Best bank account service updated March 2020 | moneyfacts.co.uk

nigel woollsey

Nigel Woollsey

Online Writer
Published: 16/03/2020

Using the most recently published data, Moneyfacts.co.uk has been looking at how quickly the major banks complete everyday customer requests. Our analysis is based on information provided quarterly as part of the Financial Conduct Authority’s customer service statistics.

It should be noted that this is not a ‘whole of market’ comparison, as several banks don’t currently volunteer this information. However, our analysis below is a good indicator and serves to illustrate that, while most banks do a few things in excellent time, each has their own strengths and areas where improvement is evidently needed.

Most noticeable is that a good proportion of the traditional high street names in banking are failing to impress, often being placed in the middle or even towards the low-end of the table for several very common customer services. However, this isn’t a universal trend: Nationwide Building Society is seen as a traditional provider but its mutual ethos and focus on customers shines through in the results.

The newer challenger banks tend to lead the way in terms of speedy service – especially when it comes to digital processes and tasks. When comparing the old guard and the up and coming banking firms, it’s often the more modern and forward-looking firms that display excellent customer service.

Provider

A/C open average time (days)

Get debit card average time (days)

Get internet banking average time (days)

Get overdraft average time (days)

Replace lost card average time (days)

AIB

1

7

10

0

5

Bank of Ireland UK

0

10

6

4

10

Bank of Scotland

0

5

1

0

3

Barclays

1

5

4

10

3

Clydesdale Bank

1

4

0

5

4

The Co-operative Bank

6

4

0

0

4

Danske Bank

7

4

4

6

5

first direct

6

6

6

1

3

Halifax

0

5

2

0

3

HSBC UK

1

6

2

0

3

Lloyds Bank

0

5

2

0

3

M&S Bank

13

6

9

0

3

Metro Bank

0

1

0

0

0

Monzo Bank

1.5

3

1.5

1.5

4

Nationwide Building Society

0

8

8

5

6

NatWest

1

3

8

0

4

Royal Bank of Scotland

1

3

8

0

4

Santander

0

7

7

0

4

Smile

4

4

0

0

4

Starling Bank

1

3

-

1

3

TSB

0

7

0

3

7

Ulster Bank

1

3

8

0

4

Virgin Bank

1

4

0

5

4

Yorkshire Bank

1

4

0

6

4

Where can I open a bank account on the same day?

Opening an account is surely the most basic of banking needs, so it’s encouraging to see that the Nationwide Building Society and Starling Bank lead the pack, with 100% of accounts opened on the same day as the application. Bank of Scotland, Halifax, Lloyds Bank and Metro Bank all come a close second with 95% or higher hitting this target. However, disappointingly six of the banks failed to ever do this – making customers wait for at least 24 hours and, quite frequently, up to six days, to open an account.

When will my new bank card arrive?

Only Metro Bank comes close to this, succeeding in supplying a new card on the same day 76% of the time, while Monzo Bank accomplishes this just over 33% of the time. Monzo Bank, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank and Starling Bank can take up to three days on average. Unfortunately for new customers, the remaining banks – including many high street and the newer challenger banks – can take between four and an astonishing 10 days to issue a debit card.

How fast can I get online banking?

A few banks stand out as the clear leaders when it comes to internet banking: Clydesdale Bank, Metro Bank, smile, The Co-operative Bank, Virgin Money and Yorkshire Bank all boast same-day access to online banking 100% of the time. Other providers can take considerably longer – one even as long as 10 days – which is not great if you need to hit the ground running after opening a new account.

How quickly can I set up an overdraft?

When it comes to overdrafts, nine of the banks and building societies listed will take longer than a day to give you a decision and provide funding – some of these taking up to a surprising 10 days. Happily, most providers provide a same-day or one-day turnaround for a simple overdraft, which makes this pretty much the minimum acceptable level of service.

Replacement times for lost or stolen cards

In the category for replacing lost or stolen debit cards, Metro Bank is the clear winner, with an excellent service score of providing a new card the same day 94% of the time. However, it should be noted that 22 of the banks that provided data never replace a lost or stolen card the same day. These banks can take between three and an incredible 10 working days to send you a replacement debit card – bad news indeed if you are one of many people who operate a largely cashless lifestyle.

Traditional high street banks vs. challenger banks

The above can sometimes make for surprising reading – in fact, the customer service averages for some long-standing banks can be distinctly lacking when it comes to simple tasks such as opening a new account, obtaining an overdraft or simply being issued with a debit card. This tends to reinforce the idea that the larger, more well-known banks are lagging behind when it comes to providing excellent service to individual customers. On the other hand, smaller, emerging banks are clearly better focused on differentiating themselves from their larger competitors with higher standards of responsive and innovative banking services. Certainly, when it comes to speed of service, they are starting to challenge the dominance of the big high street names – and this is no bad thing for ordinary customers.

Looking to open a new bank account?

Customers who are considering opening a new bank account or moving to a different bank or building society would be well-advised to review the performance standards of all the banks they are considering. This way they can be sure that they will be getting the service experience they expect. For a full explanation on how easy it is to switch current accounts, take a look at our How to switch current accounts guide.

For more information on the twice-yearly bank service quality data, including details of where to find the league tables, please see our guide to how satisfied are customers with their banks.

Updates for Q1 2020

For the very latest news on the quarterly bank service standards, see our recent news item: Banking service standards see little progress in Q1 2020.

Moneyfacts.co.uk has over 30 years’ experience analysing financial data. If you would like data for your publication or are interested in finding more about the data we hold please contact our Online Reporter, Derin Clarke on dclarke@moneyfacts.co.uk

What about previous banking service standard reports?

To see the results of the banking service standards from previous quarters simply click on the link below:

https://moneyfacts.co.uk/banking/best-bank-account-service/

Disclaimer: This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts recommends you obtain independent financial advice.

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