 43% marking it as 'OK' and 20% as 'poor'. This put it in 14th place overall.

It can't be easy to pull a bank together with so many customers from scratch. They all needed new cards and new cheque books, and are bound to have had a huge number of questions for their new provider. It can't have been easy to manage that without annoying some customers - but having one in five rate them as 'poor' constitutes a major failure.

The second from bottom was NatWest/RBS Group, which were ranked as 'poor' by 17% of customers and 'OK' by 46%. The endless IT glitches in particular must have put the group under pressure, and clearly they aren't coping with the strain. The group has dropped three places since six months ago

Third from bottom was Yorkshire/Clydesdale, ranked as 'poor' by 19% and 'OK' by 41% - this was a shocking drop from 8th to 12th place since the last survey. Next was Bank of Scotland, which rose two places but was still rated as 'poor' by 16% of customers, and HSBC was up two places but rated as 'poor' by 15% of customers.

The best

It's easy to think that all banks are the same when it comes to service, and put up with whatever is thrown at you. However, the other end of the league table shows that some banks do far better on this front, so if service is important to you, it's possible to find a bank that delivers.

Top of the list was First Direct, ranked as 'great' by an impressive 92% of customers - this means that its customers are twice as likely to rate their bank's service as 'great' than customers of TSB. It's not surprising that this bank took top place as it has done so since the survey started six years ago, and only a paltry 2% of customers think that their service is poor.

In second place are customers of the Santander 123 account - rated as 'great' by 74% of customers. The researchers broke the results for this product out from the rest of the bank's customers because the results were so strikingly different.

In third place was the Co-op, which despite all its financial woes and terrible headlines only dropped one place over the previous six months, and was rated as 'great' by 71% of customers.

Fourth was Nationwide rated as 'great' by 67% and the rest of Santander, rated as 'great' by 64%. The researchers highlighted that this was a major change from when they did their first survey of this kind in 2008 when Santander was bottom of the pile.

Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com said: "Interestingly, we have the rare coincidence at the top of the table of banks that both win on rate and service. First Direct, which has won every service poll we've ever done, currently offers new switchers £100, a 0% overdraft up to £250 and a linked 6% regular savings account. Santander 123, in second place, is the most innovative account on the market. It pays up to 3% interest on savings and up to 3% cashback on bills such as energy, council tax and phones, which dwarf its £2 monthly fee."

He adds that this gives us even more incentive to switch, pointing out that: "New rules mean all your direct debits and standing orders can be switched within a week, and any payments made in error to your old account will be auto-forwarded."

The full list is

1. First Direct
2. Santander 123
3. Co-op
4. Nationwide
5. Santander (all)
6. Halifax Reward
7. Halifax (all)
8. Barclays
9. Lloyds
10. HSBC
11. Bank of Scotland
12. Yorkshire/Clydesdale
13. NatWest/RBS Group
14. TSB