Now in its fourth year, The Supers looks beyond the lowest interest rate or longest balance transfer and considers other factors such as customer service, flexibility and innovation, and winners are chosen across six categories: Best Provider for Credit Cards, Loans, Savings, Current Accounts, Mortgages, and Best Overall Provider.
So, who was top of the shop at this year’s Supers..?
Best Current Account Provider: Santander
Santander has been crowned best current account provider for the second year running at the 2014 MoneySuperMarket Supers Awards. The bank’s innovative 123 Account attracted more than two million customers since its launch in 2012 and its popularity was no doubt given a boost by the seven-day current account switching rules introduced last September.
The 123 Account differs from most current accounts as customers receive cashback on their water, council tax, energy, mobile and broadband bills and the cost of their television package. For most, the value of this far outweighs the £2 monthly fee.
The account also pays in-credit interest if customers pay in £1,000 or more each month. A rate of 1.00% is paid on balances of £1,000 to £1,999. This rises to 2.00% on balances between £2,000 and £2,999 and customers who have between £3,000 and £20,000 in their account receive 3.00%, more than you can currently get with any easy access savings account.
And while customer service has blighted Santander’s reputation in the past, a lot of hard work has been done to improve this area –and it appears to be paying dividends as MoneySuperMarket customers gave the bank the thumbs up for its customer service.
Reza Attar-Zadeh, head of retail products at Santander, said: “We’re delighted to have won the awards for Best Overall Provider and Best Current Account Provider by Money SuperMarket. I’m extremely proud that we have been recognised for developing innovative products which offer our customers genuine value enabling us to build long term relationships with them and for the improvements we’ve made in customer service.”
For more information on the Santander 123 Account and other leading current accounts read our article ‘The best banks to switch to in seven days’.
Best Savings Account Provider: Halifax
2013 proved to be a difficult year for savers with rates generally dropping across the board – and Halifax’s use of innovation over interest rates was right on the money as the bank scooped the award for best savings account provider.
The Halifax ‘Savers Prize Draw’ offered savers with qualifying accounts the chance to win one of three top £100,000 prizes every month (providing at least £5,000 is held in the account for the whole calendar month prior to each draw).
The Savers’ Draw helped ensure its fixed rate savings products remained popular throughout the year and made its ISA deals attractive throughout ISA season and beyond.
Richard Fearon, head of Halifax savings, said: "At Halifax we understand the savings market and look to support it with innovative, excellent products and services. This award is a fantastic endorsement of our work, both in terms of the popularity of our ISA range, and of our Savers Prize Draw which has given away over £16.5 million to thousands of savers across the UK."
To compare Halifax’s range of award winning savings products, visit our Halifax savings accounts page.
Best Mortgage Provider: HSBC
HSBC was crowned best mortgage provider for the third year running at the 2014 MoneySuperMarket Supers. Last year saw the UK housing market given a much-needed boost as the government’s funding-for-lending scheme meant providers could offer low-rate mortgages to help first-time buyers in particular.
HSBC’s wide range of competitive deals for consumers at different deposit levels proved popular with customers across all rungs of the property ladder. And although HSBC dropped out of the MoneySuperMarket best buy tables after a strong start to 2013, it did launch the lowest mortgage rate ever – its two-year fixed rate mortgage priced at just 1.49%.
Pete Dockar, head of mortgages at HSBC, said: "Winning best mortgage provider for the third consecutive year is a real honour, it confirms the strength and popularity of our great value products."
If you’re looking to buy your first home or switch to a better mortgage deal this year, read our article 5 steps to a cheap mortgage.
Best Credit Card Provider: Tesco Bank
Last year saw some fierce competition in the credit card market, particularly where balance transfers were concerned, and so Tesco Bank has scored a major coup over its rivals by scooping the award for best credit card provider.
Where other lenders simply upped the term on their balance transfer cards, Tesco Bank challenged the market with a card that not only offered 12 months interest-free on both purchases and balance transfers, it also waived the balance transfer fee.
Although this card was only available for a limited time, Tesco continued to keep its customer at the front of mind offering them the chance to earn Clubcard points at a faster rate with its credit cards and unveiling a market-leading deal with 18 months at 0% purchases.
Will Curley, credit card director at Tesco Bank, said: “We are delighted to have won ‘Best Credit Card Provider’ at the MoneySupermarket 2014 Supers Awards.This award is particularly rewarding for us as it was voted for by our customers as well as industry experts.
“We appreciate the recognition of our focus on customers, with market-leading deals and the ability to earn Clubcard points on credit card transactions.”
You can compare a range of Tesco Bank credit cards using MoneySuperMarket’s comparison tool.
Best Loans Provider: Sainsbury’s Bank
Sainsbury’s Bank not only maintained its position as MoneySuperMarket’s largest loan provider throughout 2013, but once again took the honour of being named best loans provider at this year’s Supers.
Not only did its loan rates make top position in the tables at points during last year, but the products were designed with its core customers in mind, offering promotions for Nectar Card customers and Sainsbury’s shoppers alike. The range of loan deals on offer gave borrowers a wide variety of borrowing options.
Today, Sainsbury’s best personal loan rates are lower still, in keeping in line with an increasingly competitive market – you can pick up a rate of just 4.5% on loans of between £7,500 and £15,000 taken out over one to three years, and 4.6% if taken out over four to five years.
Product Innovation Award: Nationwide Building Society V.me Digital Wallet
2013 was a year when contactless and cashless payments really began to take off, and Nationwide was at the forefront of technology with V.me – a digital wallet service launched in conjunction with Visa to rival those offered by PayPal, Google, MasterCard and other smaller outfits.
V.me allows customers to store in their digital wallet the details of any Visa and MasterCard cards they hold and make payments online without having to share details of those cards with any third parties.
Although not the only digital wallet provider on the market, the judges were impressed with Nationwide’s efforts to support customers who need the reassurance of shopping in safety in a digital world.
Phil Smith, Nationwide head of current accounts, said: “Nationwide was really happy to pick up the awards for Product Innovation and Best Overall Provider Highly Commended. The Society works hard on providing innovative ways to help our customers and it’s good to see this recognised by MoneySuperMarket.
"Our V.me digital wallet makes shopping online faster, easier and more secure for our customers. As a member owned organisation our customers are at the heart of what we do and we are really please MoneySuperMarket recognised the competitive products the Society offers.”
Best Overall Provider: Santander
After narrowly missing out as Best Overall Provider in the 2013 Supers Awards, Santander took the 2104 award instead. Kevin Mountford, head of banking at MoneySuperMarket, said: “Santander’s strategy of developing innovative products with a view to retaining long term relationships, rather than focus on short-term incentives, made it really stand out from the crowd.
“The 123 Current Account is a great example of offering customers true value from a current account, making it different to most of the mainstream products on the high street. Santander has also made improvements to its customer service scores, with these improvements being recognised by our customers in the customer service survey.”
Best Overall Provider – Highly Commended: Nationwide
Nationwide narrowly missed out on the top gong but received a highly commended award in the Best Overall Provider category.
Nationwide currently offers a range of dedicated products to existing customers while also remaining competitive across a range of products aimed at new customers – and this commitment to customers, couple with an innovative approach to product development, that impressed the judges.
Whether you’re in the market for a mortgage, or want to check out the latest current accounts, compare a full range of financial products with MoneySuperMarket.