Best and worst banks: how customers rate their service

Updated on 23 September 2020 | 5 Comments

A survey has revealed which banks are most likely to be recommended based on their quality of service, online and mobile banking, overdraft and branch services.

Challenger banks Monzo and Starling are the banks Brits are most likely to recommend to family and friends.

That's according to a recent survey of customer opinions from Ipsos MORI, which was commissioned by the Competition and Markets Authority to learn more about how well banks are treating us.

Overall service quality

Over the last year, polling firm Ipsos MORI has been asking current account holders to rate their account provider, from how likely they would be to recommend them, the standard of their online and mobile banking services, the level of service in branches and how good the bank’s overdrafts are.

In each of the rankings below, we see the proportion of respondents who said they were very likely or extremely likely to recommend their account provider based on each of these elements.

Here is how the banks measure up for the overall scoring of the quality of their services.





Starling Bank


First Direct 


Metro Bank










Lloyds Bank


Virgin Money






Bank of Scotland


Co-operative Bank


Yorkshire Bank




Clydesdale Bank


Royal Bank of Scotland


Tesco Bank



There are immediately some interesting points that pop out from this.

The first is simply the huge difference in scores, from those that enjoy warm support from their customers to those who have evidently had a miserable time dealing with their bank. From 86% to just 44% is an absolute chasm in scoring.

But the names at the top of the list are also particularly striking, given that if you asked the average person on the street to name a bank you’d probably have to ask an awful lot of people before someone came out with Monzo or Starling.

Yet evidently these challenger banks are learning from the failings of their more celebrated high street rivals, and delivering what people actually want, making them far more likely to recommend these banks to their friends and families.

Going online

It shouldn’t be a huge surprise that the challengers perform particularly well when ranked based on their online and mobile services, given that Monzo and Starling are online-only banks.

Given the fact that people were already becoming more comfortable with doing the bulk of their banking online, even before a pandemic meant that popping down to the branch was a little tricky, increasingly having a reliable online presence is a big selling point.

Yet it’s worth noting there are some big banking behemoths that are also performing impressively here ‒ Halifax, Barclays and Nationwide all score a very respectable 81%, not that far off the 89% and 88% scored by Monzo and Starling respectively.

At the other end of the scale, it’s the same names struggling. Tesco came bottom with a score of just 59%, ahead of TSB ‒ who has had one or two high profile tech troubles in recent years ‒ on 65%.

Delivering in branch

If you are reliant on heading into branches to do your banking, then you have a smaller level of choice. Just three brands managed to score over 70%, with Metro Bank taking top spot on 84%, ahead of Nationwide (77%) and Virgin Money (74%). 

By contrast, Royal Bank of Scotland scored a paltry 50%, while the Co-operative Bank managed a barely more impressive 57%.

Dipping into the red

Finally, the study looks at how the different banks perform on overdrafts, those occasions when customers need to drop into the red.

Here Starling claims top spot with a score of 74%, ahead of First Direct (73%), Metro Bank (71%), Monzo (69%) and Halifax (62%).

Things are tight at the bottom of the table though, with Clydesdale finishing last on 50%, only a little worse than RBS (51%), Yorkshire Bank (52%) and NatWest (53%).

Tesco doesn’t make the list as not enough eligible customers answered for this category.



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