Revealed: The best and worst banks

First Direct continues winning streak and Barclays wins wooden spoon for customer service


Cutting your costs, fighting your corner

For immediate release 17 February 2017

Revealed: The best and worst banks

First Direct continues winning streak and Barclays wins wooden spoon for customer service

A huge 90% of First Direct’s current account customers rate its service as 'great', so there's no surprise it's yet again held onto the top spot in’s latest banking poll.

In fact, First Direct has trumped its contenders by winning every single banking service poll we've ever conducted since we started them in 2010.

At the other end of the scale, Barclays has been ranked the worst current account provider – despite helping its customers by making its Blue Rewards scheme tax-free three months ago. It enjoyed a brief respite away from the wooden spoon award in our last poll in August, ranking 12th, but was also voted worst bank for service in the four polls prior.

However, Barclays isn't the only banking giant to score badly, as HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) came towards the bottom of the table, with 21% of HSBC customers ranking its service ‘poor’ and RBS dropping from 9th to 11th place.

Santander, which 18 months ago held the second place position after First Direct, has steadily been slipping in the polls, dropping to third in February 2016, fourth in August and now fifth. Santander slashed the top savings interest rates on its popular 123 current account in November.

Over 7,000 MoneySavers took part in the survey, which is done twice a year.

Current account service rating February 2017 (results and rankings from August 2016 in brackets)

2017 rank





1 (1)

First Direct

90% (91%)

7% (6%)

3% (3%)

2 (2)

Nationwide Building Society

80% (79%)

17% (17%)

3% (4%)

3 (3)

Co-op and Smile

70% (72%)

20% (23%)

10% (5%)

4 (5)


63% (71%)

29% (22%)

8% (7%)

5 (4)

Santander (i)

62% (71%)

31% (23%)

7% (6%)

6 (n/a)

Tesco Bank




7= (7)


50% (50%)

38% (35%)

12% (15%)

7= (6)

Halifax (ii)

50% (58%)

38% (34%)

12% (8%)

9 (10)


48% (46%)

38% (36%)

14% (18%)

10 (11)

Clydesdale and Yorkshire

46% (44%)

37% (37%)

17% (19%)

11 (9)

Royal Bank of Scotland

44% (48%)

39% (33%)

17% (19%)

12 (13)


43% (38%)

36% (44%)

21% (18%)

13 (12)


41% (43%)

40% (36%)

19% (21%)

A total of 7,467 people polled in February 2017. 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. Bank of Scotland ranked eighth in August’s poll but didn’t receive enough votes to appear in our latest results. (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.

Helen Saxon, chief analyst at, says: “Customer service really counts with banks as current accounts are the one financial product you use pretty much every day, and the one that has the most impact if something goes wrong.

“Once again our poll shows how widely customer service varies between current account providers, with First Direct coming streets ahead of most others. High street banks repeatedly dominating the bottom of the table need to start listening to their customers or risk losing them to better-performing rivals.

“If you’re unhappy with your bank’s service, switching current account has never been easier – and many of the best accounts are from those with good service as well. Banks will normally move all your direct debits and standing orders to the new account in just seven days, and payments into the old account will be auto-forwarded.”


For more information, see the MSE Best Bank Accounts guide.

For more comments, please contact:

Katie Watts

Tel: 020 3150 1594

Mob: 07875 415 378

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