Challenger bank, Starling, bags its first ever Which? Award as it’s named Banking Brand of the Year

For the first time, a ‘challenger bank’ has won the coveted Which? Award for Banking Brand of the Year, seeing off  impressive competition from Nationwide – who has been the winner of the award since 2017. 

Starling Bank is a relatively new player to the UK banking scene, launching the nation’s first app-only current account in 2017. It is the first challenger bank to turn a profit and attracted more current account switchers than any other provider in 2020.

It has the top customer score for current accounts and is therefore a Which? Recommended Provider. It also achieved the top score in Which? ‘s most recent online banking security test. 

Former winners of the award, Nationwide and First Direct, were also shortlisted this year. 

The Awards, which have been running since 2007, recognise best practice for consumers and give awards to businesses and products from travel companies to kitchen appliance brands. 

The 11 categories include Insurance Brand of the Year, which this year goes to LV, with judges noting its comparatively high levels of travel ‘Covid cover’. 

This year the judging took into account brands’ customer service response during the ongoing pandemic and for the first time ever, also awarded points for demonstrable eco credentials.  


Which? Chief Executive, Anabel Hoult, said: 

“Starling Bank has shown that newcomers can be a force to be reckoned with in the banking market, and since its inception just four years ago has proved a firm favourite with customers.

“In a year that has proved difficult for many consumers when it comes to customer service and refunds, our shortlist shows that it has still been possible for brands to deliver a great service.”

The Which? Awards are usually presented at a ceremony, but due to Covid-19 restrictions, this year’s Which? Awards winners were announced on Which?’s Twitter feed today (7th October). 




Notes to editors:

Full list of categories, winners and shortlist below.


Category Winner Shortlist
Which? banking brand of the year Starling Bank First Direct, Nationwide
Which? insurance brand of the year LV= Direct Line, NFU Mutual, John Lewis
Which? travel brand of the year National Trust Holidays Exodus, Jet2 Holidays, Trailfinders
Which? retailer of the year Richer Sounds Healthspan, John Lewis, Seasalt, Skechers
Which? utilities brand of the year Tesco Mobile Octopus Energy, Zen Internet
Which? car brand of the year Toyota Honda, Lexus, Mazda, Skoda
Which? home technology brand of the year Apple OnePlus, Samsung, Xiaomi
Which? home entertainment brand of the year LG Amazon, Google, Samsung, Sennheiser, Sony
Which? kitchen and household products brand of the year De’Longhi Asda, Breville, Tefal
Which? large kitchen appliance brand of the year Bosch AEG, Beko, LG, Miele, Samsung
Which? Trusted Trader of the year Finesse Bumblebee Plumbing & Heating Ltd, Splash of Colour Painting & Decorating Ltd


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