2013 – Challenger Banks Ratings

Posted by Canstar Blue March 25th 2013

You are viewing the archived 2013 award for challenger banks. Go to the current challenger bank ratings.

See Our Ratings Methodology.

Hollow Star Rating Hollow star ratings are awarded where brands do not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria, however achieved at least the minimum sample required for all other criteria.

“Money can’t buy me love, but it can make me happy,” say two in three banking customers

Most Satisfied Customers: Challenger Banks, 2013Does money really buy happiness? Respondents to our recent survey certainly think it helps, with more than two thirds agreeing that money is important to be happy in life. This number went up considerably when Generation X respondents were asked the same question, with 73% believing money was key to happiness.

Unsurprisingly, younger respondents were most likely to “live for today” financially when compared to respondents closer to retirement (39% of Generation Y’s, versus 35% of Gen X’s and 31% of Baby Boomers). Generation Y respondents were also much less likely to claim they understand financial language than their elders (57% of Baby Boomers versus 42% of Gen Y’s).

When it comes to banking, it seems consumers don’t mind doing their homework. Nearly three quarters of survey respondents spent a significant amount of time considering all the information before making a financial decision, and two in five always shopped around for the best deal.

If you feel you can get better value than your current bank, a host of challenger institutions are ready to help you take control of your finances.

Police Bank was the ultimate brand for customer satisfaction; achieving our Most Satisfied Customers Award for Challenger Banks – 2013. They also took five star ratings in six of the eight rated survey criteria.

Police Bank was rated alongside Heritage Bank, Bendigo Bank, ING, ME Bank, Teachers Mutual Bank, BOQ, Suncorp Bank, BankSA, Bankwest, St. George, HSBC, Citibank and Bank of Melbourne.

We also compared customer satisfaction with major bank brands in this survey.

Police Bank very nearly dominated these results, but several other brands also rated highly:

  • Heritage Bank was a five star achiever for its internet banking, range of products and friendliness.
  • Teachers Mutual Bank received five stars for its range of products, and
  • ING scored five stars for its fees / charges.

Canstar Blue commissioned Colmar Brunton to survey 5,000 Australian consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from respondents within the survey group – in this case, 1,543 people – who have one or more accounts or products (e.g. transaction account, savings account, credit card, home loan) with a challenger bank (i.e. not a major bank, and not a credit union or building society).

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands that received three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10.

Overall customer satisfaction

Police Bank achieved a five star rating for overall satisfaction. Next were four star brands Bank of Melbourne, Bendigo Bank, BOQ, Heritage Bank, ING, ME Bank, Suncorp Bank and Teachers Mutual Bank; with three stars awarded to BankSA, Citibank, HSBC, Bankwest and St. George.

Branch service

Many banks go the extra mile when it comes to face-to-face customer service, and Police Bank led in this area according to our respondents – so it received a five star rating. Heritage Bank, Bank of Melbourne, Bendigo Bank, BOQ, Suncorp Bank, BankSA, Bankwest, St. George and Teachers Mutual Bank all received four star ratings. Next with three stars were ING, Citibank and HSBC. ME Bank was awarded two stars for its branch service.

Call centre service

Police Bank struck all the right notes over the telephone – the bank’s customers being most satisfied with its call centre service. It received a five star rating, followed by Heritage Bank, Bendigo Bank, ING, ME Bank and Teachers Mutual Bank with four. BOQ, Suncorp Bank, BankSA, Bankwest, St. George, HSBC, Citibank and Bank of Melbourne all finished with three stars for call centre customer service.

Internet banking service

Online banking has become vitally important to the average banking customer over the last few years, and two challenger banks excelled in this regard: Police Bank and Heritage Bank. Each brand earned a five star rating for internet banking service.

They were followed by four star recipients Bendigo Bank, ING, ME Bank, Teachers Mutual Bank, BOQ, Suncorp Bank, BankSA, Bankwest, St. George and Bank of Melbourne. Citibank and HSBC both received three stars.

Product range

We saw another tie for the top spot in this criterion: Heritage Bank and Teachers Mutual Bank both achieved five star customer satisfaction ratings for their range of products. Police Bank, ING, ME Bank and Suncorp Bank followed with four stars; and Bendigo Bank, BOQ, BankSA, Bankwest, St. George, Bank of Melbourne, HSBC and Citibank received three stars for product range.

Efficiency dealing with inquires

How well does each financial institution deal with the questions and concerns of its customers? Police Bank customers think they have the brand to beat with a five star rating. Heritage Bank, Teachers Mutual Bank, ING and Bendigo Bank were next with four stars; followed by ME Bank, Suncorp Bank, BOQ, BankSA, Bankwest, St. George, Bank of Melbourne, HSBC and Citibank with three.

Fees / charges

ING customers were most satisfied with their institution’s banking fees and charges. Police Bank, Heritage Bank, Teachers Mutual Bank and ME Bank were awarded four stars for this criterion. Bendigo Bank, Bank of Melbourne, Suncorp Bank, BOQ, BankSA, Bankwest, HSBC and Citibank received three stars, and St. George received two.


Both Police Bank and Heritage Bank achieved top scores when it came to friendliness. Receiving four stars were ING, Teachers Mutual Bank, ME Bank, Bendigo Bank, Suncorp Bank, BOQ, BankSA and Bank of Melbourne. Bankwest, HSBC, Citibank and St. George were awarded three stars for friendliness.