/ Money

We deserve better banks

Better Banks campaign logo

Our surveys have once again found that the big banks aren’t getting customer service right. Standards aren’t being driven up across the industry due to a lack of competition, so today we’re launching a campaign calling for better banks.

Have you ever thought about your bank account and why you need it? Because you love banking? Life would be interesting if you didn’t have one. I suppose you could keep all your cash stuffed in the mattress and take a bit out to pay the gas man (except he doesn’t visit anymore).

So yes, everyone needs a bank account these days. And the banks know that. Maybe you don’t think about your bank too much – the money flowing in and out. But is that all we expect from our bank – somewhere to put our money and make payments? Surely there’s more that they can be doing?

Your bank can see when you’re about to go over your agreed limit, so why don’t they tell you? Some banks automatically text you the moment your payments exceed the limit on your account, and give you time to get your account back into balance before applying charges. But too often we see banks hitting customers with disproportionately large fees for unauthorised overdrafts.

And what about when you fail to pay a bill because your bank’s IT systems have gone down and you can’t get access to your money? Banks can do better and they know it.

Big banks struggling to keep up

So today we’re launching a campaign calling on the regulators, government and banking industry to get banks to listen to us – their customers. There’s a certain quality we can expect from any of our service providers and many of the UK’s biggest banks are struggling to keep up with their smaller rivals.

Some of the smaller banks are getting it right, like First Direct and Metro Bank. Their customers are the happiest, as we found in our latest survey of more than 20,000 customers. But a lack of competition means this isn’t driving up standards across the whole industry.

We want to put customer service in the spotlight for all banks. We want alerts, apps and other tools that would help us manage our money more easily. And we want unfair unauthorised overdrafts to be tackled too.

Sign our petition for better banks

The Competition and Markets Authority’s major inquiry into the current account market is due to conclude in the next few months, but we don’t think current proposals will reform the market. That’s why we’re calling for a collective effort from Government, regulators, and the banking industry to raise the standard of service we receive. And the competition inquiry needs to ensure that banks are held to account for the way they treat their customers.

We know that banks have started to change their culture in response to the mis-selling scandals of recent years, but now is not the time to congratulate them on a job well done. Sorting out the worst practices should be the bare minimum of changes we need to see to create better banking for customers. If you agree, please sign our petition and then tell us how your bank treats you.

[UPDATE 16 FEBRUARY 2016] – Two of the big banks have come out in support of our Better Banks campaign. Les Matheson, CEO of Personal and Business Banking at RBS and NatWest, said:

‘We agree that Britain needs better banks and that is why over the last few years we’ve been challenging the industry to help our customers out, not catch them out and we’re proud of how we’re making banking simpler and fairer for our customers.’

In response to our customer satisfaction survey, Les Matheson added:

‘Whilst we are disappointed in these results, we are determined to do more and we are working with Which? to support their campaign, including raising awareness and education of products – not just for our customers, but across the banking industry.’

Terry Kaye, Divisional Director for Customer Experience at Nationwide Building Society, said:

‘As a mutual, Nationwide is owned by and run for the benefit of its members meaning they are at the heart of what we do. The Society already has the highest customer satisfaction scores amongst its banking peers, but we aren’t complacent and are always striving to further improve the level of service offered to our customers.’


Like countless others I am in a quandary as whatI should do with a reasonable sum of money that has come my way. My initial feeling given the lack of confidence in all banks at present is to just stash it under my bed!!

Brian Hambidge says:
25 February 2016

Actually, Co-op Bank have always been very fair with me. That’s why I haven’t moved since they stopped being a co-op.
They are, obviously, not typical.

James Hyson says:
26 February 2016

Make sure the retail arm of banks is separate from the trading – that way the man in the street gets to keep his money, and the cowboys can make or lose a fortune gambling with corporate money, and who cares??

Barry Vass says:
26 February 2016

Does age and obvious financial activity not matter. Correspondence received is produced in a ‘blanket’ form. This regulatory anonymous way leaves us confused as to what/which to act on. Yet when approached my Nationwide Bank financial advisor is always avail. So why the need for persistent intrusion?


really its common sense, the majority of families on low income are suffering greatly an are under appreciated. Without the jobs they do the country would come to a standstill. Now the point is the bankers are using people’s money to reinvest in outrageous and also risky ventures. People could actually lose there money and have. So lets get things sorted its simple and easy to do it just means the bankers and politicians have to stop using there secret handshakes or refer to the wearing of the right school tie and work for the people in whom there voted in by, paid by and are ultimately employed by, yes you now us the British. public.


Sue -Right on the money ! especially the “secret handshake ” “”club “” -or how to get on in life even if you have zero talent – leapfrog over those better qualified than you endemic in all aspects of our life of those that control us from the police right up to the top of Royalty -check out who is the head “boss ” of it . The Mafia has nothing on this lot.


We shouldn’t alarm people unduly. Holdings of up to £75,000 in any one bank, building society, or credit union [or in certain cases a group of such under a corporate entity] are protected by a statutory Deposit Guarantee Scheme [the Financial Services Compensation Scheme]. Nobody with less than this has lost any money as a result of a bank or building society insolvency or default.


It used to be protection of £85,000 and I heard that it might be further decreased from £75,000.