The most recent results for bank service standards from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) show that although there has been progress in some areas of customer service, banks are still failing to improve in others – most notably in replacing lost debit cards within one day.
The FCA customer service report is issued quarterly and illustrates how quickly individual banks and building societies take to process several common banking tasks. The aim of this is to educate consumers on their bank’s performance and encourage them to switch to a better performing provider.
Find out more about the independent service quality survey with our guide: How satisfied are consumers with their banks?
Figures for the time taken to replace a lost or stolen card remain disappointing. Only Metro Bank has distinguished itself in this category providing replacement cards the same day 94% of the time – placing them way ahead of the competition. Barclays achieved same day replacement 1% of the time, while all other providers are routinely unable to meet this target.
The average time taken to provide a replacement card was around four days and the maximum reported was an average of 10 days. Other best performing providers, who take an average of three days to replace cards, include Bank of Scotland, first direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank and Starling Bank With the overall figures for card replacement for 99% of customers stretching into weeks for some providers this is an area of consumer service where the banks and building societies have plenty of opportunity for improvement.
Nationwide Building Society and Starling Bank continue to lead the pack, providing same day account opening for 100% of all customers. A further six banks, including TSB, Metro Bank, Lloyds Bank, Halifax and the Bank of Scotland, can open an account within just one day 90% to 99% of the time.
At the other end of the scale, six banks are never able to open a new account the same day – instead taking a least 24 hours up to a full six days.
The longest time was a reported 13 days needed on average to open a bank account for new customers.
Happily, across all of those surveyed the average time it now takes to open a new bank account remains at just two days, holding steady on its improvement from summer 2019 when it stood at three 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, who manage to provide a debit card the same day around 76% of the time. While this is impressive, the rest of the sector lag seriously behind with an incredible 21 banks never being able to achieve this.
Over the whole of the survey the average time taken to issue a new debit card was just under five days. The longest average wait was 10 days - far too long for consumers who are fully engaged with the modern cashless and contactless culture.
One area which has shown improvement over the last two quarterly reports is the area of internet banking. While only six banks – Metro Bank, Clydesdale Bank, smile, The Co-operative Bank, Virgin Money and Yorkshire Bank can provide same day internet banking access 100% of the time – nine banks are unable to ever achieve this benchmark.
However, the average time it takes to gain access to internet banking has dropped from the seven days it stood at in November to just under four days now. This is a great improvement in what had been a lacklustre performance by all banks previously. In addition, the longest time that customers must wait on average has fallen too from 12 days at the time of the last survey to 10 days for this quarter.
Largely, the news on the speed of obtaining an overdraft decision is good, with 10 of the banks surveyed able to get back to a customer within the same day. However, disappointingly six banks still never hit this target.
The Current Account Switch service has made it easier than ever to move accounts between participating banks if you are unhappy with your current provider’s performance. 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.
The switch itself should take no more than seven working days and there’s no charge. In addition, 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.
Our bank account comparison tables can help you find the kind of account you need quickly and easily. Our tables 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.