What's in this guide?
- Best bank in the UK 2021 by customer satisfaction
- Customer satisfaction ratings methodology
- Compare banks
- Which bank account should I choose?
- 4 key bank account features to compare
- Who are the 'big four' banks in the UK?
- Which is the safest bank account?
- Which banks give you money if you switch?
- How to choose the best bank account
- Best bank in the UK 2020: A summary
- Best bank in the UK by service quality 2020
- Best Bank in the UK by account type
Best bank in the UK 2021 by customer satisfaction
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’ve considered and how many of their customers said they would recommend them to a friend. Learn more about the results and the winners.
|Overall satisfaction||Customers who’d recommend||Logo||Bank name||Review||More info|
|★★★★★||89%||Monzo||Monzo 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||The 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||One 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||With 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.||Read our review|
|★★★★★||80%||Santander||Posting 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||Known 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||Starling’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||Another 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||Barclay’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||Part 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%||RBS||Royal 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||HSBC 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||Bank 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||Another 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||Revolut’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||The 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 our star ratings for this sector are on the bank ratings methodology page.
So, are these the best current accounts available on the market?
Well, yes and no. These are the current accounts its customers are most satisfied with. Our customer satisfaction survey asked account holders whether they would recommend their account to a friend and how they would rate it from one to five.
So, a good result on the survey does mean that many people think a certain account provider does a good job. What it does not mean is that that same account provider is good for everyone.
For example, challenger banks Monzo and Starling top 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 among, you’ll be disappointed. It’s all about figuring out your banking style and ultimately choosing the account that’s best for you, not for anyone.
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
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 withdraw money regularly using a debit card and taking out cash at a cash machine or paying wirelessly? 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.
4 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.
- This also applies to penalty fees. If you think you’re likely to end up in your overdraft, then pick an account which will allow that. Don’t end up stuck in account which penalises you every time you dip into the overdraft.
3. Access to your cash
- This depends on your preferences and personal savings goals. While many savings account allow you almost instant access, some require that you plan ahead and give advance notice of withdrawals. Learn more about notice saving accounts.
- 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 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 territories with around 48 million customers.
HSBC is another multinational banking and financial services company also headquartered in London. It is the world’s sixth largest bank by total assets and the largest in Europe.
Lloyds Banking Group
Lloyds Bank is a retail and commercial bank with branches across England and Wales. The bank was founded in Birmingham in 1765. It expanded during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and took over a number of smaller banking companies.
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), is one of the retail banking subsidiaries of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc, together with NatWest and Ulster Bank. The Royal Bank of Scotland has around 700 branches, mainly in Scotland though there are branches in many larger towns and cities throughout England and Wales.
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 on 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 offered 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 2020: A summary
The results come from a customer satisfaction survey we carried out on a number of banks in the UK.
|UK Bank||Rank||Customers recommend|
|Bank of Scotland||13||63%|
Best bank in the UK by service quality 2020
Below we have listed the results of the Personal banking service quality survey that took place in Great Britain. These results are from an independent survey carried out between July 2019 and June 2020 by Ipsos MORI as part of a regulatory requirement.
|=12||Bank of Scotland||58%|
|14||The Cooperative Bank||57%|
|=16||Citi Clydesdale Bank||51%|
|18||Royal Bank of Scotland||46%|
|9||Bank of Scotland||77%|
|=14||Royal Bank of Scotland||71%|
|16||The co-operative Bank||67%|
|17||Citi Clydesdale Bank||66%|
|=10||Bank of Scotland||57%|
|12||The co-operative Bank||56%|
|17||Royal Bank of Scotland||51%|
|18||Citi Clydesdale Bank||50%|
|=6||Bank of Scotland||67%|
|13||Citi Clydesdale Bank||63%|
|14||The co-operative Bank||57%|
|15||Royal Bank of Scotland||50%|
Best Bank in the UK by account type
|Best for low credit scores||NatWest||Foundation account|
|Best for cashback||Santander||Santander 123 Lite|
|Best for packaged accounts||Nationwide||Flex Plus|
|Best for switch incentives||HSBC||Advance|
|Best for students||Santander||Student account|
|Best for kids||gohenry||Prepaid card and app|
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