In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • Details
    • Product Overview
    • Fees and charges
    • Application Requirements

first direct Balance Transfers Credit Card review 2024

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first direct Credit Card
3.8
★★★★★
Finder score
Representative example:
When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
0% interest on balance transfers
20 months
Account fee
£0
Interest-free each billing period
Up to 56 days

Our verdict

If you're an existing 1st Account holder, you can transfer your existing card balances to first direct and benefit from 20 months of 0% interest.

This card is designed to allow current first direct account holders to easily transfer outstanding balances from cards held with other banks and enjoy an interest-free period. It is one of two credit cards offered by first direct, the other one being the first direct Gold Card, designed for spreading the cost of upcoming purchases.

The balance transfer deal is close to the longest available on the market and it’s the main advantage of this card. In exchange for the balance transfer fee (2.99% (min. £5), which is pretty average compared to the rest of the market) you get plenty of time to pay off your existing debt, interest-free.

However, if during the same period of time you also need to spread the cost of a new purchase, you’re out of luck. This card doesn’t offer any 0% deal on purchases, which is less than ideal. Of course, you can still shop with the card, but you’ll need to make sure you pay the bill in full every month (billing cycle is 56-month long), or your purchases will accrue interest at the card’s standard rate (24.9%, not particularly competitive).

Good news is, while this isn’t a rewards credit card, there are some treats in it for you in the form of a scheme called Visa Offers, which is available to first direct and HSBC cardholders. If you subscribe, you can get cashback when you shop at partner retailers.

Pros

  • Easy to apply for if you already have a first direct current account.
  • Minimum limit of £500.
  • Cashback offers with Visa offers.
  • Apple Pay and Google Pay compatible.
  • No annual fee.

Cons

  • You'll need to be an existing 1st Account holder to apply.
  • You cannot transfer balances from any members operated by the HSBC group (which includes M&S Bank and John Lewis Financial Services) to this credit card.
  • The standard interest rate applies to purchases.

In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • Details
    • Product Overview
    • Fees and charges
    • Application Requirements

Details

Product Overview

Issuer first direct
Network Visa
Annual/monthly fees £0
Balance transfers 0% for 20 months reverting to 24.9%
Balance transfer fee 2.99% (min. £5)
Purchases 24.9%
Purchases interest-free period Up to 56 days
Cash advances 29.9%
Minimum credit limit £500
Maximum credit limit Subject to status
Additional cards available 1
Potential costs 3.8 ★★★★★
Doing its job 3.7 ★★★★★
Extras 4.0 ★★★★★
Overall Finder Score 3.8 ★★★★★

Fees and charges

Minimum monthly payment 3% or £5 (whichever is greater) or the total of any interest, default fees and charges plus 1% of the outstanding balance.
Annual/monthly fees £0
Balance transfer fee 2.99% (min. £5)
Foreign usage charge (EU) 2.99%
Foreign usage charge (rest of world) 2.99%
Cash advance fee 2.99% (min. £3)
Late payment fee £12
Duplicate statement fee £5
Exceeding limit fee £12
Additional card fee £0
Dormancy fee £0

Application Requirements

Minimum Age 18
Minimum income £6,800
Availability Available to existing customers
Additional Criteria Only available to those who haven't had a First Direct credit card or gold card in the last six months

The first direct Credit Card is issued on the Visa network (used by a whopping 4.2 billion cards), so you'll be able to use it at more than 100 million merchant locations across more than 200 countries and territories.

How does it compare?

First Direct's card

1 - 1 of 1
Name Product Finder Score Finder score Balance transfers Balance transfer fee Purchases Annual/monthly fees Representative APR Incentive Link
first direct Credit Card
3.8
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 20 months reverting to 24.9%
2.99% (min. £5)
24.9%
£0
24.9% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
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Other popular balance transfer deals

Table: sorted by length of 0% balance transfer offer, promoted deals first
1 - 4 of 50
Name Product Finder Score Finder score Balance transfers Balance transfer fee Purchases Annual/monthly fees Representative APR Incentive Link
HSBC Balance Transfer Credit Card
4.0
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 27 months reverting to 24.9%
3.49% fee, min £5
0% for 3 months reverting to 24.9%
£0
24.9% APR (variable)
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable). You might get different interest rates and promotional periods to those shown here, because these depend on your circumstances.
Check eligibility
Santander Everyday Long Term Balance Transfer Credit Card
4.3
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 26 months reverting to 23.9%
3% (min. £5)
0% for 3 months reverting to 23.9%
£0
23.9% APR (variable)
Sign up for Santander Boosts to receive cashback, vouchers, offers and prize draws from selected retailers.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 23.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 23.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
M&S Bank Credit Card Transfer Plus Offer Mastercard
3.9
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 26 months reverting to 24.9%
3.49%, min £5
0% for 3 months reverting to 24.9%
£0
24.9% APR (variable)
1 point per £1 spent with M&S and 1 point per £5 spent elsewhere. Enjoy 55 days interest free, preferential rates plus no cash advance fee when buying M&S travel money with the card.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card
3.8
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 16 months reverting to 24.9%
3.49%, min £5
0% for 18 months reverting to 24.9%
£0
24.9% APR (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 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable). You might get different interest rates and promotional periods to those shown here, because these depend on your circumstances.
Check eligibility
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Approval for any credit card depends on your status. The representative APRs shown represent 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. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables is provided by Moneyfacts.

Repayment options

You can make manual repayments through First Direct's app by logging in to your online banking or over the phone (03 456 00 24 24). Alternatively, you may wish to set up a direct debit.

A direct debit protects you from forgetting to make a repayment and losing your promotional interest rate as a result (as well as damaging your credit score and incurring the late payment fee of £12). You could use a fixed-amount direct debit to ensure you've cleared your debt before the 0% period expires – simply divide your outstanding balance by 20 to see what you'll need to pay each month (this assumes you don't use the card for additional spending).

You can arrange a direct debit for repayments when you apply for the credit card. The table below shows the options available.

Choose from the following direct debit options for your monthly repayments:

Minimum amount Fixed amount Fixed percentage Full amount

How to apply

If you want to transfer balances from other accounts and save on interest with 0% for 27 months with this card, complete first direct's secure application form, which takes about 10-15 minutes. Before you apply, check that you meet the eligibility requirements and have the information and documents you'll need so that you can make this process as easy as possible.

Frequently asked questions

What credit limit will I get with the first direct Credit Card?

If First Direct offers you this deal, it will specify a personalised credit limit based on First Direct's assessment of your situation. The minimum limit offered on this card is £500, and First Direct does not specify a maximum. Once you've had the card for a while and shown First Direct you're reliable, you may wish to apply for a credit limit increase.

Can I withdraw cash using the first direct Credit Card?

Although it's possible, withdrawing cash from a credit card account is generally not a good idea, as "cash-like transactions" (such as withdrawing cash at an ATM, getting cashback at the till, spending at a casino or buying currency) often incur steep fees and/or higher rates of interest.

The cash advance fee on the first direct Credit Card is 2.99% (min. £3). For example, if you withdraw £50, you'll incur a fee of £3.00. Withdraw £250 and you'll incur a fee of £7.48.

The interest rate on this part of your balance will be 29.9%, which is 20% more than the standard purchase rate (chargeable from the day of the transaction – the card's usual "up to 56 days interest-free" grace period won't apply).

Can I transfer a balance from another first direct-branded card to the first direct Credit Card?

No. first direct doesn't accept balance transfers from credit cards issued through HSBC group, which includes M&S Bank, John Lewis and first direct cards.

How much does it cost to use the first direct Credit Card abroad?

Non-sterling transactions are subject to a 2.99% charge (which is very standard). For example, if you spend 200 euros (£169.13), it'll cost you around £5.06 in fees.

What is the minimum payment on the first direct Credit Card?

Each month, you must pay at least 3% of your balance at that point or £5.00 – whichever of the 2 figures is greater. So if you had, say, £150.00 outstanding, you'd pay £5.00, and if you had £666.67 outstanding, you'd pay £20.00.

Paying only the minimum required amount each month is generally not advisable as it makes it much harder to get debt-free before that introductory 0% period expires.

Finder credit card scores

★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor

Our experts score balance transfer cards to determine their value against similar products on the market. We look at a number of important factors, like the length of the balance transfer offer, the balance transfer fee, any restrictions to making a transfer, plus the potential costs involved with running the card both in the short and longer term.

You can read more about our scoring criteria on our credit card methodology page.

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. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.
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