In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • Details
    • Product overview
    • Fees
    • Overdraft information
  • Your reviews
1st Account
4.4
★★★★★
Finder score
4.3
★★★★★
Key benefits
Switch to first direct and get £175 plus get access to a 7.00% AER/gross Regular Saver Account
Account fee
£0
Interest (AER)
0% AER
Overseas card transactions
0%

Our verdict

If you're looking for reliable customer service, consider a current account with first direct.

Gold Finder Awards Badge
Finder Awards 2024 winner
Customer Satisfaction Award

If customer service is important to you, look no further than the first direct 1st Account. The bank has won many awards for its top-notch customer service over the years, and you'll be able to contact the bank 24 hours a day.

What's more, it is one of the few banks to offer an interest-free overdraft – even though it's only £250, it could come in handy if you dip into the red from time to time.

You'll may a reward for switching to first direct, plus you can earn interest on its associated regular savings account. A great choice if you're looking to make your money work for you. If first direct's current accounts are not for you, you can also compare other current accounts here.

Pros

  • No monthly fee
  • Easy to apply
  • Access to regular saver account
  • Excellent customer service – 24/7 support
  • FSCS protection

Cons

  • Interest-free overdraft is only up to £250
  • No interest paid on in-credit balances
  • Cannot bank in branch

In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • Details
    • Product overview
    • Fees
    • Overdraft information
  • Your reviews

Details

Product overview

Account name 1st Account
Incentive
tag iconSwitch to first direct and get £175 plus get access to a 7.00% AER/gross Regular Saver Account.
Provider first direct
Account fee £0
ATM withdrawal limit £500
Debit network Mastercard
Card type Cash / Debit
Minimum eligibility age 18 Years
Minimum operating balance £0
Minimum opening balance £0
Direct debits
Current account switch guarantee
Cheque Book

Fees

Foreign cash currency fee in Europe 0%
Foreign cash currency fee in rest of world 0%
Foreign cash transaction fee in Europe 0%
Foreign cash transaction fee in rest of world 0%

Overdraft information

Arranged overdraft available
Overdraft Grace Period 23:45 same day

Leave a review

Your review

Read Terms and Conditions here

first direct has no physical branches but it’s well known for its 24/7 call centre where you can always find actual human beings answering the phone, no matter how late in the night it is. If you need to deposit money or prefer to access any services in a phyical branch, you can get these services in a branch of parent company HSBC.

It only offers one current account option, and regularly offers an enticing switching incentive and access to a very competitive regular savings account.

How we scored first direct

FeatureRatingDetails
App rating★★★★★first direct scores highly on the App Store, but slightly lower on Google Play.
Monthly fees★★★★★first direct is free to use, with no monthly fee.
Transaction fees★★★★★There are no transaction fees with first direct.
Overseas fees★★★★★first direct has no fees for using your card abroad.
Customer service★★★★★first direct scored highly in the Finder Customer Satisfaction Survey.
Green credentials★★★★★first direct scored poorly due to its subpar operational emissions and its exposure to fossil fuels.
Account access★★★★★first direct offers multiple options for account access, including some branch services via HSBC and the Post Office.
Payment features★★★★★first direct has most payment features available, but no cashback or rewards programme.
Extra features★★★★★Extra features include an overdraft, a regular saver and spending categories.

What is the first direct 1st Account?

The first direct 1st Account offers everything you’d expect from a bank account, plus a £250 interest-free overdraft and access to a regular saver account. There’s no monthly maintenance fee to worry about either.

You can open the account on an individual or joint basis and it can be managed over the phone, by post or via online or mobile banking. There are no first direct bank branches, but customers can use HSBC branches instead. first direct also runs switching deals where you can be paid an incentive to join.

How does it work?

The first direct 1st Account offers the following key features:

  • Interest-free overdraft. The account offers a £250 interest-free overdraft (if you’re eligible). Interest is charged at 30.5% EAR on anything over this.
  • Sweep facility. You can automatically sweep spare money into one of first direct’s savings accounts on whichever day you choose to help you save.
  • Access to a regular saver account. Save between £25 and £300 a month for 12 months and earn 7% AER.
  • 24/7 banking access. You can manage your account 24/7 by phone, online or mobile banking.
  • Excellent customer service. first direct frequently comes top in customer satisfaction surveys.

The account also regularly offers cash incentives for switching to it so keep an eye out for those.

The benefits of banking with first direct

  • Switching incentive. If you’re unhappy with your bank, don’t hesitate to switch. first direct often has a switching incentive on the go and these days you can easily get the equivalent of a couple of free dinners for two in cash as a cash bonus.
  • Multiple ways to bank. As we said, there are no physical branches, but you can bank on the phone, online or via the app. And if you need to pay cash into your account, you can do it at one of HSBC’s branches or at the post office. If it’s a cheque, you can use your app.
  • Access to a high-interest savings account. first direct’s Regular Saver Account has one of the top-paying rates availabe, allowing you to pay a set amount in each month and earna. decent rate of interest.
  • Fee free overseas spending. There’s no first direct debit card fees when you use it abroad to either make a payment or withdraw cash. Note that even though there are no first direct overseas fees, you may be required to pay fees that are outside of first direct’s control. For example, some cash machine operators may apply a direct fee for withdrawals from their cash machines.
  • Mobile banking app. first direct’s app is very easy to use, although it doesn’t offer loads of functionalities – no budgeting tools or categorisation of your spending here, sorry.
  • Global acceptance. first direct’s cards are either Mastercard or Visa, so you can shop pretty much anywhere in the world without having to worry about acceptance.
  • A wide range of related products. first direct also offers mortgages, loans, credit cards, insurance and savings accounts.
  • Round-the-clock assistance. You can give first direct a call at 3am and there will still be someone there to answer your call and help you out with whatever problem you’re having.

Opening an account with first direct

To open an account with first direct, you’ll have to provide the following information:

  • How much you expect to pay in each month
  • Your salary details and any assets you have
  • Your nationality/citizenship
  • Your residence status/tax residence status
  • Proof of identity (passport, UK driving license)
  • Proof of address (bank statement, utility bill)

You can open a first direct account online and send the documents online or by post.

Who is it for?

You can apply for the 1st Account if you are aged 18 or over and a UK resident, so long as you haven’t been declared bankrupt or registered for an Individual Voluntary Agreement in the last 6 years (or be in the process of doing so). You will need to have a phone number and email address you can be contacted with.

What are the benefits?

One of the biggest benefits of the first direct 1st Account is that the bank offers fantastic customer service. So if you’re fed up with your existing bank, this could be the one to switch to.

It also offers a £250 interest-free overdraft that could come in handy if you sometimes dip into the red.

Is it safe?

Yes, first direct is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the PRA. Eligible deposits will be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) up to £85,000 per person or up to £170,000 for joint accounts.

Note that the limit applies per banking institution. As first direct is part of HSBC, this means if you have more than £85,000 held in accounts across the 2 banks, any amount over the £85,000 limit won’t be covered.

Case study: Davinder chose first direct because of its great customer service

Davinder Bansil profile pic
Davinder Bansil

Works as a lead performance manager at Finder

I was looking for a joint account which provided great customer services but also that an easy to use app. What sealed the deal was the switcher deal at the time which was £175 and the 7% regular saver.
We use our First Direct 1st Account to manage our family finances, from our monthly bills all the way to doing the weekly grocery shop. The regular saving has also been great - we use it as a Christmas Fund with the high interest rate, really giving it a boost.

If there's one thing you'd tell a friend who's thinking of getting this, what would it be?
Customer services is great, I never struggle to speak to customer services when needed and the wait time is the quickest I've experiences - they are always so helpful also.

first direct customer reviews

first direct won the banking (current account) category in the Finder Customer Satisfaction Awards 2024, with 100% of customers saying they’d recommend the service to a friend. Customers highlighted its strong customer service and cash incentives to new joiners as key reasons for recommending it to friends and family. Here’s what some of those first direct customers had to say in our survey:

“Excellent customer service.”

“It’s really good and I enjoy the bonuses and interest.”

“Very accessible and straightforward.”

On the Apple App Store, the first direct mobile banking app scored 4.8 out of 5 stars, based on a total of 405.9k user reviews. On the Google Play Store, it scores 3.6 out of 5 stars, based on 17.6k reviews (last updated, January 2024).

Pros and cons of first direct current accounts

  • Great customer service scores. first direct consistently tops customer polls for the quality of its customer service.
  • Switching perks. The bank regularly offers switching payments to entice customers to switch their current account.
  • Access to HSBC’s branch network. first direct customers can also manage their account at any branch of HSBC.
  • Only one current account option. first direct only offers one type of current account.

Customer service information for first direct

Email support
Telephone support
In-app or live chat
Contact form
Branch support

Frequently asked questions

Banking scores

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

Finder scores, in blue, are based on our expert analysis. We also show reviews from users, where we've received more than 10, with a score in yellow. We gather more reviews from customers every year in Finder's customer satisfaction survey.

To find out more, read our full methodology.

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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