Royal Bank of Scotland has taken the wooden spoon in our biannual banking poll with just 37% of its current account customers rating it 'great' for customer service, while First Direct has kept its crown with nine in 10 giving its service top marks.

Thousands of current account customers responded to our latest survey, with 21% of those who graded Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) rating its customer service as 'poor' and 37% deeming it 'great'.

The high-street stalwart hit bottom place, replacing Barclays, which fared worst in our previous poll in February.

Meanwhile, a stonking 90% of those who rated First Direct awarded it 'great' for service, keeping it in pole position – it's unbeaten at the top since we started the poll in 2010.

Nationwide retained its place as runner-up, again ahead of Smile and Co-op Bank, but Santander moved up to fourth, switching places with TSB. Halifax claimed sixth, marginally ahead of Lloyds after the two tied in our last survey.

Martin Lewis
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The biggest changes came near the bottom of the table with NatWest, HSBC and Barclays moving up at RBS's expense. Two banks that appeared last time – Tesco and Clydesdale/Yorkshire Bank – did not receive enough votes so are not included.

We survey MoneySavingExpert.com users twice a year to see how they rate banks' customer service, with more than 6,000 responding.

If you're unhappy with your bank's service, take action and switch. You can find the best deals in our Best Bank Accounts guide.

The results in full

Current account customer service rated
Rank Provider 'Great' 'OK' 'Poor'
1 (1) First Direct 90% (90%) 7% (7%) 3% (3%)
2 (2) Nationwide Building Society 74% (80%) 20% (17%) 6% (3%)
3 (3) Co-op and Smile 68% (70%) 24% (20%) 8% (10%)
4 (5) Santander (i) 63% (62%) 30% (31%) 7% (7%)
5 (4)

TSB 64% (63%) 27% (29%) 9% (8%)
6 (=7) Halifax (ii) 50% (50%) 39% (38%) 11% (12%)
7 (=7) Lloyds 50% (50%) 37% (38%) 13% (12%)
8 (9) NatWest 47% (48%) 39% (38%) 14% (14%)
9 (12) HSBC 46% (43%) 37% (36%) 17% (21%)
10 (13) Barclays 43% (41%) 42% (40%) 15% (19%)
11 (11) RBS 37% (44%) 42% (39%) 21% (17%)
A total of 6,111 people polled. Ranked based on two points for each 'great' %, one for each 'OK' % and zero for 'poor'. When scores are tied, the bank with the better 'great' rating goes ahead. We've excluded banks with fewer than 100 votes. Results and rankings for February 2017 appear in brackets. Tesco Bank ranked sixth in February's poll but didn't receive enough votes to appear in our latest results; this is the same for Clydesdale and Yorkshire, which ranked tenth in February's poll. (i) This is an average of the 123 account and other Santander accounts. (ii) This is an average of the Reward account and other Halifax accounts.

'Customer service really counts'

Guy Anker, managing editor of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: "Customer service is key when it comes to bank accounts – for most, it's the part of their finances they use the most and if something goes wrong, it has the biggest impact.

"The results of our poll show the old-school banks are still stuck at the bottom of the table, and if they don't up their game, they'll lose even more customers to the challenger banks who are consistently at the top.

"Switching has never been easier, so there's no excuse to stay with a bank you aren't happy with. Under the Current Account Switch Service it takes seven working days and all payments into and out of the old account will be switched automatically. Better still, some of the accounts that pay you the most to switch have good customer service scores too."

What do the top and bottom scorers say?

Joe Gordon, head of First Direct, said: "To top the MoneySavingExpert banking poll seven years running is no mean feat – this is an accolade we are immensely proud of here.

"Our customer service is at the heart of our success but we never take this for granted. We're always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to deliver great service."

An RBS spokesperson said: "Of the 139 [RBS] customers polled, we are disappointed that 29 rated us poorly. We recognise that we have work to do to improve our customer experience.

"We are constantly listening to customers to provide a service that better meets their needs; for instance, we offer an award-winning mobile banking app which has over five million active users, helping our customers to manage their money every day."