News Digital Banking

First Direct, Metro top customer satisfaction charts - digital banks fail to make the cut

The Competition and Markets Authority entry criteria mean app-only banks don’t appear on its league tables.

a city skyline with tall buildings

Expect Best from Pexels

First Direct and Metro Bank have jointly topped the latest customer satisfaction banking league tables - but digital lenders are nowhere to be seen, for now.

The HSBC-owned online and phone lender and the challenger bank both notched up 82 per cent scores for overall service in the latest Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) bank survey.

The watchdog’s report, which began two years ago, requires the country’s largest banks to ask their customers “how likely they would be to recommend their provider to a friend, relative or other business?”

However, no digital banks were included in the survey. This means neo-banks such as Revolut,Monzo and Starling, do not appear in the report despite the fact they have reported millions of new account holders in recent years.

Making the grade

Revolut claims around six million account holders across Europe, with around half in the UK. Monzo has two million British account holders.  

But the survey does record data from high street giants and smaller groups such as Barclays,Clydesdale Bank, Tesco Bank, The Co-op, and Lloyds.

The reason for the omission of app-only banks is due to the methodology the CMA uses to include lenders.

The survey included the 16 largest personal current account providers in Great Britain and the nine largest in Northern Ireland. For small business accounts. it sampled 14 largest business current account providers in Great Britain and the five largest in Northern Ireland.

Active users

However, for personal accounts, banks must have had more than 150,000 active users over the last year and must then survey them over the following 12 months, said a source at one leading UK-based digital bank.

At least one British digital bank will be in position CMA customer satisfaction data from next August.

Nationwide came third in the watchdog’s survey, released last week, with an overall score of 74 per cent. The data also scores how customers rated their bank’s online, overdraft and branch services.    

Banks are also required by regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), to publish data on how long it takes to open current accounts and replace debit cards, as well as information about the number of major operational and security incidents they have experienced over the last year.

‘Nowhere to hide’

CMA director Adam Land said: “These league tables help show what’s out there for customers and hold the providers to account. There’s nowhere for the worst performers to hide now.”

FCA executive director of strategy and competition Christopher Woolard added: “The information published should increase the incentive for firms to offer better service, helping consumers to get the most out of their banking experience.”

Royal Bank of Scotland trailed in last in the survey for the third year in a row, with an overall satisfaction rating of 46 per cent.

Each bank that took part in the survey surveyed around 860 customers across the last 12 months. 

The CMA survey can be found here.

Companies In This Article

logo, company name
logo, company name
logo, company name
HSBC logo

People In This Article

a man wearing glasses and a suit

Christopher Woolard

Director of Strategy and Competition

Financial Conduct Authority

More Like This