Compare first direct credit cards for September 2019

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.

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Compare first direct credit cards

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
Updated September 19th, 2019
Name Product Purchases Balance transfers Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Incentive Representative example
0% for 17 months reverting to 16.9%
16.9%
£0
16.9% p.a. (variable)
Earn cashback with selected retailers via Visa Offers, customers can register up to five separate first direct Visa cards.
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).
18.9%
0% for 27 months reverting to 18.9%
£0
18.9% p.a. (variable)
Earn cashback with selected retailers via Visa Offers, customers can register up to five separate first direct Visa cards.
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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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.

  • Balance Transfer Credit Card

    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

  • Purchases Gold Card

    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.
Updated September 19th, 2019
Name Product Balance transfers Balance transfer fee Purchases Rep. APR Incentive Representative example
0% for 12 months reverting to 19.9%
3% (min. £3)
19.9%
19.9% p.a. (variable)
Earn Asda vouchers every time you shop - 1% cashback on all Asda spend, 0.2% on all other transactions and 10% on selected insurance products. Once £2.5 is earnt a voucher can be downloaded to spend in Asda stores.
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).
0% for 23 months reverting to 19.9%
0% for transfers in first 3 months
0% for 3 months reverting to 19.9% p.a. (variable)
19.9% p.a. (variable)
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).
0% for 23 months reverting to 19.9%
0% for transfers in first 3 months
0% for 3 months reverting to 19.9% p.a. (variable)
19.9% p.a. (variable)
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).
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
2.9% (min. £5)
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
19.9% p.a. (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).
0% for 12 months reverting to 15.9%
0% for 3 months reverting to 2.4% (min. £5)
0% for 12 months reverting to 15.9%
15.9% p.a. (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 15.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 15.9% APR (variable).
0% for 12 months reverting to 17.9%
0% for 3 months reverting to 2.4% (min. £5)
0% for 12 months reverting to 17.9%
17.9% p.a. (variable)
Customers will be able to earn commission-free purchases abroad by using their Credit Card each time they make a purchase in Sterling. The calculation will be based on a 5:1 ratio - for example, £5 spent in Sterling will earn an allowance of £1 commission free-purchases abroad. Purchases abroad beyond the earned amount will be charged 2% commission.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 17.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 17.9% APR (variable).
0% for 12 months reverting to 18.9%
3% (min. £3)
0% for 26 months reverting to 18.9%
18.9% p.a. (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).
0% for 18 months reverting to 18.9%
0% for 18 months reverting to 3% (min. £5)
0% for 3 months reverting to 18.9%
18.9% p.a. (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).
0% for 18 months reverting to 18.9%
2.9% (min. £5)
0% for 9 months reverting to 18.9%
18.9% p.a. (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent in store or online at John Lewis, Waitrose and John Lewis Insurance. Earn 1 Point for every £2 spent elsewhere. Vouchers issued once customer reaches 500 points in Feb, Jun or Oct when vouchers are automatically issued to customers. Every 500 points is worth £5.
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).
0% for 12 months reverting to 18.9%
3% (min. £3)
0% for 26 months reverting to 18.9%
18.9% p.a. (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).

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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.
Updated September 19th, 2019
Name Product Purchases Balance transfers Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Incentive Representative example
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9% p.a. (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).
0% for 18 months reverting to 22.9%
N/A
£0
22.9% p.a. (variable)
Earn 1 Membership Rewards® point for every £1 spent.
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).
0% for 6 months reverting to 19.9%
0% for 6 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9% p.a. (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 or 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).
0% for 27 months reverting to 20.93%
0% for 27 months reverting to 20.93%
£0
20.9% p.a. (variable)
Introductory 0% purchase offer only applies to purchases made within 60 days of opening.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 20.93% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).
0% for 27 months reverting to 19.9%
0% for 27 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9% p.a. (variable)
Buy tickets for up to 3500 selected live events through Barclaycard entertainment and get 5% off tickets per year and exclusive pre-sale tickets on selected festivals with 10% off ticket prices.
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).
0% for 26 months reverting to 18.9%
0% for 12 months reverting to 18.9%
£0
18.9% p.a. (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).
0% for 26 months reverting to 19.944%
0% for 3 months reverting to 21.814%
£0
19.9% p.a. (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. Points are converted to Tesco vouchers or can be exchanged for Partner rewards to receive money off a variety of restaurants, entertainment or Avios points.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.944% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
0% for 26 months reverting to 15.9%
0% for 26 months reverting to 15.9%
£3 per month
21.7% p.a. (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).
0% for 26 months reverting to 18.9%
0% for 12 months reverting to 18.9%
£0
18.9% p.a. (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).
0% for 25 months reverting to 20.95%
0% for 25 months reverting to 20.95%
£0
20.9% p.a. (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 2 Nectar points per £1 spent on Sainsbury's shopping and fuel. Earn 1 Nectar point for every £5 spent elsewhere.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 20.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).

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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

The NatWest Balance Transfer Credit Card (existing customers)
The NatWest Balance Transfer Credit Card (existing customers)

Balance transfers:

0% for 23 months reverting to 19.9%

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).

M&S Bank Shopping Plus Mastercard
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Mastercard

Balance transfers:

0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%

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).

ASDA Money Cashback Credit Card Mastercard
ASDA Money Cashback Credit Card

Balance transfers:

0% for 12 months reverting to 19.9%

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).

The Royal Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card (existing customers)
The Royal Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card (existing customers)

Balance transfers:

0% for 23 months reverting to 19.9%

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).

We exist to help you find better. The offers we've compared on this page are from a range of products whose details we can track; we don't cover every product on the market...yet. Unless we've indicated otherwise, products are shown in no particular order or ranking. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't product ratings, although 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, it's wise to consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own financial circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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