Account name1st Account
Switch to first direct and get £175 plus get access to a 7.00% AER/gross Regular Saver Account.
Providerfirst direct
Account fee£0
ATM withdrawal limit£500
Debit networkMastercard
Card typeCash / Debit
Minimum eligibility age18 Years
Minimum operating balance£0
Minimum opening balance£0
Direct debits
Current account switch guarantee
Cheque Book

Formed in 1989, First Direct is a telephone and Internet-based retail bank division of HSBC UK Bank. It has 1.45 million customers and is renowned for its excellent customer service. The bank offers a range of financial products including mortgages, loans, credit cards, savings accounts and a current account.

This review looks at its 1st Account current account in detail.

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.

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.

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.

How to apply

One of the quickest ways to apply for the 1st Account is by downloading the First Direct app and completing your application that way. You will need to have a valid photo ID such as a passport or driving licence to hand.

Alternatively, it takes around 10 minutes to apply for the account online. You’ll need to provide your address history for the last 3 years and your employment and salary details.

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.

Pros and cons of the First Direct 1st Account


  • No monthly fee
  • £250 interest-free overdraft
  • Easy to apply
  • Sweep facility
  • Access to regular saver account
  • Excellent customer service – 24/7 support
  • FSCS protection


  • No interest paid on balances
  • Interest charged on overdrafts above £250

Our verdict: Is the 1st Account worth it?

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.

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