UK high street banks outgunned by Internet-only rivals

UK high street banks outgunned by Internet-only rivals

The big four UK clearing banks are still being outgunned on customer service by their smaller rivals, with Smile and First Direct topping the Which? annual current account satisfaction league tables.

The Which? survey from a representative sample of just over 4000 UK consumers finds that Barclays, LloydsTSB and NatWest are still in the bottom category for satisfaction (last out of five) with HSBC only just above. Only 30% of LloydsTSB customers were very satisfied with their bank, compared with 91% of Smile customers, says Which?. Barclays and NatWest fared little better at 34% and 36% respectively.

Top banks for customer satisfaction are Smile and First Direct. Of the traditional high street banks and building societies, Nationwide has the most satisfied customers. Next in line are stand-alone operators Cahoot and Intelligent Finance, on a level par with Halifax and Alliance & Leicester.

The UK consumer group is using the results to step up its Switch with Which? campaign to encourage consumers to move accounts to more competitive banks. Customers of the big four could save over £500 million a year if they switched to banks with better rates, says the consumr group.

Ashleye Sharpe, head of money research, Which?, says: "There's never been a better time to switch banks. The smaller rivals of the Big Four have again showed that they can offer excellent service and great rates."

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