Resolver reveals the top and bottom current account providers for putting things right
While we haven’t exactly been splashing the physical cash as much as we might have wanted to in the past year, owing to lockdown restrictions and the need to pay by card where we can, we need to know our money is kept somewhere safe and we can access it whenever we want.
Current accounts have seen a fair amount of movement this past year, With phenomenally low interest rates on the money you have in them, and high interest percentages added to overdrafts as of last October, it’s fair to say that excellent customer service is one of the bigger draws to choosing a provider. It’s also perhaps never been more important to be assured that if something goes wrong that not only can you get it rectified as quickly, compassionately and effectively as possible but that you can actually make direct contact with your bank in the first place.
Current account customers have fed back to us – and we can reveal which providers are providing top of the class issue resolution and service compared to the rest. Our table of 15 providers – featuring the analysis of almost 12,000 closed cases between June 2020 and May 2021 – details which providers customers recommend, which ones leave them the most satisfied with how their case was resolved, and which banks offer the easiest routes of complaint and contact.
Our ranked providers include established banking groups and a number of newer ‘challenger’ digital banks. The top three are all more established banking groups while digital banks are notably middling in our table, perhaps showing that in terms of issue resolution the shine is perhaps wearing off digital-first dealings.
Overdrafts, access and fraud
New complaints made to banks dropped compared to 2019/2020, but still topped 11,000 over the past year. However, the number of fraud cases raised to banks remained static – with current accounts remaining the financial service with the highest volume. These cases either concerned identity fraud with accounts opened in a customer’s name without their knowledge or consumers sadly falling victim to scams and asking for assistance, but we saw cases where customers were unable to get through on fraud helplines.
Meanwhile, changes to overdraft interest rates – agreed by the Financial Conduct Authority – made their mark on customers as a number of banks introduced interest rates of 39.9% per annum late last year. This was delayed from April 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold. We saw more than 400 complaints specifically referencing overdraft problems in the year, including customers shocked by sudden hikes to their overdraft charges.
‘Resolver saw more than 2,000 cases concerning frozen or blocked accounts over the year’
Access issues were the most complained about issue to banks in the year to June 2020. These varied including password recognition problems, ‘broken’ mobile banking apps and an inability to get to online details but one issue that has become a marked distress for thousands of consumers is having their accounts frozen, blocked or closed without warning. We saw a number of complaints made to ‘challengers’ but this issue has become less exclusive to digital banks as the year has progressed.
Banks are unfortunately allowed to freeze or close an account and they don’t have to tell you why though this typically occurs when an unusual transaction (payment or withdrawal) is made to or from the account. We saw more than 2,000 cases concerning frozen or blocked accounts over the year, mainly concerning those that have tried to get their accounts unfrozen and failing.
Top of the current account providers for putting things right is RBS – now part of Natwest Group – with an impressive Resolver Rating of 84. The bank was rated five stars out of five, compared to its competitors, across five of our seven performance measures for effective complaint resolution, though response and resolution times were slightly less well-rated compared to others in our table.
RBS had the highest rating across all the banks for satisfaction and ease of contact or making a complaint. It was also the top bank for customers’ likelihood to recommend to their friends or colleagues.
Taking the second spot in our table with a Resolver Rating of 78, Virgin Money was the only bank in our podium to achieve a five-star rating for its resolution and response times. Meanwhile, Natwest’s Resolver Rating of 72 is supported by its five star ratings for ease of contact and solid four star performances for satisfaction and the likelihood of its customers to recommend.
‘RBS had the highest rating across all the banks for satisfaction and ease of contact or making a complaint’
All of the top three banks achieved five stars for its feeling change rating – our assessment of a customer’s feelings at the end of a case compared to when they raised it with their bank. Other five star performances for satisfaction included Lloyds Bank and Halifax, while Revolut was among the few scoring five stars for its resolution rate.
|Ease ||Satisfaction||Feeling |
|Nationwide Building Society||40|
The Resolver Rating is made up of the relative performance rankings for companies across seven metrics. The end scores are a representation of relative performance versus other companies in the table above – in relation to the top score for each metric.
For current account providers the top performing scores or percentages for each of the seven metrics are:
Our bottom three current account providers are a mixed bag of established names and challenger banks – with TSB and Pockit nudging ahead of Santander to not land in last place.
Santander’s Resolver Rating of just 16 is indicative of its poorer performance around issue resolution – compared to the 14 banks placed above it. While managing two-star ratings for satisfaction and ease of contact, it scores just one star for its response times and resolution rate, indicating that customers have felt that their complaints have not been resolved as effectively as they would have liked.
Meanwhile, Pockit received one of the lowest ratings for both satisfaction and ease across our table – earning it just one star out of five. It was also one of the banks least likely to be recommended by its customers, compared to others in our table. TSB fared better than both Pockit and Santander for satisfaction and customers experiencing more positive feeling at the end of their case compared to when they raised it. However, its poor one-star ratings for resolution time and response time contributed to its low overall ranking in our table.
While not as poorly rated by customers elsewhere, challenger banks including Monese and Monzo exclusively make up the club for one-star ratings for ease of contact and complaining. However, once cases were raised they were among the higher performers for their response and resolution times.
Our scores and the overall Resolver Rating (from 1 to 100) are drawn from the feedback of Resolver users, along with measures used to assess response and resolution times. But every bit of feedback has a story behind it and our data specialists analyse all the information in detail.
Every Resolver user is asked how satisfied they are with a company when a case is closed. Resolver requires a minimum of 30 customer feedback responses for a company for it to be included in our analysis. The Resolver Rating is made up of seven different measures of complaints resolution and service, those that according to our research are important to customers, which each individually assess how a company ranks relative to all other companies in the sector that are represented in our analysis. To get five stars for one of our measurements, a company has to score within the top 20% of its category relative to the rest of the companies in our analysis.
Here’s our rundown of the seven measurements we use to calculate our Resolver Rating for issue resolution and service:
Three current account providers – RBS, Virgin Money and Natwest – qualify to be Resolver Recognised.
Resolver Recognised is our scheme to help consumers find and choose companies that perform the best at putting things right when they go wrong, according to their own customers. To qualify to be Resolver Recognised, providers must achieve a Resolver Rating of 70 or more.
Only those providers identified by their customers as proving time and again that they put things right with quality service can become Resolver Recognised. When you see the Resolver Recognised logo, you can be confident you will receive excellent service should you need to raise an issue.