UK's best banks revealed: who's helping customers amid cost of living crisis

UK bank Woman holds British Pound banknotes in this illustration taken May 30, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
Challenger UK banks have beaten high street lenders in terms of service. Photo: Dado Ruvic/Reuters (Dado Ruvic / reuters)

Challenger Starling Bank has been named the top-ranking UK bank when it comes to overall service quality, with the Royal Bank of Scotland coming in last.

In a survey made mandatory by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and conducted amid the cost of living crisis, the challenger bank came in first on a list of top-ranked personal current account providers in Great Britain.

Monzo, another challenger bank, shared the number one spot with Starling Bank and First Direct came in at number three, according to the survey conducted by Ipsos Mori.

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Some 81% of customers said they would recommend Starling Bank to friends and family, with the challenger bank also coming in first in terms of online and mobile banking services.

Halifax was the highest rated high street bank, coming in at number six in terms of overall service quality, followed by Barclays (BARC.L) and Lloyds (LLOY.L).

The survey included 16 banks. Table: Ipsos Mori
The survey included 16 banks. Table: Ipsos Mori

At the bottom of the list, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) was rated as the bank customers are more disappointed in and would not recommend to family or friends. Only four in every 10 said they would recommend RBS services, leaving the institution at number 16, the last spot.

Virgin Money did not fare much better, with the institution coming in at number 15, with only half (49%) of customers saying they would recommend it.

TSB was at number 14, ahead of Virgin Money in terms of service quality by one one percentage point. Some 50% said they would recommend TSB as a bank to others.

“As the rising cost of living bites, it’s important that people and businesses have the information they need to manage their money and make savings,” Adam Land, senior director at the CMA, said.

Read more: Energy bills: Poorer UK households need to cut £1 in every £4 spent to afford to pay

“These results show how banks are treating their customers at a time when many are feeling the pinch.

“When times are tough you find out who's fighting your corner and if your bank doesn't match up to the competition — you can vote with your feet and make a switch."

The top-ranked personal current account providers in Northern Ireland overall were Starling Bank, Monzo and Nationwide while the bottom-ranked current account providers were AIB (AIBG.L), Bank of Ireland UK (BIRG.L) and Ulster Bank.

The CMA said these results show customers how their bank is ranked on overall quality of service and make it easier for people to compare offers.

The regulator added that the survey also promotes competition between providers, “resulting in better experiences for all account holders.”

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