Digital banks take top spots for customer service

Written by Lisa Stanley Mann on 6th March 2018

They promised a banking revolution through giving people what they want, now new digital-based Starling Bank has been named ‘Best British Bank’ in a poll of more than 24,000 consumers.

Starling (in the Good With Money directory) – also voted as Best Current Account – takes the title from stalwart First Direct, which held it since 2015. Another ‘new’ bank, Monzo, took second place, pushing First Direct into third.

M&S Bank was voted the UK’s least loved bank – for the second year running. M&S Bank saw its customer satisfaction score fall from 70.6 per cent in 2017 to 56.3 per cent in 2018, with its current account in particular coming in for criticism from consumers.

Smart Money People’s British Bank Awards poll consumers for their views on the UK’s best and worst financial providers. All banks appearing in the Banking League Table received a minimum of 100 responses.

NatWest was the only bank to see its overall position improve, rising to sixth place, and was also voted as having the ‘Best Banking App’.

Ethical bank Co-operative dropped two places but remained in the top 10, with Nationwide placed fourth.

The results of the British Bank Awards 2018 help to highlight an increasingly vibrant financial services landscape, with a number of firms launched in the last few years taking home awards, alongside some of the UK’s largest financial firms.

Mike Fotis, founder of Smart Money People

Mike Fotis, founder of Smart Money People, commented: “The results of the British Bank Awards 2018 help to highlight an increasingly vibrant financial services landscape, with a number of firms launched in the last few years taking home awards, alongside some of the UK’s largest financial firms.”

Our mission is to empower consumers to take control of their money and manage their finances on their own terms. This goes beyond just traditional current accounts.

Anne Boden, CEO of Starling Bank

Anne Boden, CEO of Starling Bank said, “We’re delighted Starling have been awarded ‘Best British Bank’ and ‘Best Current Account Provider’, it is a testament to the team at Starling and the rewards our customers are reaping. Our mission is to empower consumers to take control of their money and manage their finances on their own terms. This goes beyond just traditional current accounts, we want to change the way people manage all of their finances which is why we introduced Marketplace where our customers can access a range of financial products directly from their phone. As we continue to grow, we hope to have 25 partners by the end of 2018 and offer Starling current accounts in 10 countries by 2020.”

Overall, customer satisfaction across banking edged up to 83 per cent, from 80 per cent in 2017, a sign that more competition and a greater focus on innovation is translating into happier customers. As part of the voting process, some 80 per cent of consumers also told us that they now prefer banking online or via a mobile app.

The Best British Bank League Table 2018 in full

  1. Starling Bank, 97.7% (new entry)
  2. Monzo, 97.3% (new entry)
  3. first direct, 95.4% (down 2)
  4. Nationwide, 91.0% (down 2)
  5. Virgin Money, 89.0% (down 2)
  6. NatWest, 85.9% (up 1)
  7. The Co-op Bank, 85.8% (down 2)
  8. Halifax, 85.7% (down 4)
  9. Santander, 81.9% (down 1)
  10. TSB, 81.1% (down 4)
  11. Barclays, 80.2% (down 2)
  12. Tesco Bank, 80.1% (down 1)
  13. HSBC UK, 79.8% (no change)
  14. Lloyds Bank, 79.7% (down 4)
  15. RBS, 77.8% (down 3)
  16. M&S Bank, 56.3% (down 2)

In terms of other financial services categories, new entrants also fared well, with wealth platform Moneyfarm voted Innovation of the Year, Bud voted Best Newcomer, and Money Dashboard voted Best Personal Finance App. Peer-to-peer leader Zopa was voted Best Personal Loan Provider and Best Alternative Finance Provider.

The awards list in full.

Best British Bank: Starling Bank

Innovation of the Year: Moneyfarm

Customer Service Champion: Close Brothers Savings

Treating Customers Fairly Champion: Newbury Building Society

Best Newcomer: Bud

Best Current Account Provider: Starling Bank

Best Business Banking Provider: HSBC

Best Mortgage Provider: Newbury Building Society

Best Credit Card Provider: Virgin Money

Best Savings Provider: Darlington Building Society

Best Personal Loan Provider: Zopa

Best Alternative Finance Provider: Zopa

Best Banking App: NatWest

Best Personal Finance App: Money Dashboard

Best Travel Money Provider: WeSwap

Best Business Finance Provider: Fleximize

Best Money Transfer Provider: Currency UK

Best Investments Provider: WiseAlpha