Last night the 2014 Consumer Moneyfacts Awards took place in a glittering ceremony at the HAC in London. The evening event celebrated the best of the consumer finance industry, highlighting those providers who excelled in customer service and offered the best value, technically sound and most beneficial products.
Industry professionals from leading financial services and utilities organisations gathered at the event, hosted by comedian Mark Dolan, to hear who would be crowned as the best "all-rounder" in each category.
There were delighted winners, disappointed losers and a few unexpected results thrown into the mix, creating a memorable event for those attending. The best part about the awards is that the winners are chosen based on sincere and honest customer feedback, meaning these are results that consumers can trust.
Sylvia Waycot, publishing director at Moneyfacts Group, said: "We are delighted with the response which saw over 94,000 individuals wanting to have their say, making this the largest and most influential annual survey of its kind."
As might be expected, there were a few well-known names doing the rounds. Nationwide Building Society took home two awards, one for Current Account Provider of the Year and one for High Street Savings Account Provider (as well as coming Highly Commended in two other categories), while first direct also pocketed two – this time for Current Account Switching Provider and Online Banking Provider.
It wasn't all big names, however, and it was encouraging to see some lesser-known providers and even a few newcomers given a mention.
EDF Energy may have won Energy Provider of the Year but smaller firm Co-operative Energy was hot on its heels by coming Highly Commended, an accolade which its sister company Co-operative Insurance achieved in the Home Insurance Provider category.
Zopa, meanwhile, a relative newcomer to the finance scene and pioneer of peer-to-peer lending, was awarded Personal Loan Provider of the Year as well as Best Customer Service, an award which they can be particularly proud of given that it covers the breadth of the consumer finance industry.
It proved to be a great event for all concerned and, given that these awards were all about the consumer, Moneyfacts gave a little something back to three lucky individuals. Everyone who took part in the survey was entered into a prize draw to win £1,000, and those winners have since been contacted and the cheques sent in the post.
We spoke to those winners to see how they felt when they realised they won and what exciting things they were going to do with the money.
"I couldn't believe it! I enter a lot of competitions and fill out surveys all the time and you always think maybe one day you may get something back – and now I have. I was so surprised.
"It's my grandson's 16th birthday in a few weeks time and he wants a music centre, and my wife is off to Dubai with a friend in March so that will give her a bit more spending money. With what's left I may treat myself to something nice."
"I was very pleased that I filled out the survey. I'm taking my wife to London for the weekend for Valentine's; we're going to a comedy club."
"I was very surprised, it was totally unexpected. I have no idea how I'm going to spend it at the moment but I will enjoy it. It's just turned up this morning and I'm going to pop over to the bank in a moment," he said.
Well, here at Moneyfacts we hope they enjoy their winnings. Congratulations to all the winners of the awards – providers and consumers alike!
Pet Insurance Provider of the Year
Car Insurance Provider of the Year
Health Insurance Provider of the Year
Travel Insurance Provider of the Year
Winner: PruHealth Highly Commended: Aviva Commended: AXA PPP healthcare
Winner: Holidaysafe Highly Commended: AA Insurance Services Commended: Direct Travel Insurance
Travel Money Provider of the Year
Prepaid Currency Card Provider of the Year
Winner: ICE Highly Commended: Halifax Commended: ICICI Bank UK
Winner: Post Office Highly Commended: ICE Commended:Travelex
Cashback Site of the Year
Discount Voucher Site of the Year
Winner: Quidco Highly Commended: TopCashBack Commended: imutual
Winner: LivingSocial Highly Commended: Groupon Commended: Wowcher
Home Insurance Provider of the Year
Energy Provider of the Year
Winner: LV= Highly Commended: The Co-operative Insurance Commended: MORE TH>N
Winner: EDF Energy Highly Commended: Co-operative Energy Commended: E.ON
First Time Mortgage Buyers' Choice
High Street Mortgage Provider of the Year
Winner: Yorkshire Building Society Highly Commended: HSBC Commended: Halifax
Winner: HSBC Highly Commended: Nationwide Building Society Commended: Yorkshire Building Society
Remortgage Buyers' Choice
Personal Loan Provider of the Year
Winner: Halifax Highly Commended: Woolwich from Barclays Commended: Skipton Building Society
Winner: Zopa Highly Commended: Sainsbury's Bank Commended: Nationwide Building Society
Credit Card Provider of the Year
Current Account Provider of the Year
Winner: MBNA Highly Commended: Halifax Commended: Barclaycard
Winner: Nationwide Building Society Highly Commended: Bank of Scotland Commended: first direct
Winner: Lloyds Bank Highly Commended: HSBC Commended: Halifax
High Street Savings Provider of the Year
Online Savings Provider of the Year
Winner: Nationwide Building Society Highly Commended: Yorkshire Building Society Commended: Virgin Money
Winner: GE Capital Direct Highly Commended: first direct Commended: NS&I
ISA Provider of the Year
Online Banking Provider of the Year
Winner: Aldermore Highly Commended: Virgin Money Commended: Nationwide Building Society
Winner: first direct Highly Commended: Nationwide Building Society Commended: Barclays
Best Customer Service
Winner: Zopa Highly Commended: MBNA Commended: Animal Friends
Find out more about this year's Consumer Moneyfacts Awards
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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