Santander the worst bank in the UK says poll

4 December 2010

santander_News that should surprise absolutely nobody whatsoever tells us that Santander have been named as Britain’s worst bank when it comes to customer satisfaction.

The bank, previously known as Abbey regains the title that it held in 2007 and 2008 in the annual survey carried out by JD Power & Associates, and 12% of Santander’s customers that were surveyed say that they’ll probably move banks at some point if they can be arsed to actually get on with it.

Yorkshire Bank weren’t far behind the loathsome Santander in the rankings as the bank you love to hate, but it’s good news for First Direct and the Co-operative Bank – they’re the ones with the highest customer satisfaction ratings.

More worryingly, 21% of those surveyed said that they’d had a problem with their bank in the past 12 months – a spokesman for JD Power said: “Customers in the UK hold generally negative perceptions of their banks' motives, particularly regarding the pursuit of profit at the expense of the best interests of their customers.”

Would you agree with that? And what would it take for you to switch banks? Maybe you don’t believe that things would get any better if you switched and that it isn’t worth bothering. Tell us your thoughts below – unless apathy has struck you completely dumb that is.


TOPICS:   Banking


  • yeah
    so living up to their digitised turd logo?
  • votewithyourfeet
    If so rubbish, why do people stay with them? Change to an English owned building society (which Abbey weren't in the end) like Nationwide. If everyone in this country started supporting English companies and products then we might be better off.
  • Lynn's taken me over 6 weeks to get out of Santander...every time I went to close the account there was always a glitch and I couldn't...finally out now.
  • Stu
    I've just completed a move away to First Direct and couldn't be happier, though it did take about 8 weeks to complete, this is purely because of the Santander dragging their feet and not providing FD with my direct debit details - they are that snowed under with customers leaving!
  • Mark
    I moved from Santander to First Direct. DO IT DO IT DO IT!!! You wont look back. Apart from the £100 bonus when you switch, picture this, EVERY time Ive ever called customer service, not only was the person who answered british, but they picked up the phone just like you do in your own house, i.e "Hello First Direct, Mary speaking..." No annoying press 1, press 3, press 2 etc and then some foreign plonker who you cant understand. First Direct, one person, deals with you start to finish! AMAZING!!!
  • Tom
    I have two main accounts - Santander and Nationwide - and frankly I am looking to change both, although it is easier said than done. Since Alliance Leicester became Santander, their customer care has gone (almost completely). When phoning Alliance Leicester, I used to get though straight away. Now, when phoning Santander, it can take hours to get through - and then most of the time, they are unable to help!! Nationwide, who are meant to be in it for their members (I have been a member for over 15 years), are also getting worse and worse. Since they abandoned free foreign withdrawals (despite advertising this for years), and started charging members for other things, their service has gone too...... One 'foreign', one 'British'. Both awful.
  • Babs B.
    They are all crap, cause what's the FSA gonna do BOOM F***ALL, BOOM F***ALL
  • Jane
    I too have been trying to leave Santander for over 6 weeks now and have joined first direct they are 1 million times better! I'm currently sitting in Santander as I type desperately trying to see someone! I hate them!!
  • lisa
    It truly must be the worst bank for customer service. I had to cancel my husbands debit card after he lost his wallet. When he rang to get a new card they would not send him one because he had no ID.He could give his date of birth, account history, direct debits mothers name, deposits over the last year, any transactions whatsoever but because he had never logged into the internet banking with a number they would not send him a new debit card and told him to take a cheque book into the nearest bank. I cancelled HIS card. HE could not access any money in our joint account!! Great if I was running off with the milkman. We have been with alliance and leicester 28 years good bye santander you are RUBBISH. Too many times we have had to complain.
  • Stephen T.
    I have never come across more incompetent people in my life as those who work for Santander, don't normally like to tar all with the same brush, but they're all useless. Some idiot froze my account 4 days before Christmas because my card was reported as stolen which was news to me!! I then went into a branch to try and sort it out and they said it would take 5 working days, then came the excuses; time delay due to rebranding, inexperienced person going to have retraining! Thankfully I also have a NatWest a/c purely for savings but that's not the point I'm still waiting for another debit card. PS Never been overdrawn in my life I'm a no risk person but it counts for nothing. I detest Santander. Never had a problem when with Alliance and Leicester.
  • MIchael
    I don't know what training if any do the Santander Bank customer service staff get they are appalling . Called to find out why I can't open my Internet banking, the woman on the phone was so rude, she wouldn't give her name for security reasons, wanted to speak to supervisor, not allowed she told me, if I wanted to speak to some one had to go to a branch. Shame on you Santander go back to Spain and live la vida loca where you belong. Hate them with all my guts .
  • Shoddy B.
    [...] – the worst bank in the UK – have unsurprisingly been subject to a fair amount of your complaints. [...]
  • Sally W.
    I opened an account with them over 2 months and still have not received my debit card. Every time I phone them to see where it is I get the usual reply of "it's in the post." I took things a bit further and wrote them a letter to complain and I had a response of "thank you for your complaint - we are writing to you to inform you that we have not yet resolved your complaint" Thanks a bunch!! And to top it off they sent the letter to my old address (I moved house and have informed them of this over 6 months ago) !! Bunch of muppets!!
  • Peter A.
    I'm trying to take my mortgage elsewhere. Everything is in place at this end but..... It's been 5 weeks since they were first asked for a redemption figure so we can pay them off. Despite all the letters and phone calls from myself and the lawyers they have made a different excuse or promise each time. Usually because I seemingly had the nerve to have originally taken out this mortgage with Alliance & Leicester. Finally, yesterday they decided that 'the computer says no', they have a technical issue and cannot give a redemption figure until they fix it. When will it be fixed? I asked. We don't know, was the answer. 'Do it manually' I suggested. Use a calculator or online interest calculator or even, gulp!, a pen and paper. 'the computer says no' So Santander have my life held to ransom. I'm at my wits end thanks to them and no end in sight to my suffering. I pray that I will finally, one day escape from them.
  • steve c.
    Completely agree that Santander is the worst bank in the UK for efficiency and customer service. After sitting down with an Adviser at the Eastleigh Branch on the 12th December i asked for a branch saver account which paid 2.5% which i though had been set up by the time i left. A few days later i returned to the branch to invest some more money in the same account and was told that my money had in fact been put into another account paying a mickey taking amount of 0.5%. I asked to see the original adviser or the manager to address this problem but was told both were on leave that day. I phone the next day and was told that she had indeed made a mistake but also that she had forgot me to get me to sign a form when i originally opened my account. I turned up the next day and she agreed she had made a mistake and promised to get me the difference between the two rates credited to my account plus she would look into compensating me for parking and petrol plus all the associated hassles. All well and good but i never heard anything again from the Santander. I phone there automated system on the 16th February and eventually after 15 mins got to speak to an operator who to an adviser who after listening to my complaint said that i should expect a phone call that day or the following, neither which happened. Having not heard from them as promised i phoned the complaints department who made me feel as if i was a criminal because i could not answer a couple of security questions because i did not have the information to hand. Instead of trying to find a solution to the problem i was told to wait up to 4 hours for a phone call from Santander security. Bearing in mind i had already waited over a month from a response from the branch, two days for a phone call and now they told me i had to wait another 4 hours,i told them i had lost confidence in them as a bank and if i treated my customers the same way i would not have a business. i would strong recommend people not to use the Santander as it is clear they really deserve their reputation as the worst bank in the UK. I can honestly say i have not had a worse experience apart from one with the Alliance and Leicester which ironically was taken over by Santander...........Say no more!!
  • andy
    i can seriously see this bank collapsing i was in branch today someone had an apointment for 12.30 were still sitting waiting an hour later disgusting santander ship back to spain or go bust in uk
  • Bygstad1
    I am shortly to depart Cahoot another part of the ex Abbey network acquired by Santander. About 2 years ago they had a power outage in Madrid which meant I couldnt access my money for 2 days. No apologies no effort to explain. I only found out because I rang them to ask impertinantly why I couldnt get MY money out. I was told this was a normal event, NO SANTANDER IT ISNT! HAVENT YOU HEARD OF BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLANNING OR DISASTER RECOVERY. The fact they didnt at that time appear to have a plan or contingency for this sort of outage is outrageous. Maybe if they spent a bit more on an extra generator rather than plundering the UK for as much money as they can get away with may be their undoing, "Goose and Golden Egg" springs to mind, Interestingly now they arent doing so good in Spain so perhaps they should start appreciating the jewel in the crown, the long suffering UK customers.
  • websaver
    I can confirmed that Santander is indeed incompetent or dishonest or likely both. They are the worst bank I have ever to deal with, their incompetence is beyond belief. I started telling them the mistakes they made it was a few months ago. Now the problem has become too complicated for any chance of them sorting it out (they steal a few pounds here and there). First the support staff told me I did not have to get into the mathematical details they knew what they were doing, then they messed up again. Today I received a letter from someone called Kheyaam Shafqat (if that's even their real name) saying that they have done a final review on my ISA a/c that they have come to the conclusions they have made no mistake and that it was my responsibility blah blah ... hmmm .. when I don't even have an ISA a/c with Santander ... so are they for real? Honestly who is in charge of this bank? How can a bank like this be allowed to go on?
  • zoe
    I agree with those comments above. Santander repeatedly wrote me letters telling me I owed them over £4000 when in fact I had paid them off. Even when I phoned through to their "customer service dept" which took half an hour of my time, the woman on the other end was so rude she had me in tears and I had to put the phone down. I wrote a letter of complaint to them and received a letter back sort of apologising for her behaviour but stating she must have had good reason. they also informed me a note had been put on my account to state that it was closed.. however, guess what. two weeks later I received yet another letter demanding £4000. This time I emailed them their evidence and so far (touch wood) they seem to have got the message. I will never ever bank with or recommend Santander to anyone.
  • Mark G.
    I recently recieved a from santandar saying there was a missing payment from February 2011. when i phoned my bank to find out why, they informed me that no payment had been requested that month, all other payments had be taken out. When i phone Santandar all as they can say is their system was wrong, thats not good enough as i now have to find the oustanding money through their fault, its disgusting. I hope santandar rot in hell
  • Russell C.
    I originally posted this on Wallet Pop but.............. .........Santander is the pits. They have placed me on credit reference agencies saying I had missed payments when none were missed, all were early & some double. My statements support all this. Not only that all the information has been duplicated so the 'missed' notices are doubled as are the amounts involved. They refuse to change their stance so now it is in the hands of the Ombudsman. Whenever I can, I warn others. I wouldn't touch Santander again with my worst mates barge-pole!! ..............Since the above, one month ago I had a letter demanding payment of an overdraft when the outstanding sum was well within the limit. Furious I paid up in cash and closed the account. I was assured that my request for a letter confirming the closure would be sent. You guessed it ~ no letter & no last statement. On passing a branch two days ago I brought this up. I was told byone of the staff, tongue in cheek, that Santander did not send out confirmation letters, even though they were requested, and if they did one for each closure, as there were thousands and it would take months! And that's there own staff !! They are C**P.
  • michael
    ever tried to get stationary from these jokers,dont bother,7 times now,either online or phoning them direct! what do they do when u request some?? do they instantly forget it when u put the phone down!! useless !!!
  • Sally
    I recently took out a santander zero interest credit card as they advised me this was the easiest most hassle free way to pay for goods etc and that no interest was charged on transactions or cash withdrawals. Unfortunately, i'd forgotten my pin number and the new one didnt arrive until after we left for our holiday. My daughter tested it to me but when I went to use it in a shop the pin number came up as incorrect. It turned out that I had to 'unlock' the new pin using a santander cash machine. I could use it for cash withdrawals but got a poor exchange rate and ended up being charged interest on these! Some machines it didnt work in and came up error card invalid. It was most frustrating. We'd spent 5 weeks travelling around australia and the only santander cash machines were in Sydney, which happened to be the last place we were visiting. I emailed santander several times and did get acknowledgement of my predicament but they didnt do a thing about it. Also, when I tried to access my bank account online i discovered they'd blocked access to that. I emailed them stating that if they can remotely manipulate access to my bank account, surely they can remotely unlock my pin. I refused to phone them from abroad because it always takes ages to get through to speak to anyone. A phone call to santander typically takes on average 15 minutes and most of the time they can't answer your questions anyway. Utterly utterly useless bank.
  • Erin
    I'm currently a student at university. I decided that I wanted a student account to receive an overdraft. Unfortunately for me, because I was in the second year of my course, they couldn't change my account. To get a student account, you must be in the first year or switch from another bank?! This makes absolutely no sense to me. I've also tried to set up my online banking, but annoyingly the website keeps telling me that the passcode I'm typing in is wrong (even though it's the passcode they sent me in the post and I have tried at least 20 times). I'm so frustrated and I don't exactly have the credit on my phone to afford to faff about with their helpline. I'm so irritated that I want to leave but by the sounds of thing, it's going to be a hassle.
  • Chris
    I have now made the decision to leave Santander also, I was originally an Alliance and Leicester customer and have been with them for over 24 years. I too had a credit card zero, due to a problem in June/July, my credit file was affected by another banking company (which was sorted out in 30 days after going via correct channels), however during the time it was affected, Santander wrote to me to advise me that the APR on my Zero card was being increased from 18.9% to 29.9%, I was given until the 26th October to opt out the increase, the letter pre-stated that this was a result of my credit file being changed. I spend 2 months trying to contact them to talk to a 'person' to get this looked at, in that time all I got was computer printed letters stating they were in the rights to update my APR, I was given mis-information, told to write to the underwriters, even told to opt out and then call back after a certain date to opt back in. None of these yielded any results, on later calls I was told these ideas were not allowed, certain calls I was told they had no recollection of that call. and the last letter I got was addressed to me, the letter content was correct, but the card number quoted was NOT my card number! So they had actually printed someone else's card number (luckily the two middle blocks of numbers were replaced by xxxx so there was no security breach.) Even the Financial Ombudsman has not had a reply to the ticket I raised 2 months ago. They have even stated in letters 'we tried to contact you but had no reply'. I have wasted 2 months+ trying to resolve this, and I give up. As an Alliance and Leicester customer I had been with them since the 80's and had excellent service, and whilst this was the credit card section, to me they are all under the same name now, so I expect the same courtesy and personal attention. If my other financial company who fixed my credit file can do this in 30 days and speak to me personally, why can't they. No verbal communication, no person to chat to, no effort to even investigate or even address my issues. Customer Services is lousy. I cant fault the bank side, but I am afraid I judge them as a company based on their total service and this has failed. After 2 months of chasing them, I emailed, and was told 'raise a complaint on the web site', I HAD!, I told them I had, and got another email to say it was passed to someone senior who would contact me, no one did, and the same email said 'raise a complaint on the web site' . Cya Santander! hope you can improve things!
  • Steve
    I have been a customer of First Direct for about 15 years and they are quite simply brilliant. You phone and a person answers straight away and none of this automated rubbish. Their staff are helpful, knowledgeable, friendly and efficient and they have never made a mistake with my accounts. On the other hand I have had a savings account with Santander for about 6 months and a few days ago I contacted them for the first time to transfer some money and they even called me back as part of the security but the money never left the account. I think Santander should stop spending money on sponsoring Formula 1 and concentrate on basic customer service. For anyone reading this, do yourself a favour and move to First Direct as not only are they brilliant they are also paying £100 to new account holders for opening an account.
  • Chris
    As a follow on to my earlier posting, I had a letter today to state that they investigated the case, and when I signed for the card it was explained to me that this was a promotion and only valid until June 2011, this would have been explained to me at the time I got the card (erm, no it wasn't). They also suggested if I wanted to take this further to raise this with the financial ombudsman. If this information had been made available to me at the start, certainly I would not have wasted months ringing them, but instead gone straight to them and disputed the fact at no time was I advised it was a Promotional APR. I still don't really believe that (I have my reasons). Additionally at no time in any of the letters from them have they referred to the Financial Ombudsman case number, so I don't think any letters I had from them are even related to that either. I have now forwarded all the paperwork to them for their adjudicator to investigate. The problem is customers want to feel that they are special and each problem they have is investigate by a person, computer generated letters are not the way to go, they are in some way impersonal, and you never feel like you are talking to someone who is up to date with your case/issues. Each time you call, its a different person, they each have different answers and suggestions and on follow up calls, the new person you speak to, has no reference to this or what was discussed, and in some cases that is disputed, leading to frustration, annoyance and anger. Thanks Steve for your comments, that is indeed where I am going with my account, alas I don't qualify for the £100 since my account has been open with them now for about 7 years (but dormant with about £10), however each time I call, I get spoken to by a real person, and after a few simple security questions, I am spoken to you with courtesy and professionalism. Whilst I haven't had any complaints about the banking side of Santander since my account was A&L, the whole mismanagement of my Credit Card has reveal a lousy Customer Service section which I don't want to get dragged into. I fully agree.. First Direct is a brilliant bank and so far, the transferring of my DDs to First Direct from Santander has been smooth with a migration date of early December 2011, all handled by First Direct at no cost to myself, to be able to speak to someone instead of automated services is great!
  • Chas
    I agree that their online banking is lousy. I've not been able to access my current account for two months. Their so-called helplines are useless.
  • John
    Since Santander took over Alliance and Leicester things have gone down the toilet in a BIG, BIG, BIG way. Customer Service is nothing more than a JOKE! From 09.00 untill 16.45pm trying to get through to them, eventually I gave up. Visited their branch, and I may as well have been speaking to a wall with eyes. I`m now into my third week of trying to close my account with this useless bank.
  • Peter J.
    They took seven weeks to send forms to my solicitor for me to sign. The another week to say probate was needed even though they previously had said it was not required. Then another two weeks to say further identification required. Still waiting for next excuse. They just hang on to peoples money, you and I would be accused of fraud.
  • polestar
    santander took over alliance and leicester and cancelled my interest only mortgage and applied for repossession of my house.I have no job and now no house.Received a letter from alliance and leicester asking for mortgage payments they obviously did not know they now have my house already.Dont these people ever update their data.Shit company, people mean jack shit to these crooks.
  • Martin
    Santander have ripped me off for overfraft fees foor the last time.Cost me almost £300 to use my OD of £250 in an emergency period.£550 in total.Loan Sharks the lot of them.Lets get back to ethical banking please and a bit of socialism
  • Lesley Y.
    We spend all our time dealing with Santander. They have apparently introduced a new level of security for telephone banking which they did not tell us about because this is not "secure". they introduced one of these for online banking - you have to have a mobile and they text you a code to make a payment. We don't have a mobile phone - they suggested a "friend or neighbour" - how secure is that? And to be fair we could get a phone for a tenner on the High Street but how secure is that? Or I could go to a branch - but my nearest is 13 miles because they shut them down because they moved to telephone and online banking - "for an imporoved customer service" and I was in the throws of an infection and just trying to pay a bill so nothing bad happened to me. Last month they sent us a pathetic letter saying they Knew How We Felt - and that they woudl compensate us. They meant to say with £10 but there was a typing error and the letter said £190. They paid us that in the end. They have the worst staff in the world - who tell me in all seriousness that they are "qualified" customer service and also "qualified" in dealing with complaints. I never shout or abuse people but I do feel that I have the right to say what I feel about the company they are "qualified" to work for. But this just means that I get the phone put down on me. To call and make a complaint you have to use the security system that they haven't told you about, and cannot set up because you need to go through t he security system. Catch 22 seems like a dream scenario in comparison. I don't get this with other companies. I have offered to help them with soem training in systemics and customer service but they never think I mean it.
  • stephen
    Santander where do I start, well I should congratulate them on seizing the smallest window of opportunity in which to charge me for going 50p over drawn they charge mew for this and even though I have banked with them for 4 years they will not give me an overdraft of 100 pounds. Three weeks ago I deposited a check with them and still they have not let me have the money they keep lying to me and obstructing me from closing the account because I have 10 grand in there and they will not let me have it they are criminals. Do not bank with them it will cost you 10 quid every time you try to find out whats gone wrong with your account again. I hate Santander with a passion.
  • The I.
    Worst fookin bank ever bunch of non-customer driven retards. Incompetence is fundamental to anyone who works there They accused me of Fraud and wouldn't listen to a word I said
  • Alexander C.
    I deposited money with Santander. They refused to put it in a savings account and gave me a Multi Manager account, supposedly a secure low risk investment. Due to poor service I drew my money out after five and a half years. The amount I got back was £9,750 short of my original deposit. Supposedly the fund had performed badly, yet they can themselves big bonuses. Surely the first priority should be to compensate the customere for your gross incompetence. If only I had had the savvy to put my money in a British bank I would be better off now. I wouldn't trust these thieving Spanish scumbags at Santander.
  • baz
    I've been with this Bank from a child and i am now 45. I had the miss fortune to become ill and require chemotherapy for leukaemia . This left me unable to pay inland revenue what was required . My savings went on the family home . I've always had money going in and out and no after draught. I was then made bankrupt and was still happy plodding along, only for this bank too freeze my account and leave me with no money and unable to put the gas back on or get my kids to school. They then told me too come to a branch and get my money so they can close my account. Talk about kicking some one when they are down. I've got no bank account for my mortgage to get paid. All i can say is don't full on hard times.

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