Why we still trust our high street banks

They might be closing branches left, right and centre, but most of us still trust our high street banks more with our money than any other companies.

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We asked more than 2,000 consumers if they would trust a variety of traditional banks, supermarket banks and non-banking companies with their cash – and the big high street banks were the clear winners.

This is despite the fact that:

-their presence on the high street is diminishing (according to The Campaign for Community Banking Services, 399 bank branch closures have already been announced this year)

-the new ‘challenger’ banking kids on the block often provide better savings rates

-half of us (53%) believe high street banks have a bad reputation.

Which banks rank highest?

Even though it was voted the worst current account service provider in a poll earlier this year by MoneySavingExpert, our survey found Barclays is one of the banking names consumers trust the most, along with NatWest and Santander.



All of these banks achieved a ‘trust score’ of at least eight out of 10 from consumers.

Not all banks ranked so highly though.

Kevin Mountford, head of banking at MoneySupermarket said: “Scandals such as mis-selling investigations and IT crashes evidently remain in the public’s mind, as both RBS and The Co-operative Bank came out as less trustworthy in comparison to the other banking giants.”

However, they still fared better than non-banking companies such as Facebook and Google, with 61% of people ranking Facebook just two out of 10 for trust, while 40% gave Google the same score.

Supermarket and online financial services companies did better than tech companies.

Marks and Spencer is considered the most trustworthy supermarket bank, with one in five (22%) consumers scoring it at least seven out of 10, while 21% rated Virgin Money the same.

Why do high street banks score so highly?

Even though they are closing branches and are often found lacking when it comes to customer service, banks have really stepped it up a gear with their current account offerings and are proving more attractive as a result.

The past couple of years have seen the launch of several high interest paying accounts.

TSB’S Classic Plus account, for example, pays 5.00% AER (variable) on balances up to £2,000. And if you apply for your account before July 31, you’ll receive £100 cashback. You’ll need to pay in at least £500 a month, have at least three direct debits on the account and register for internet banking and paperless correspondence.

Supermarket and online financial services companies did better than tech companies...

Alternatively, Santander’s 123 Current Account pays 3.00% AER (variable) on balances between £3,000 and £20,000. (You’ll earn 1.00% on balances above £1,000 and 2.00% on balances above £2,000.) To qualify, you must pay in £500 or more a month, have at least two direct debits on the account and pay a £2 monthly fee.

What does the future hold?

Although we might trust high street banks the most at the moment, the introduction of new technology and payment services such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet could see this change.

Younger people are more receptive to these new services, with our research showing one in four 18 to 24 year olds would open a current account with a tech company such as Facebook or Google.

But banks are already coming up with new ways to prove they are also ahead of the game when it comes to cutting edge technology.

Halifax, for example, has just unveiled a new ‘snap to switch’ service to help make moving current accounts simpler. Customers can upload a photo of the debit card for their current account that they are looking to move from and the service will complete the relevant parts of the online application form.

Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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