The most recent results for the banking service standards from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) show that banks are making little progress to improve their service standards.
The latest results cover 1 January 2020 to 31 March 2020 and show that while there has been progress in some areas of customer service, banks are still failing to improve in others. Most notably, more banks can open a normal account within one day, with the average time taken to issue a new card being just under five days. However, some banks are still making customers wait for weeks to replace cards that have been lost.
On a positive note, the time taken to gain access to online banking has continued to improve across the sector. At the other end of the scale, six banks remain unable to provide an instant decision on overdraft requests taking just under four days on average.
These service performance results are issued quarterly by the FCA and shows how quickly banks and building societies carry out a series of common banking services. The FCA introduced these standards with the aim of helping customers choose a bank account in the full knowledge of the service experience they can expect the receive.
There’s more information on the independent service quality survey in our helpful guide: How satisfied are consumers with their banks?
The average time taken by banks and building societies to replace lost debit cards remains at around four days, with the longest average wait dropping from 10 days last quarter to nine days.
Metro Bank remains the only bank to continue to replace lost debit cards in the within a single day, achieving this 93% of the time in the latest results.
No other providers can meet this standard, with only Barclays and Monzo Bank managing to replace a lost or stolen card within an average of two working days. Bank of Scotland, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank and Starling Bank all take an average of three working days.
Overall, the data shows that it takes an average nearly 13 days for organising a card replacement for 99% of customers. However, this stretches into a staggering 51 to 70 days for some providers clearly illustrating that this is an area of consumer service where some banks and building societies still need to drastically improve on.
Once again, Nationwide Building Society and Starling Bank come out on top for this category, providing same-day account opening for 100% of all their customers. Six banks, including TSB, Metro Bank, Monzo Bank, Lloyds Bank, Halifax and the Bank of Scotland, can open an account within just one day 90% to 99% of the time – the same result as the last quarter.
At the other end of the scale, there has been some improvement, with only four banks that are never able to open a new account the same day – down from the six listed last time.
Amazingly, the longest time to open an account for 99% of customers was a staggering 40 days for one bank.
Happily, there is some good news in this category, with the average time it now takes to open a new bank account across all providers remaining at just two days.
Disappointingly no bank or building society can yet provide a debit card on the same day as the account is opened 100% of the time. The closest to achieving this is Metro Bank, which manages to provide a debit card the same day around 71% of the time. Sadly, the rest of the banks and building societies continue to lag, with a remarkable 21 banks never being able to achieve this.
The average time taken to issue a new debit card remains at just under five days. The longest average wait was eight days – an improvement on last quarter’s figure of 10 days.
One area that continues to show improvement over the last two quarterly reports is the area of internet banking. The average time it takes to gain access to internet banking has dropped again from the four days it stood at in December 19 to just over three days in Q1. In addition, the longest time that customers must wait on average has remained static at 10 days for this quarter. A total of seven banks – Clydesdale Bank, Metro Bank, Monzo Bank, smile, The Co-operative Bank, Virgin Money and the Yorkshire Bank can provide same-day internet banking access 100% of the time – eight banks are unable to ever achieve this benchmark.
While nine providers can get back to a customer within the same day with a decision on an overdraft request, this is still down on the 10 banks who could accomplish this in December 2019. Disappointingly, six banks remain unable to hit this target, with the average number of days it takes to arrange an overdraft standing at just over two days.
If you are unhappy with your existing provider’s service standards, then the Current Account Switch Service has made it easier than ever to move accounts between participating banks. Simply open a new bank account with the new bank and advise them that you want to switch. You’ll have to fill in a couple of forms and provide proof of your ID before your new bank will contact your current provider to begin the process of moving you across.
Once they have all the info they need, switching banks should take no more than seven working days. This is a free service so there’s no charge to be paid. If any errors are made that result in you paying charges (for example a missed direct debit payment) then you’ll be refunded in full.
Find the kind of account you need quickly and easily with our bank account comparison tables. These include high interest current accounts, for those looking to get the best return while they are in credit, as well as the best online or even free accounts.
For those who may need a bit of safety net from time to time, take a look at our accounts with overdrafts, while there are also specialist sections for guaranteed current accounts or offshore bank accounts.
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.