The best bank in the UK revealed for 2021

Not all banks are born equal. Uncover the best banks in the UK for you, plus smart ways to make the most of your money.

Best banks by customer satisfaction Best banks
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Which UK bank comes top for customer satisfaction? Which one polls the best for its online and mobile banking service? And which one gives you good perks if you switch? Here’s how to find the right account to make sure you’re getting the best deal for your money.

Best bank in the UK by customer satisfaction in 2021

In 2021, we published our customer satisfaction survey on current accounts in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Here’s the full list of providers we considered and how many of their customers said they would recommend them to a friend. Learn more about the results and the winners.

Overall satisfactionCustomers who’d recommendLogoBank nameReviewMore info
★★★★★89%Monzo logoMonzoMonzo is the most popular digital-only bank in the UK – and apparently for good reason, as it topped our survey again this year. Its app-based current accounts are packed with features, with customers in our survey highlighting the useful spending categorisation and savings pots tools. Read our review
★★★★★83%Nationwide logoNationwideThe last building society that does banking on a national level, Nationwide offers a good range of current accounts, some of which come with great incentives and perks, from interest paid on your balance to insurance options.Read our review
★★★★★81%Metro Bank logoMetro BankOne of the few challenger banks that also has a network of branches, Metro Bank only offers one current account, whose top feature is that it doesn’t charge you for using the card to make purchases or withdraw cash in Europe.Read our review
★★★★★80%NatWest logoNatWestWith NatWest, you can choose between free and rewards accounts. This year, NatWest is the joint highest scoring of the big traditional banks in our survey, with customers praising both its in-branch service and digital features. Visit NatWest
★★★★★80%Santander logoSantanderPosting the same scores as its high street peer NatWest, Santander comes with all the advantages of a big bank and offers a wide range of current accounts. Among its top-selling points is the option of earning cashback on your bills. Visit Santander
★★★★★79%First Direct logoFirst DirectKnown for providing great customer service on the phone 24/7, the UK’s first telephone bank and HSBC sibling First Direct only offers one current account. But it’s a solid banking option that’s recommended by four out of five customers in our survey. Visit first direct
★★★★★79%Starling logoStarlingStarling’s digital-only current account is quick to open and efficient to manage, and the app is packed with features. Starling’s customers in our survey praised the app’s tools and ease of use. Visit Starling
★★★★★78%Lloyds Bank logoLloyds BankAnother big bank that got a solid score in our survey was Lloyds. It offers current accounts that suit a wide range of needs, has a large branch network, and has been investing in its digital banking features too.Read our review
★★★★★77%Barclays logoBarclaysBarclay’s current accounts come with the option of earning rewards at selected retailers. In our survey, customers praised the bank’s “reliable” service, as well as its banking app.Read our review
★★★★★75%Halifax logoHalifaxPart of the wider Lloyds banking group, Halifax has several current account options, ranging from basic up to reward accounts. Many customers in our survey highlighted the quality of customer service and friendly staff.Read our review
★★★★★76%Royal Bank of Scotland logoRBSRoyal Bank of Scotland is NatWest’s sister bank. Just like its sibling, it offers a selection of current accounts, including rewards accounts that feature cashback on your bills. Read our review
★★★★★71%HSBC logoHSBCHSBC has four current accounts in its roster depending on your personal circumstances and income. Long-standing customers in our survey were pleased with the customer service, although online and app banking had some mixed reviews. Read our review
★★★★★67%Bank of Scotland logoBank of ScotlandBank of Scotland is also a subsidiary of the Lloyds banking group. Its bank branches are mainly in Scotland, although you can live elsewhere in the UK to open an account, and customers in our survey were mostly pleased with its digital banking offering.Read our review
★★★★★73%Monese logoMoneseAnother digital-only account, Monese is especially good for frequent travellers or people who often have to work across different countries. Overseas purchases and ATM withdrawals are free (up to a point, depending on which plan you’ve signed up to), and you can also set up a euro account for free. Visit Monese
★★★★★69%Revolut logoRevolutRevolut’s multi-currency digital account is great for travelling and even better for sending money abroad. You can exchange and hold 30 different currencies for free and also use it as a standard UK current account – although you can’t deposit cash or cheques. Read our review
★★★★★63%TSB logoTSBThe TSB banking brand returned to the UK high street in 2013, but (along with other banks) it has been closing branches recently. Some customers in our survey had high praise for the “helpful” staff, while others highlighted the bank’s well-documented online banking issues.Read our review

Customer satisfaction ratings methodology

In December 2020, we ran a customer satisfaction survey on current accounts. 1,941 people answered and told us how happy (or not) they were with their current account provider.

The survey asked respondents how satisfied they were with their current account on a scale from one to five, and also whether they would recommend their bank to a friend or not. We turned the results into star ratings and shortlisted the top-performing brands for our awards. Where there was a draw, we used the recommendation score (that is, the percentage of customers who said they would recommend the brand to a friend) as a tie-breaker.

Full details of how we calculate our star ratings for this sector are on the bank ratings methodology page.

Banking ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor

The customer satisfaction score (“You say”) is based on a survey of 1,941 customers carried out in December 2020.

Learn the details of our methodology and scoring.

So, are these the best current accounts available on the market?

Well, yes and no. These are the current accounts whose customers are most satisfied with their banking provider.

Our customer satisfaction survey asked account holders whether they would recommend their provider to a friend and how they would rate it from one to five. So, a good result in the survey does mean that many people think a certain current account provider does a good job. What it does not mean is that the same account provider is good for everyone.

For example, challenger bank Monzo topped the survey, but if you like going to a branch and discussing your banking options in person, or having loads of different current accounts to choose from, you might be disappointed. It’s all about figuring out your banking style and ultimately choosing the account that’s best for you, not for everyone else.

Learn more about our customer satisfaction survey

Compare bank accounts in the UK 2021

Table: sorted by switching bonus
Name Product Ratings Interest (AER) Arranged overdraft Key benefits Link Representative example
first direct
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
0%
39.9% EAR variable
Award winning customer service
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
Earn 1.00% AER/gross with the linked Regular Saver Account and access a £250 interest-free overdraft (subject to status)
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200, you’ll be charged interest at 30.5% (0% EAR variable p.a on first £250, 39.9% thereafter).
Starling Bank
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
0.05%
15% EAR variable
Award-winning current account, apply in minutes
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
No fees for spending or withdrawing cash overseas - currencies are converted at Mastercard’s standard exchange rate
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 15% EAR variable.
NatWest
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
0%
39.49% EAR variable
Check your credit score for free
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badgeRepresentative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 39.49% EAR variable.
Royal Bank of Scotland
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
0%
39.49% EAR variable
Check your credit score for free
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badgeRepresentative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 39.49% EAR variable.
Santander
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
0%
39.94% EAR variable
Interest and fee free overdraft
for first four months when you switch
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
Up to 15% cashback at a range of major retailers
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 39.94% EAR variable.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bank account jargon explained

AER. Annual equivalent rate. This is a way of showing the interest you would earn in a year on money you deposited into an account, and helps you to compare accounts.
EAR. Equivalent annual rate. This is the interest rate that applies when you borrow money – when you use your arranged overdraft, for example. It shows the interest you would be charged over a year if your account were to remain overdrawn.
Arranged overdraft. If your account goes into the red, the bank will charge you a set EAR. Before you go overdrawn, you need to arrange this facility with your bank.

Which bank account should I choose?

Before you answer this question, you should ask “what do I need from my bank account?”

  • Are you looking to spend money regularly using a debit card, take out cash at a ATM machine or pay bills electronically? If so, you want a current account.
  • Are you looking to save a bit of money each month but want to have access to it at any time? You may want an easy access savings account.
  • Do you want to put some money away and restrict access to it? Try a fixed-rate savings account.
  • Are you after rewards or hoping to maximise interest? You may want a current account with rewards or a packaged bank account.
  • Are you a student and you want to open up your first bank account and get access to rewards? If so you may want a dedicated student account.
  • Are you running a business and want to handle transactions separately from your personal account? Try a business bank account.
  • Do you have a child and would like to open an account for them? Take a look at bank accounts for children.
  • There are also prepaid cards available where you can control your spending and load money on to your card. Learn more about prepaid cards.

Work out what you need before comparing the options.

Four key bank account features to compare

Sifting through small print can take forever. For those of you with better things to do, Finder has put together tables, lists and guides which allow you to make the right decision quickly. Here are a few of the main things to look out for when comparing bank accounts:

1. Interest rates
This one is important. Getting the highest interest rate will mean your money will work harder for you.

2. Small fees (preferably none)
Most banks don’t charge a monthly fee for maintaining accounts. But it’s worth checking. If you’re currently paying a monthly fee, then you need to assess whether the account is worth it.

3. Access to your cash
This depends on your preferences and personal savings goals. While many savings accounts allow you almost instant access, some require that you plan ahead and give advance notice of withdrawals. Learn more about notice saving accounts.

4. Rewards
Some accounts offer rewards and benefits in the form of shopping vouchers, exclusive rates or products. If this sounds up your street then take a look at the accounts which offer these sort of extras.

Who are the ‘big four’ banks in the UK?

Barclays
Barclays is a multinational banking and financial services company based in London. It is a universal bank with operations in retail, wholesale and investment banking – as well as wealth management, mortgage lending and credit cards. Barclays has operations in more than 50 countries and around 48 million customers globally.

HSBC
HSBC is another multinational banking and financial services company that is headquartered in London. It is the world’s sixth largest bank by total assets and the largest in Europe and the UK.

Lloyds Banking Group
The Lloyds Banking Group now includes Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland, as well as other financial brands such as Scottish Widows. Lloyds Bank itself is more than 250 years old, having opened in Birmingham in 1765.

NatWest Group
Formerly known as the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, this company includes NatWest, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank. Together, its various banking brands have branches throughout the UK.

The UK’s top banks by assets in 2021

In April 2021, S&P Global published its report on Europe’s 50 largest banks by assets. We have used this data and shown the top ranking UK banks in the list below.

RankBankTotal assets (€bn)
1HSBC Holdings PLC 2439.55
2Barclays PLC 1506.24
3Lloyds Banking Group PLC 972.45
4Natwest Group PLC 892.34
5Standard Chartered PLC645.05
6Nationwide Building Society285.97

Which is the safest bank account?

Safety is a common concern among banking customers, especially for online banking. If you’re keen to discover which banks offer the best safety precautions, check out our guide to the safest banks.

Which banks give you money if you switch?

In order to tempt customers away from their competitors, many banks offer switching incentives including cash bonuses. Click to see our guide on which banks give you money if you switch.

How to choose the best bank account

Here are the main factors you’ll want to consider when choosing your bank account.

  • Branch access. If you would like assistance from staff in a local branch, you may base your decision on which banks have branches near your home or workplace.
  • Interest rates. It’s worth comparing which banks offer the best interest rates on in-credit rates, and maybe which ones offer the most generous overdrafts.
  • Incentives. A lot of banks offer “packaged” accounts, which come with gadget insurance, travel insurance, breakdown cover and other incentives. However, these also come with a monthly account fee.
  • Customer service. There are plenty of surveys out there that rate the customer service delivered by the best banks.
  • Other financial products. Some banks offer better mortgage/credit card/savings deals to their current account holders, so bear this in mind if you’re looking for other financial products.

Best bank in the UK by service quality in 2020

Below we have listed the results of the “Personal banking service quality – Great Britain” survey. This independent survey was carried out between July 2019 and June 2020 by Ipsos MORI, and commissioned by the Competition and Markets Authority as part of a regulatory requirement.

RankingBankScore
1Monzo86%
2Starling Bank84%
3first direct83%
4Metro Bank81%
5Nationwide71%
=6Barclays62%
=6Halifax62%
8Santander61%
=9Lloyds Bank60%
=9Virgin Money60%
11HSBC UK59%
=12Natwest58%
=12Bank of Scotland58%
14The Cooperative Bank57%
15Yorkshire Bank56%
=16TSB51%
=16Citi Clydesdale Bank51%
18Royal Bank of Scotland46%
19TESCO Bank44%
RankingBankScore
1Monzo89
2Starling Bank88%
3Metro Bank85%
4first direct83%
=5Nationwide81%
=5Barclays81%
=5Halifax81%
8Lloyds Bank78%
9Bank of Scotland77%
10Santander76%
=11natwest75%
=11Virgin Money75%
13HSBC UK72%
=14Yorkshire Bank71%
=14Royal Bank of Scotland71%
16The co-operative Bank67%
17Citi Clydesdale Bank66%
18TSB65%
19Tesco Bank59%
RankingBankScore
1Starling Bank74%
2first direct73%
3Metro Bank71%
4Monzo69%
5Halifax62%
6Nationwide59%
=7Barclays58%
=7HSBC UK58%
=7Virgin Money58%
=10Bank of Scotland57%
=10TSB57%
12The co-operative Bank56%
=13Lloyds Bank55%
=13Santander55%
15Natwest53%
16Yorkshire Bank52%
17Royal Bank of Scotland51%
18Citi Clydesdale Bank50%
RankingBankScore
1Metro Bank84%
2Nationwide77%
3Virgin Money74%
=4Halifax69%
=4Lloyds Bank69%
=6Santander67%
=6Bank of Scotland67%
=8Yorkshire Bank65%
=8HSBC UK65%
=8Barclays65%
=8TSB65%
12Natwest64%
13Citi Clydesdale Bank63%
14The co-operative Bank57%
15Royal Bank of Scotland50%

Best bank in the UK by account type

Best forBankAccount
Best for low credit scoresNatWestFoundation account
Best for cashbackSantanderSantander 123 Lite
Best for packaged accountsNationwideFlex Plus
Best for switch incentivesHSBCAdvance
Best for studentsSantanderStudent account
Best for kidsgohenryPrepaid card and app
We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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6 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    AshleyDecember 22, 2018

    Which bank should I switch to for Brexit?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaDecember 23, 2018Staff

      Hi Ashley,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      As a comparison website, we are not permitted to provide specific recommendations or personalised advice. However, what I can advise is for you to find a bank that best fits your needs, preference, and budget. On this page, we have provided some guides and tips for you to remember when finding a new bank. Please review them before making a decision.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

    Default Gravatar
    DavidNovember 10, 2018

    I am moving back to UK from USA in late Jauary 2019.
    I am a British Citizen born in UK and wish to open a checking & debit card a/c to have my US & UK pension transferred to. How best to arrange this?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaNovember 22, 2018Staff

      Hi David,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      Yes, it is possible that you are able to transfer your money from the US to UK. However, you would need to directly get in touch with your chosen bank to know the exact step on how to do it.

      Moreover, please note that regularly doing a bank to bank money transfer can be costly. You may want to consider other faster and cheaper options here.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

    Default Gravatar
    CustomerMarch 21, 2018

    hello. yea so i want to open a new bank account and i dont know which i should chose i want to save money but again to pay small fees and get some bonus % of my saving money and i want to use my card for shopping online or to take something from like vodafone or to take or to take loan and pay monthly which bank is the best and has good reputation and i will not loose my money> Thank you

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayMarch 22, 2018Staff

      Hi Customer,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Depending on the type of savings account you need, you can compare your options on this page. These savings accounts are offered by reputable banks and let you earn standard and bonus interest rates. Whenever you need to access your account for whatever purpose or reason, you can also withdraw your funds anytime. Please review the details and T&Cs of the accounts first before you consider it’s the right product for you.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      May

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