first direct Balance Transfers Credit Card review 2020
If you're an existing 1st Account holder, you can transfer your existing card balances to first direct and benefit from 27 months of 0% interest.
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In a nutshell:
0% interest on balance transfers
Up to 56 days
Interest-free each billing period
|Balance transfers||0% for 27 months reverting to 18.9%|
|Balance transfer fee||2.29% (min. £5) for 3 months reverting to 2.9% (min. £5)|
|Purchases interest-free period||Up to 56 days|
|Min credit limit||£500|
|Max credit limit||Not specified|
|Additional cards available||1|
Chris Lilly is a publisher at finder.com. He's a specialist in credit-based products including business and personal loans, mortgages and credit cards, and is passionate about helping UK consumers make informed decisions about their borrowing. In his spare time Chris likes forcing his kids to exercise more.
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 (2.29% (min. £5) for 3 months reverting to 2.9% (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 (18.9%, 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 and cons
- 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.
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 either damaging your credit score, getting hit with a penalty fee (£12) or losing any promotional rates as a result.
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 is able to offer you this deal, the offer 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 that 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" (withdrawing cash at an ATM, getting cashback at the till, spending at a casino, buying currency, etc.) 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 24.7%, which is 31% more than the standard purchases 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?
What should I do with my old credit card after transferring the balance to the first direct Credit Card?
Transferring a balance doesn't automatically close your old account. In most cases, you'll want to close the old account(s) straightaway, especially if they have an annual/monthly fee or if you might be tempted to use them in the future. There is an argument that you should keep the old account open to help your credit score. That's because doing so keeps your "credit utilisation ratio" lower (that's a measure of how much credit you're using compared to what's available to you), and helps the average age of your credit accounts. However, unless you're just about to apply for a new mortgage, it's probably fair to say that most people would prefer to have no more bank accounts open than was truly necessary.
How much does it cost to use the first direct Credit Card abroad?
Non-sterling transactions are subject to a 2.99% charge. For example, if you spend 200 euros (£180.67), it'll cost you around £5.40.
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 two 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.