Compare first direct credit cards for October 2020

Despite having no branches – operating purely online and over the phone – first direct regularly tops customer satisfaction polls. It offers two credit card products: the "Standard" and "Gold" cards – available to holders of a first direct current account.

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First Direct

Part of the HSBC banking group, first direct was set up in 1989, and claims to be the only UK bank which has enjoyed such a long period of providing service to its customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It offers the full range of financial products – savings, mortgages and insurance – that you’d find at a high street bank, but without the overheads.

first direct’s outlook is decidedly unstuffy and forward-thinking, with its marketing and publicity aimed squarely at a younger audience, and security measures that include voice recognition.

Compare first direct credit cards

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Purchases Balance transfers Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Incentive Link
first direct Gold Credit Card
0% for 17 months reverting to 16.9%
16.9%
(2.9% fee)
£0
16.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 16.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 16.9% APR (variable).
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first direct Credit Card
18.9%
0% for 27 months
(2.29% fee)
£0
18.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
More Info
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Approval for any credit card will depend on your status. The APR shown represents the interest rate offered to most successful applicants. Depending on your personal circumstances the APR you're offered may be higher, or you may not be offered credit at all. Fees and rates are subject to change without notice. It's always wise to check the terms of any deal before you borrow.

What types of credit card does first direct offer?

first direct’s card range is small but perfectly-formed, with just two cards. Both are exclusively available to first direct current account holders.

  • 0% balance transfers

    Got an outstanding balance with another bank? That needn’t stop you switching. This type of card allows you to transfer a balance (as the name suggests) to first direct, and enjoy a lengthy period of 0% interest on it. If you do this, you should aim to clear the balance before the end of the 0% period, otherwise a much higher rate kicks in. Work out what you should pay each month by dividing the outstanding sum by the number of months at a 0% rate, and aim not to use the card for spending.
    Learn more about 0% balance transfer cards

  • 0% purchases

    If you’re planning to make major purchases on your card, a 0% interest on purchases card effectively lets you spread the cost over a number of months (providing the purchase is within the credit limit that first direct gives you). Remember that if you only make the minimum required payments each month, you’ll have an outstanding balance when the 0% period ends, and a much higher rate will kick in.
    Learn more about 0% purchase cards

Both cards have no annual fee attached, and offer the chance to earn cashback on specific purchases through the separately-administered Visa Offers programme. The cards are Apple Pay and Google Pay-compatible.

How do first direct cards compare against others on the market?

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first

Here are some popular cards offering 0% on balance transfers and purchases.

The cards below are sorted by their representative APRs, and the length of their 0% on balance transfers offer period, but if you’re interested in comparing the cards by a different feature, you can re-order the table.
Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Balance transfers Balance transfer fee Purchases Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Incentive Link
The NatWest Balance Transfer Credit Card (eligibility criteria apply)
0% for 18 months reverting to 19.9%
0.49%
Transfers must be made within 3 months of account opening
0% for 3 months reverting to 19.9% p.a. (variable)
£0
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable), your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
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More Info
M&S Bank Transfer Plus Mastercard
0% for 28 months reverting to 19.9%
2.85% (min. £5)
0% for 6 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9% (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
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The Royal Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card (eligibility criteria apply)
0% for 18 months reverting to 19.9%
0.49%
Transfers must be made within 3 months of account opening
0% for 3 months reverting to 19.9% p.a. (variable)
£0
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable), your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Go to site
More Info
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Mastercard
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
2.9% (min. £5)
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9% (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
More Info
HSBC Balance Transfer Credit Card
0% for 25 months reverting to 21.9%
1.5% (min. £5)
0% for 3 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
21.9% (variable)
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
More Info
HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card Visa
0% for 18 months reverting to 22.9%
2.9% (min. £5) for transfers in first 60 days
0% for 18 months reverting to 22.9%
£0
22.9% (variable)
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
More Info
first direct Credit Card
0% for 27 months reverting to 18.9%
2.29% (min. £5) for 3 months reverting to 2.9% (min. £5)
18.9%
£0
18.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
More Info
HSBC Premier Credit Card
0% for 18 months reverting to 18.9%
1.4% (min. £5)
0% for 9 months reverting to 18.9%
£0
18.9% (variable)
A selection of rewards from a range of partners. Earn 1 point for every £1 spent within the UK and earn 2 points for every £1 spent outside the UK. Points can be redeemed for shopping vouchers and frequent flyer miles.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
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The cards below are sorted by their representative APRs, and the length of their 0% on purchases offer period, but if you’re interested in comparing the cards by a different feature, you can re-order the table.
Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Purchases Balance transfers Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Incentive Link
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Mastercard
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
0% for 20 months
(2.9% fee)
£0
19.9% (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
More Info
HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card Visa
0% for 18 months reverting to 22.9%
0% for 18 months
(2.9% fee)
£0
22.9% (variable)
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
More Info
M&S Bank Transfer Plus Mastercard
0% for 6 months reverting to 19.9%
0% for 28 months
(2.85% fee)
£0
19.9% (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
More Info
M&S Bank Reward Plus Mastercard
0% for 6 months reverting to 19.9%
0% for 6 months
(2.9% fee)
£0
19.9% (variable)
Double points on spend in M&S for first 12 months (2 points per £1). Then earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
More Info
Santander All in One Credit Card
0% for 26 months reverting to 15.9%
0% for 26 months
(0% fee)
£3 per month
21.7% (variable)
0.5% after £1 of monthly spend. Cashback paid Monthly into Card Account. Maximum spend for cashback purposes is limited to credit limit.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 15.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 21.7% APR (variable).
More Info
Tesco Bank Clubcard Plus Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 24 months reverting to 19.944%
21.814%
(3.99% fee)
£7.99 per month
37.7% (variable)
1 point per £4 spent (£4 minimum) in Tesco and 1 point per £8 spent (£8 minimum) outside Tesco, must have available credit to earn points. Card can also be used as a Clubcard to collect standard points at 1 point per £1 spent on shopping and 1 point per £2 spent on fuel. Points are converted to Tesco vouchers which can be used towards shopping or exchanged for Partner Rewards.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.944% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £7.99 per month, your representative rate is 37.7% APR (variable).
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TSB Platinum Purchase Card
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.95%
0% for 20 months
(2.95% fee)
£0
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a rate of 19.95% (variable) per annum, your representative APR is 19.9% APR (variable).
More Info
Sainsbury's Bank Dual Offer Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 20 months reverting to 21.95%
0% for 20 months
(3% fee)
£0
21.9% (variable)
Earn 750 bonus Nectar points each time £35 or more spent on Sainsbury's shopping, up to ten times in your first 2 months, up to a total of 7,500 points, offer available for new customers. Earn 3 Nectar points per £1 spent in Sainsbury's and Argos. Earn 1 Nectar point for every £5 spent elsewhere.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
More Info
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What benefits can I expect from a first direct credit card?

  • Strong customer support. first direct is the original telephone bank, and 24-hour banking service is available to help you make one-off payments, or set up regular payments, or to answer any questions about your credit card account.
  • Online account management. first direct’s online banking portal is the place to access a range of options and services attached to your card.
  • Additional cards. Additional cards can be issued on a single account, but if you apply, you must also hold a first direct current account. With multiple users, it’s normally possible to earn cashback rewards faster.
  • first direct app. If you’re registered for online banking with first direct, you can find the app in Google Play or Apple’s App Store. Use this to do lots of clever things on your first direct credit card account, including setting up one-off or regular payments.

Applying for a first direct credit card

Applying online for a first direct credit card is quick, easy and secure, and takes about 15 minutes.

Eligibility requirements

To qualify for a first direct credit card, you need to:

  • Be a UK resident.
  • Be over 18 years old.
  • Hold a first direct current account, which you need to credit with at least £1,000 per calendar month (after the first six months of holding the account).
  • Not have any outstanding County Court Judgments.
  • Ensure that you can meet the monthly repayments, as missed payments incur a charge and could have severe consequences on your ability to obtain future credit.

Why might your application not be approved?

If you meet the broad criteria outlined above, but have a history of bad debt or no credit history, you could be rejected. Also, if you have been made the subject of a CCJ you may not be accepted, and you are unlikely to be given a card if you have ever declared bankruptcy.

Frequently-asked questions about first direct credit cards

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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