Challenger Bank Reviews


Canstar Blue reviews and rates small banks in Australia including Bendigo Bank, ING Direct, Citibank, Suncorp, Heritage Bank and ME Bank on factors including customer service, self-service functionality, fees & charges, interest rates, and overall satisfaction.

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2017 award for challenger banks

Most Satisfied Customers | ING Direct

ING Direct has returned to the top of Canstar Blue’s customer ratings for challenger banks. It was rated five stars by customers for enquiry & problem handling, self-service functionality, fees & charges, digital banking and overall satisfaction.

ING Direct back on top for challenger banks

When you think of banks in Australia, you probably think of the big four. But should that be the case? Just like looking for an internet provider or electricity company, it’s worth considering the smaller guys, too. You’ll often find they offer better value, or even more personalised customer service. And when it comes to financial institutions in Australia, you have plenty of options. Just like the big banks, they will be just as capable of keeping your money safe, offering you various financial products and helping with any problems you may have. So, which of the smaller banks is keeping its customers the most satisfied?

To find out, Canstar Blue produces an annual review of challenger banks across Australia, asking customers to provide their feedback on factors relating to customer service, problem handling, product range, self-service functionality, digital banking, interest rates and fees & charges. But most importantly, challenger banks are compared on overall satisfaction. This year, more than 1,700 customers of these smaller banks have had their say.

ING Direct is the only challenger bank to receive five stars for overall customer satisfaction this year, returning to the top of the ratings table for the first time since 2010. In addition to overall satisfaction, ING Direct earned five-star reviews in regards to enquiry & problem handling, fees & charges, self-service functionality and digital banking. Other notable results included:

  • Five stars for ME Bank on product range and interest rates
  • Five stars for Heritage Bank on customer service, product range and enquiry & problem handling

While eight of the 13 challenger banks in this year’s review only received three stars overall, it’s interesting to note that just 13% of customers who took part in the survey said they would like to switch banks. This compares to 19% of adults with one of the big four banks.

The importance of good customer service

One of the big draws to smaller banks is the potential for superior, more personalised customer service. As well as revealing which challenger banks are rated highest in Australia, our research also identified what drives overall satisfaction for customers of smaller banks.

  • Customer service: 26%
  • Fees and charges: 17%
  • Problem/enquiry resolution: 17%
  • Product range: 13%
  • Digital banking (online, mobile, app): 12%
  • Self-service functionality: 8%
  • Interest rates: 7%

Ultimately it’s worth keeping your options open if you’re not entirely satisfied with the service you’re currently receiving from your bank – big or small.

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Frequently asked questions

Canstar Blue commissioned Colmar Brunton to survey 6,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have an everyday transaction account with a bank other than Australia’s big four banks (ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac) – in this case, 1,792 people.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.

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