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Best and worst banks

Discover the best and the worst banks for customer service, rated by thousands of current account customers. Plus our bank closures map.

In this article
Which bank is the best? Best and worst banks rated Our research Which? Recommended Providers
Bank branch closures Branch closures in 2018 in my area

Which bank is the best?

Twice a year, we ask bank account customers to rate how satisfied they are with their current-account provider. The table below reveals the best and worst banks for customer service. 

We also compare the best bank accounts if you stay in credit and the best bank accounts for authorised overdrafts

And with the way we carry out our banking business changing rapidly, banks are closing down branches at a frightening pace. 

So, we've mapped every single closure since 2015, and our branch closure finder helps you search for the branches near you that are closing down in 2018.

Best and worst banks rated

Customer satisfaction for banking
Provider Customer service Regularity and clarity of communications Dealing with queries and complaints Service in branch Internet service Product score Customer Score

First DirectRecommended provider bank accounts legacy

87% 83%

NationwideRecommended provider bank accounts legacy

68% 80%

M&S BankRecommended provider bank accounts legacy

83% 71%
Metro Bank 62% 71%
Although this provider is rated highly by its customers, we have not awarded it WRP status because it does not meet every requirement. Metro Bank branches are not available nationally.
Co-operative Bank 63% 71%
Although this provider is rated highly by its customers, we have not awarded it WRP status because it does not meet every requirement. Co-op's current account achieved a below average score, at 63%. Average product score is currently 66%.
Danske Bank 68% 70%
Although this provider is rated highly by its customers, we have not awarded it WRP status because it does not meet every requirement. Danske Bank's Choice account doesn't make the Top 10 for credit interest and doesn't come with cashback/rewards or switching incentives.

Tesco BankRecommended provider bank accounts legacy

67% 70%
TSB Bank 68% 69%
Virgin Money n/a n/a 57% 67%
Santander 57% 67%
Bank of Scotland 73% 66%
Yorkshire Bank 77% 65%
Halifax 70% 65%
Smile n/a n/a 72% 65%
Lloyds Bank 73% 64%
Barclays Bank 80% 63%
NatWest 82% 63%
Clydesdale Bank 77% 62%
HSBC 70% 60%
Ulster Bank 77% 59%
Royal Bank of Scotland 78% 57%
Average Customer Satisfaction Score n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 66% 68%

Table notes:
n/a = sample size too small
Average overall customer satisfaction score is 68%
Sample sizes: First Direct (276), Nationwide (478), M&S Bank (83), Metro Bank (43), Co-op Bank (282), Danske Bank (45), Tesco Bank (85), TSB (323), Virgin Money (33), Santander (345), Bank of Scotland (224), Yorkshire Bank (137), Halifax (354), Smile (35), Lloyds Bank (364), Barclays (323), NatWest (363), Clydesdale Bank (87), HSBC (371), Ulster Bank (37), Royal Bank of Scotland (175). Total sample size: 5,554.

Product score.

We’ve also looked at the key elements of the main bank account from each provider and have introduced a scoring system as a way of comparing each account on an equal basis. The key elements included are - minimum monthly funding, monthly account fee, authorised overdraft buffers, unpaid item fee, cash ATM limit, emergency cash service, mobile phone app, text alerts and online banking security score (based on Which? research).

Interest on credit balances, authorised overdraft charges and cashback (rewards and switching incentive) was included as part of the criteria for WRP eligibility. 

For a provider to be eligible for WRP status, it must achieve an average or above score for its main bank account (currently 66%).

 

Our research

Customer scores are based on a survey of an online panel of respondents from the general public who were invited to take part in the bank account customer satisfaction survey during September 2017. The final sample size was 5,554.

Overall customer scores are worked out using a combination of overall satisfaction and how likely the respondents are to recommend their bank to a friend. Companies need at least 30 responses to be given a rating.

 

 

Which? Recommended Providers

Which? Recommended Providers are companies that are both rated highly by the respondents of our unique customer survey and have products that meet the high standards of our researchers.

  • To feature as a Recommended Provider, a company must have achieved a top score (at least 70%) in our latest customer satisfaction survey.
  • Providers main current account must achieve an above average product score (currently 66%).
  • Providers main bank account must sit within the top 10 or top half for credit interest or authorised overdrafts and/or offers cashback/rewards/switching incentives. Two out of three categories must be met.
  • Providers must be fully covered by the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and FCA Banking Standards regime.
  • Which? Recommended Providers of bank accounts must offer a free debit card, free direct debits and free withdrawals from UK cash machines, and accounts must be available nationally.
 
Provider Which? verdict Customer
score
Average score of all current account providers rated by Which? Money 64%
First Direct Owned by HSBC. Switch to First Direct and choose a gift from a wide range of options (latest tech, travel vouchers, or a self-development course). First Direct 1st Account comes with a £250 interest-free overdraft. Must pay in £1,000 or monthly £10 fee applies.  Which? Recommended Provider badge83%
Nationwide Recommend a friend to its FlexAccount, FlexDirect or FlexPlus to share £200. FlexDirect account pays 5% on balances up to £2,500 in first year (1% thereafter). Which? Recommended Provider badge80%
M&S Bank Switch to M&S and get £125 gift card and up to an additional £60 when you stay for 12 months. You can also get access to its best rate regular savings account. Which? Recommended Provider badge71%
Tesco Bank Pays 3% interest on balances up to £3,000 guaranteed to 1 April 2019. Earn one Clubcard point per £1 spend in Tesco. Which? Recommended Provider badge70%

Bank branch closures

Some people are happy banking purely online. But others may need to do at least some transactions face-to-face. So which banks have been shutting branches? 

In autumn 2016, Which? analysis found a total of 1,046 branches were shut between January 2015 and January 2017. More than 703 major bank branches were axed in 2017, bringing the total number of closures to 1,747 since the start of 2015.

A new wave of closures for 2018 have been announced, with RBS/NatWest and Ulster Bank closing 270 branches, Lloyds Banking Group closing 98, Barclays closing 43 and Yorkshire Building Society closing eight branches. Santander is also closing 48.

On 1 May 2018, RBS announced that it was closing another 162 Royal Bank of Scotland branches in England and Wales. It has not confirmed when the branches will close.

If the closures take place this year, that takes the total number of closures between 2015 and 2018 to 2,374.

The map below shows the number of closures in each local authority area per 100,000 people. You can use the search bar to find your local area, filter between banks or choose a year to see when branches closed or are due to close. 

It will be updated for 2018 soon, but in the mean time you can use the table below to search for branch closures in your area in 2018.

               

Branch closures in 2018 in my area

The table below lists all the banks that have shut, or are due to shut in 2018. You can search for your local constituency, region or or postcode to find closures near you.