First Direct tops Which? account satisfaction survey while Ulster Bank lingers at the bottom

First Direct has taken the top spot in Which?’s latest current account satisfaction survey, with customers rating it highly for customer service and communication.

Which? surveyed more than 4,000 members of the public on their opinions of their current account providers, and found customers of the trio of challenger banks were the most satisfied with their bank and the most likely to recommend it to a friend or family member.

First Direct, Starling Bank and Monzo topped the table of current account providers in the annual survey, with users ranking the brands highly for their customer service, application process, communication and transparency of charges.

First Direct came first of the 21 brands included in the survey, with an impressive customer score of 84 per cent. Starling Bank – who feature in the survey for the first time this year – followed with a score of 83 per cent. Both brands were named Which? Recommended Providers.

Monzo received the third highest customer score of 82 per cent – however, Which? has not formally endorsed the bank with its Which? Recommended Provider status as it has not yet signed up to an important industry code on bank transfer fraud.

The voluntary code, which came into force on 28 May 2019, offers greater protection against scams – which cost consumers £228.4 million last year and continued to rise in the first six months of 2019 – and makes it easier for victims to get their money back.

Which? amended its criteria for endorsing current account providers this year to include being signed up to the code. Monzo has told Which? it will be signed up to the code within the first three months of 2020.

Two other banks received Which? Recommended Provider status – Nationwide Building Society, which received a customer score of 78 per cent, and M&S Bank, with a customer score of 76 per cent. 

Ulster Bank received the lowest customer score of 55 per cent, earning just two stars for service in branch and handling of complaints, and three stars for customer service, communication, and transparency.

It was followed by Tesco Bank with a customer score of 60 per cent, and Royal Bank of Scotland with a score of 62 per cent.


Gareth Shaw, Head of Money at Which?, said:

“It’s clear that consumers value great customer service and easily accessible banking – and that applies whether they prefer to bank with a mobile app or a bricks-and-mortar branch.

“Traditional high street banks would do well to learn from their rivals challenging the status quo at the top of our survey. It seems they need to up their game to ensure they’re giving customers what they want when it comes to customer service, communication and transparency. 

“Anyone unhappy with their bank should vote with their feet and switch to a new provider.”


Full table of results:

Provider Customer score
First Direct 84%
Starling Bank 83%
Monzo Bank 82%
Nationwide BS 78%
M&S Bank 76%
Metro Bank 75%
The Co-operative Bank 73%
Barclays Bank 70%
Halifax 70%
Santander 70%
Lloyds Bank 69%
NatWest 69%
Yorkshire Bank 69%
Danske Bank 66%
HSBC 66%
TSB 65%
Bank of Scotland 64%
Clydesdale Bank 63%
Royal Bank of Scotland 62%
Tesco Bank 60%
Ulster Bank 55%
Red = Which? Recommended Provider


Notes to editors:


  • Which? surveyed 4,216 UK adults in September 2019. Fieldwork was carried out online by Dynata. Sample sizes for each brand as follows:
    • First Direct – 150
    • Starling Bank – 42
    • Monzo Bank – 128
    • Nationwide Building Society – 433
    • M&S Bank – 53
    • Metro Bank – 47
    • Co-operative Bank – 90
    • Halifax – 470
    • Barclays – 626
    • Santander – 493
    • Lloyds Bank – 552
    • NatWest – 493
    • Yorkshire Bank – 48
    • HSBC – 391
    • Danske Bank – 46
    • TSB – 175
    • Bank of Scotland – 100
    • Clydesdale Bank – 56
    • Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) – 142
    • Tesco Bank – 60
    • Ulster Bank – 41
  • Customer scores are made up of two measures – how satisfied customers are with their current account, and how likely they are to recommend the brand to a friend or family member.
  • Star ratings are calculated independently from customer score – for full star ratings for each brand, please contact
  • Which? has set out what consumers need in a changing world of banking and payments in its Everyday Finances policy report – visit for more information.



Press Release