The best and worst banks

First Direct tops MSE’s customer service poll while RBS takes wooden spoon

First Direct has again taken the crown in a bi-annual banking customer service poll from the UK’s biggest consumer website,, with nine out of ten giving it top marks. RBS retained its wooden spoon with almost a third rating its service 'poor.'

Almost 7,000 current account customers responded to MSE’s latest survey, with a stonking 91% of those who rated First Direct saying its service was 'great' - 1% more than the previous survey. The bank, part of the HSBC group but run separately, has topped every customer service poll MSE has ever done since 2010.

Meanwhile, 29% of those who graded Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) rated its customer service 'poor', with just 28% deeming it 'great'. This is the second time running it has claimed last place in the poll.

Nationwide retained its place as runner-up, again ahead of Co-op Bank and Smile (part of the same group).

Interestingly, challenger banks Starling and Monzo received 'great' scores of 91% and 78% respectively - suggesting they're giving traditional banks a run for their money. They haven't been included in the results table, however, as both received just 42 votes each.

Helen Saxon, chief product analyst at, said: “As the old saying goes, customer service is king. When it comes to bank accounts it can have a massive impact on your finances if something goes wrong.

“Yet again, many of the old-school banks are stuck at the bottom of the table, and will have to work hard to keep customers from defecting to the top service scorers.

“Switching only takes seven working days, so if you aren’t happy, there’s no excuse not to vote with your feet. And some of these banks with great customer service scores will even pay you to switch.”

Current account customer service rated






1 (1)

First Direct

91% (90%)

7% (7%)

2% (3%)

2 (2)

Nationwide Building Society

77% (74%)

18% (20%)

5% (6%)

3 (3)

Co-op and Smile

63% (68%)

29% (24%)

8% (8%)

4 (5)


62% (64%)

30% (27%)

8% (9%)

5 (4)


61% (63%)

31% (30%)

8% (7%)

6 (N/A)

Tesco Bank (i)




7 (=7)


51% (50%)

36% (39%)

13% (11%)

8 (N/A)

Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank (i)




9 (10)


45% (43%)

37% (42%)

18% (15%)

10 (=7)


45% (50%)

34% (37%)

21% (13%)

11 (8)


42% (47%)

39% (39%)

19% (14%)

12 (9)


41% (46%)

38% (37%)

21% (17%)

13 (11)


28% (37%)

43% (42%)

29% (21%)

There were 6,812 votes. 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 August 2017 appear in brackets. (i) Tesco Bank and Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank didn't receive enough votes to appear in our previous poll.

View the full news story here and compare bank accounts in our guide.


About is dedicated to cutting consumers’ bills and fighting their corner. The free-to-use consumer finance help resource aims to show people how to save money on anything and everything, and campaigns for financial justice. It was set up in 2003 for just £100, and its free-to-use, ethical stance quickly made it the UK’s biggest independent money website, according to internet ranking site, and the number one ‘Business and Finance – Business Information’ site, according to Hitwise. It has more than 12 million people opted-in to receive the weekly MSE’s Money Tips email, and more than 16 million unique monthly site users who visit more than 28 million times a month. In September 2012, it joined the Group PLC.