First Direct

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First direct offer a current account called First Directory, you pay £12/month and you receive RAC roadside assistance and national recovery, annual worldwide travel insurance, mobile phone insurance, MONILINK – statements to your mobile phone and more.

81 responses to “First Direct”

  1. Ken Fryer says:

    I had my savings in a FD account paying monthly interest plus a bonus if the funds were untouched for a full month. After a while I noticed I wasn’t receiving any interest at all. When I inquired I was told that this particulat account only paid interest on values of £3k and above and I was a few pounds under. When asked why I wasn’t informed I was told quite curtly that they cannot be expected to monitor every account! Hence I no longer bank my savings with FD.

  2. Ed Gain says:

    Wicked bank, been with since 2001, never on hold when I call their call centre, generally so good that I don’t have to think about it at all. Would be nice if they were a bit more competitive though. Internet banking works well.

  3. Peter Ford says:

    I used with First Direct, The Internet banking is briiliant but the Customer service really very bad and very poor I wish never with First Direct and HSBC ever again

  4. Keith Tuohy says:

    We have been with First Direct for 11 years. Up to around 18 months ago I found the Bank very good and recommended the services to many people. Of late the service has severely deteriorated. While basic level staff remain pleasant and as helpful as they are permitted to be when it is required that you need to deal with a “supervisor” or “manager” they are intrusive, ineffective, haughty and on occasions downright offensive. We have two joint accounts with First Direct and back in November with no authorisation whatever my name was removed from both accounts leaving only my Wife as named. When I complained of this gross error the “manager” came up with just about every feeble excuse that could be thought of. He wriggled like a fish on the line. Although their error is now resolved I still await any kind of formal apology [!]. Needless to say I shall be forwarding my complaint to FSA and changing my Bank just as soon as it can be arranged.

  5. Graham says:

    I have been with First Direct for 13 years. I agree if you need to go any further than the helpful initial customer service staff it is painful. I payed in 2 cheques for over 3000 and a week later they still have not appeared, the cheques where credited to my account and then removed and here I am 5 days later being told they have been lost ? I am in the process of moving my account away from FD. Also there E-savings account is slow to put up the interest rates, I waited at least a month every time before they put their interest rate up after the BOE put the base rate up. Needless to say already moved my savings.

  6. Graham says:

    I have been with First Direct for 13 years. I agree, if you need to go any further than the helpful initial customer service staff it is painful. I payed in 2 cheques for over £3000 and a week later they still have not appeared. The cheques were credited to my account and then removed and here I am 5 days later being told they have been lost!? I am in the process of moving my account away from First Direct. Also, their E-savings account is slow to put up the interest rates, I waited at least a month every time before they put their interest rate up after the Bank of England put the base rate up. Needless to say I’ve already moved my savings.

  7. Edward Reynolds says:

    I have been with First Direct since it began, it has pioneered banking by being accessible all the time and has many mediums to communicate. All this before any others, in all this time i have had no real problems at all and have recommended to others whole heartedly and without reservation. I have a mortgage also and the ease of transferal is unbelievable. Top Notch!

  8. N Ridgway says:

    I have been with FD for about 5 years and have found them to be very helpful. Their Internet Banking & IB Plus is very good. All of their rates are usually set out quite clearly, so for the Bonus Savings account mentioned by Mr Fryer, they clearly state that a bonus is given every month if the amount in the account is > £3000. However, with all banks I do get a bit naffed off with the charges for phoning up. They all seem to be 0845 numbers which cost a lot of money.

  9. Shaun Holbrook says:

    I always imagined FD to be a fair and honest bank, until recently. They no longer seem to value loyalty, proffering instead to give new customers far better rates (offset mortgage) than existing customers. Time to move on I suppose.

  10. Stuart Smith says:

    I have been banking with First Direct for a long time now, over 10 years.

    In all this time I have found them to be both fair and equitable and also very helpful.

    Their telephone banking is by the best I have ever used. Calls answered in a timely manner, speak to a person and 9/10 times that person can deal with any query.

    My only recent concern is, similar to other banks, if you don’t pay in a regular amount you get charged for your account. Couple that with no interest earnt on your current account and it isn’t the best move made by First Direct.

  11. Pam says:

    I’ve been with First Direct since it began and have always found them to be absolutely spot on. Well done for employing human telephone operators (as opposed to robots). They have always been really pleasant and helpful without being too pushy or sales orientated. Top marks.

  12. James says:

    Findings from a study of UK banks released today reveals that First Direct is the bank customers would be ‘most likely to recommend’ to friends and family whilst Barclays, HSBC and Abbey came in the bottom three.

    The study, sent to over 30,000 consumers, reveals that despite the onset of the ‘credit crunch’, UK consumers are positively influenced more by good customer service than the latest market-beating financial products, offers and services when it comes to making recommendations to others.

    Carried out by integrated marketing agency Geronimo, and designed to capture customers’ perceptions of their own banks, the study used the Net Promoter Score* system (NPS) to find that First Direct came first with nearly three quarters of its customers saying they would actively recommend it. Key reasons given include friendly, helpful and efficient staff, ease of use and excellent customer service.

    The Co-Operative and Nationwide came second and third respectively, although the reasons given were different. The Co-op was praised for its ethical stance whilst Nationwide was rated highly because its products and charges were perceived to be very fair.

    The NPS system, which subtracts the number of ‘detractors’ from ‘promoters’, calculated that Barclays was least likely to be recommended by its customers.

    The Top Five

    First Direct (71% of customers would recommend First Direct and its NPS score is 57%)

    Co-operative (56% of customers would recommend Co-operative and its NPS score is 37%)

    Nationwide (52% of customers would recommend Nationwide and its NPS score is 25%)

    Alliance & Leicester (50% of customers would recommend Alliance & Leicester and its NPS score is 22%)

    Royal Bank of Scotland (36% of customers would recommend Royal Bank of Scotland and its NPS score is 10%)

    The Bottom Five

    HBOS (26% of customers would recommend HBOS and their NPS score is -17%)

    Lloyds TSB (24% of customers would recommend Lloyds and their NPS score is -19%)

    Abbey (24% of customers would recommend Abbey and their NPS score is -20%)

    HSBC (28% of customers would recommend HSBC and their NPS score is -20%)

    Barclays (19% of customers would recommend Barclays and their NPS score is -35%)

    Andy Snuggs, MD at Geronimo said:

    ”It is no coincidence that the top rated banks in our research have a clear positioning – their customers know what they stand for and the banks deliver; be it ‘personal service’ (First Direct), ‘ethical stance’ (Co-op) or ‘fair pricing’ (Nationwide).The big players need to address a number of areas including … what they actually stand for, what their customers’ expectations are and how can they start to meet and beat these; also how can they surprise and delight their customers, especially their more valuable ones”.
    *About Net Promoter Score

    Net Promoter is a discipline by which companies profitably grow by focusing on their customers. A successful Net Promoter program includes 5 elements: 1) metrics proven to link to growth; 2) leadership practices that instill customer focus, passion, and values; 3) organizational strategies to ensure adoption; 4) integration with core business processes, and 5) operational systems to support the initiative

    How the research was conducted

    • Three questions were submitted into a fast.MAP online self completion survey

    • The sample was randomly selected sample from fast.MAP’s Consumer Voice panel. This is a closed panel of over 30,000 profiled individuals recruited to match the UK Adults (18+) linked to census data

    • The sample demographic is not given any indication as to the nature of the survey when they receive the email invitation to take the survey

    • Survey despatched August 2008 and remained open for 7 days

    • Survey sample size was 1,000

  13. KGR says:

    Always classed FD as a fair bank who valued customer loyalty. Then they started offering preferential savings rates for new customers especially on ISA’s. Existing ISA customers are stuck on the old interest rates, complained but got nowhere.

  14. sally scott says:

    I have been with First Direct since they 1st started, and I have nothing but praise for the efficient, competent staff they employ and impeccable way in which they conduct their business. Simple, hassle free and a pleasure to deal with.

  15. Steve Nobel says:

    I have been with First Direct for around 17 years. Before that I had an account with Midland Bank for 10 years. I have recommended First Direct to many friends over the years. Recently I went overdrawn on one of my accounts and over a period of 4 months was hit for £500 in overdraft charges. Suddenly the staff seemed less than helpful. I was referred to a few people and had the same unhelpful reply. I never paid much attention to the court case about unfair bank charges until now. I went from a loyal customer to someone who wants to expose this scandalous behaviour. I will be writing to the chairman very soon and also to the head of customer services to lodge a complaint. If justice is served then the court will rule against this gross mis-conduct of the banking system. I am not sure if First Direct is any better or worst than other UK banks but I would love to find out.

  16. Charlie says:

    I used to be with First Direct but I started having problems with them about a year ago. They levied some charges and when I queried them they threatened to close my account. I used their complaints procedure to get more information and then got a letter terminating my account in 30 days.
    I couldn’t believe it – I had been with them 9 years and had never had problems. They have a new CEO and I heard from a friend who works for another bank that they had been cutting staff and moral was really bad. They’ve been really shabby. I’m with Barclays now and couldn’t be happier.

  17. Tel says:

    Charged me £42.50 for £15 overdraft.

  18. Thomas says:

    I have been with First Direct for 9 years and always been very happy with their service and their call center staff are a rarity in that they are friendly, prompt and helpful. However I have had some incidences recently that have displayed a deeper level of arrogance towards their customers and their definitely seems to have been a shift from caring about customer retention to sweeping through and digging for ‘bigger users’. I am now looking around for a new bank.

  19. C Ridgeway says:

    terrible service

  20. Henry Winckelmann says:

    Unhelpful bank. Glad I switched.

  21. Sue Hedrath says:

    Lots of problems with my credit card – unfriendly and unhelpful on the phone. Closed my account and moved to Lloyds.

  22. M Daycott says:

    I tried to open a Cash Isa with First Direct. There are 5 screens of questions, many of which are intrusive and of absolutely no relevance to the Cash Isa.

  23. First Direct Rock says:

    First Direct are excellent – first class customer service, none of the awful overseas call centres, helpful friendly staff who speak the lingo. Highly recommended.

  24. Charlie D says:

    They’ve stopped the last 4 legitimate transactions on my credit card. They must be mad. UK helpline no use – I just get all the anti-fraud stuff. Can’t understand it – all 4 where with people I shopped from before 🙁 I’ll ditch First Direct when I can.

    • Alison Pony says:

      Fraud checks don’t monitor your personal spending. They monitor recognised spending patterns. Just cos you don’t understand it, doesn’t make it wrong. You’d be whinging if some fraudster compromised your card details and spent lots of money. These checks are to protect all parties concerned.

  25. GSD says:

    I was persuaded to apply for a small remortgage by the First Direct bank, who I have banked with for over 13 years. My Experian credit rating is 999 and I have had no issues with any debt. My wife is in the same position. At the same time realising the convenience it would be for us, I decided to add on my wife’s name to my account with the intentions of paying her pension into our joint account and consolidating all our savings [cash bonds held to the tune of almost £100,000, currently with Barclays] in the near future to within First Direct [my pension of £14500; her pension of £14000 plus my wages of £25200 plus £50000 yearly income from our care home business; plus evidence showing we had a substantial amount of money invested in another bank in bonds]. I was told that our income was more than sufficient for the small remortgage [£50,000] we sought. We had only £10500 outstanding mortgage on a property worth over £530000. We were attracted to the offer because there was no cost involved. However, after the completed forms were sent in, they decided to bomb us with the same silly questions via telephone and texts. By the 25th of November, 2009 I was quite fed up with their telephone /text harassment, that I asked them to stop processing the application and send me back my papers. As I felt their six calls/texts over the same issue reflected their inefficiency in handling the matter simply and without fuss for us. Then two days later, I received two letters addressed to me and my wife. The letters were enclosed with Experian Credit agency reference forms and said that our application was rejected because of information divulged by the agency. [Both of us are members of Experian online and checked our information, there is nothing adverse in there.] I then challenged the bank staff to how did they arrive at such decision when I had asked for my papers to be withdrawn. And what is this adverse information they claim. They cannot come up with any answers except to say they don’t hold the information. If they don’t hold the information, and experian has no adverse information, then who does? Is the First Direct bank misrepresenting information on us, which it really does not hold, and fobbing off with excuses after I asked for my application to be withdrawn? I feel strongly that on the 25th when I spoke to the individual and asked to withdraw my papers, after I lost my cool [and slammed the phone down] with their repeated calls over the same issue, when all the information was already in the papers; I feel the individual has interfered with my information and mischievously sat out the reasons without any basis whatsoever.

    Can the banks wash their hands off by saying they have no access to the information held, if they don’t have anything to substantiate with, they have no right to claim such. Today, I also received another two letters saying they reject the application to have my wife’s name added to my account. Have they a right to do this without the ability to spell out any specific reason? They are again referring to the credit agency, but a check with the credit agency reveals there is no adverse history or reason for the claims being made by the bank. I have evidence to suggest that when I lost my anger with the person I spoke with, he went on to engineer such baseless excuses, based upon my race as well. I also have evidence to suggest the bank is acting racist, and has severely misrepresented without any basis whatsoever or facts. I am not satisfied in the manner the issue is being dealt. What right has the bank to suggest something adverse and misrepresent about me or my wife, without providing any evidence or specific. On the 25th evening when I spoke to the individual, I very clearly asked my application to be ceased and the papers returned to me. At no point, the individual referred to any credit agency checks have been made. Which indicates the excuse being given was thought of in the hindsight of my call and demand to stop the process. So, the excuse being given by the bank three days later in the letters to me and my wife, is unacceptable. I believe this action is racially tainted as well. I would have been perfectly happy, if the bank had returned my application saying, following your request not to proceed, we return the papersbecause that was exactly what should have happened after my request. This is another attempt at bullying customers who are not prepared to listen to the rubbish of these banks. I am considering taking the bank to the small claims court. Or are there any other steps I could take?

  26. Nick says:

    We (my wife and I) have been having financial difficulties for sometime. FD initially quite helpful but have refused to freeze charges om my O/Drawn account even though they have suspended our account and we don’t actually bank with them anymore. We have organised a repayment plan thru CCCS for all our creditors, First Direct are the only ones who are threatening to take us to a Debt Recovery Agency for the monies we owe them. We are determined to do this right and pay off what we owe but FD seem determined to make life as difficult for us as possible. Incidentally, I had banked with them for almost 20 years.

  27. Ian says:

    I experienced financial difficulties a few years ago through no fault of my own and First Direct were the only one of my numerous creditors that dealt with my situation in a civilised manner. This might not seem much of a recommendation but believe me the others fall a long way short of anything civilised when it comes to protecting their interests.
    I was with First Direct for 10 years and left because I thought I needed a ‘real’ bank manager – my mistake – when I have repaired my credit history I will have no hesitation in returning to First Direct if they’ll have me.

  28. Karen Millen says:

    I had nothing but problems with First Direct over my current account with incorrect information being given. When I questioned them and said I would be taking my complaint further they have said they will close my account within 30 days. I am making the FSA aware of this and as soon as they were aware I was also recording the call (which they always do) they refused to speak further and dropped the call. Good Luck with any complaint you have.

  29. Karen Millen says:

    I had nothing but problems with First Direct over my current account with incorrect information being given. When i questioned them and said i would be taking my complaint further they have said they will close my account within 30 days. I am making the FSA aware of this and as soon as they were aware I was also recording the call (which they always do) they refused to speak further and dropped the call. Heres two direct dial numbers you may want to ring. Jason Sharpe head of there so called customer service 0113 236 7070 and Chris Pillings CEO 0113 276 6890. If theses two gentlemen realize the service being offered and are made aware of the level of complaints perhaps they will not be so rude and arrogant. Good Luck with any complaint you have

  30. Steve says:

    Very much like the person below I had problems with my first direct credit card and once I told them I was taking my complaint to the FSA they said they would close my account. I then got a letter five days later saying they were also closing my current account as well as they wanted to terminate the banking relationship. They have advised me this will happen within 60 days. I have contacted my local new paper who are going to run an article on my case. Perhaps if you like me contact the directors at FD and voice the complaints that senior management seem to be making something will be done. On another forum an ex FD employee of FD has posted some direct numbers for the directors and I have rung them and they work.

  31. Mark says:

    I have been with FD for over 10 yrs. They are friendly and helpful until something goes wrong. During this financial crisis I have never exceeded my overdraft limit but FD say there needs to be sufficient funds in my account the day before direct debits are due out. If I pay cash into the account on the day the DD is due out they charge me £25 per DD. This means that by the end of the banking day the account is within limit but they are £25 better off. Further, if FD fail to pay the DD it is normal for the recipient to charge £12 late fee and £12 return fee. So you can be £50 worse off and not have exceeded your limit. FD also think it’s clever to report this to the credit agencies as a missed payment. They are so unbelievably arrogant. I reported this behaviour to the Ombudsman and, you guessed it, FD closed my account. What a disgraceful shower….

    • Angela Hughes says:

      Hi, I have exactly the same gripe and am interested to now how you got on with the OMBUDSMAN as I am considering doing exactly the same.

  32. Sue says:

    I have banked with First Direct for about 12 years now and have on the whole been very pleased with their service. I ran into some financial difficulties a few years ago and found that they weren’t so helpful then but if your account is in the red they couldn’t help you enough. Yesterday however has brought me to the end of the road with them. A couple of weeks ago I went £1.42 overdrawn according to the weekly text I receive from them, I duly logged onto my account transferred £2.00 from my savings into my current account to clear this but un-noticed by me some payments were passed through later in the day meaning that my account went overdrawn until a day or two later when I noticed and cleared it. Yesterday I received notice about a £25.00 overdraft fee I am now being charged and when I phoned to query this I was told that I will also have to pay a £25.00 fee for using the overdraft facility on my account. They have agreed to refund me £12.00 as a goodwill gesture but I am now being charged £38.00 for being £35.40 overdrawn overnight. I always believed the text message was a live service but apparently it isn’t – so what is the point of it? I’m really angry about this as there was more than enough money in my savings accounts for me not to have incurred any charges. I have before asked if they could set up something which would automatically move money from my savings to my current account if necessary but apparently this can’t be done! Funny then that my sister banks with HSBC (the parent company of First Direct) and when she had financial difficulties this is exactly what they did without her permission. Customers beware!

  33. Donald says:

    First Direct are offering a 1% pa bonus interest for people who open a new e saver account. Existing customers receive 0.25% interest pa. New customers get 1.25% (i.e. 5 times as much interest)

    I have banked with FD for over 20 years and have had more than 500,000 pounds in the esaver since the offer started. I have therefore lost over £2500 compared to someone opening a new account. They tell me now that I could have transferred my funds into a new esaver account at any time but they did not make that public. They have offered me £150 in compensation.

    I have never had cause to complain about First Direct before and indeed have recommended them to a number of friends and colleagues. Never again. Their behaviour is disgraceful. Naked profiteering at the expense of loyal and established customers.

  34. 'Other' Mark says:

    Charged me £25 for 20p unauthorised overdraft plus another £25 next day for a debit card transaction for £3.40. Yes, £50 for £3.65. Moving to another bank already, have only been with FD since October.

  35. Richard says:

    I have been with First Direct for 16 years .I have had unauthorised transaction on my credit card which I told them I did not make.First Diect investigated my complaint 3 times and still said I had made them when I had not. First Direct have now sent me a letter stating that they will be closing my account within 60 days and expect the balance on my credit card to be zero. I have informed them that I will take this matter to the FSA and they did not seem to be bothered about it. They have also warn me not to open any new accounts with HSBC. First Direct do not have any evidence against me yet they have treated me like a criminal. I will not let this matter rest and will go to my local paper to expose the bank for what they are. First Diect thank you for calling me liar, it’s nice to know you care about your customers after being with your bank for 16 years. If anyone wishes to contact them then they should call 0113 276 6890, that number is the CEO office.

  36. Tim D says:

    Absolutely disgusting. I have been a FirstDirect customer for only 6 months. I signed up to take advantage of the £100 sign-up offer and I thought everything would be rosy. Their initial sales documents and starter-pack looked professional and helpful, and when I rang customer services, first line support is provided immediately. However, within 6 weeks of service, I went £2 overdrawn on the free £250 overdraft that was provided. I called to request this be withdrawn as I felt it was unfair, and was told it couldn’t be withdrawn as I had already used up the free overdraft ‘credit’ if you will by utilising the £250 overdraft facility. This annoyed me, but I thought nothing of it. I then went overdrawn again, a few months later, again charged £25. Rang, but nothing could be done.
    Now, I’ve come to my 6 months mark (£100 signup, £100 after 6 months if you’re not happy). I had to wait until payday before I could cancel after ringing once, but was assured I’d get the £100 bonus for moving away. I then called today at a lunch to cancel. After having to wait 5 minutes to speak to a member of the closure team – in the same scottish office it seems – I was told no, the £100 doesn’t apply to you, you have to be a customer for 1 year. I argued this as this was not what was advertised on the site when I signed up. I was then put on hold for a further few minutes whilst the customer services lass tried to find a superviser. After 5 minutes, she came back saying she couldn’t find someone, and was I okay to hold. I then waited another 10 minutes, only to be cut off.
    At this point in time, I am so enraged by this company I could kill. It always seems to be the case with companies that they reel folks in with some clever deal only to screw them over at some point, unfair charges, or ridiculously difficult processes of getting said deal. I had hoped FirstDirect would be different as they keep the riff-raff out with a min £1500 p/m balance for a/c holders, but I was wrong. At this time I hope someone throws the bloody book at them for unfair deals. I have searched high and low for the terms on their signup and move-away bonus, but I cannot find anything.
    I just feel mugged off and I hope the company burns for it. I fully appreciate I am annoyed at this given time, and I have not stated the whole situation in epic detail, but the long and short of it is this:
    Rates are terrible, overdraft charges are unfair, and customer support will do their utmost to ensure you don’t get your sign-up deals.

  37. verysimpleman says:

    I had banked with FD for well over 10 years, initially with high levels of service. Without going into details subsequently I consider that I was treated terribly despite being a good customer. What really annoyed me in the end is that they claimed that they had tried to contact me three times but never left a message on my answer phone or tried a recorded delivery etc. This was basically an excuse to get rid of me, presumably because they didn’t make enough money from me. Customer service… yeah right!

  38. Robert says:

    I had the same experience as Richard (10th April). Someone used my card to spend £193 – I dont know how, I didn’t lose it or leave it anywhere. The bank used very threatening language and forced me to pay it even though I told them it wasn’t me. I’m retired and £193 is a lot of money to me. I opened an account at Barclays 2 weeks ago and love them. First Direct really upset me,

  39. Pete says:

    Ten years in credit. Went overdrawn, took me 3 months to arrange funds to pay it off, which left the account about £200 in credit. They set the dogs on me, suspended my account and refuse to send me the balance. Now being told never to open an account with them again, never to phone them again.

  40. David says:

    First Direct, great when things are going well but watch out. We applied for a mortgage with no problems or issues raised on our credit. The survey they instructed came back with no issues, all fine. A few days before we were planning to exchange, they added new conditions to the mortgage offer. Not in writing, just over the phone. They’re now also saying we need a new survey (even though they’ve had the old survey results for 8 weeks with no concerns raised!). Good mortgage interest rates, but watch out as in my experience they’re not reliable.

  41. Beverley says:

    I have been a FD account holder for over 20 years. I became dissatisfied with their service and petty mistakes some 3 years ago and moved my main account to Handelsbanken who are fantastic. Today, with an impeccable credit history and good earnings I phoned First Direct to increase my Gold Card credit limit to £4000, just £1000 higher. They said no and that my overdraft facility was a cause for concern, it has been at that level for 5 years and reduced that immediately form £7000 to £500. I have a letter ffrom FD two days ago confirming they were happy to renew at its current level for another 12 months. I am disgusted. Loyalty counts for nothing. When HSBC and NATWEST are improving their service in leaps and bounds FD is going down the pan. I have just closed my accounts and will tell all my clients about my experiences.

  42. Jane Mitchell says:

    Do not use their Current Account switching service, it’s a joke, I’ve now defaulted on my mortgage payment because of this bank and they are blaming my mortgage company!!

  43. keith mohatu says:

    They’ve had to change my credit card 4 times in 3 months because in each case the small chip on it has been broken (even though the card works otherwise). Have tried speaking to them but they keep saying it’s not their fault. None of my other bank cards have had this problem. Very difficult.

  44. gems says:

    If you read the comments most people are complaingin about overdraft charges, if you draw against money that is not yours you should expect to get charged. I also bank with first direct, and i think they are fantastic. I pay close attention to my a/c as i also have money difficulties and if i don’t have it i don’t spend it. They are a fantastic bank you can call them anytime and always get the same service. The problem is not with the bank but people not managing their money properly!!! First class bank!!!!

  45. Jeff says:

    I signed up for a First Direct Savings Account. I was sent details about transferring all my direct debits and standing orders. As I was imminently moving house and therefore would be cancelling various direct debits and setting up new ones, I rang them to ask that they postpone the transfer so that I could keep track of them via my current back account. Low and behold, First Direct went ahead and transferred the direct debits before I was ready and without my permission. This has created quite the hassle and I have subsequently cancelled my new account with First Direct – if they can’t get it right in the first instance, then can I really count on them in the long term?

  46. JonLJ says:

    Been a loyal customer for 8 years. Applied for a credit card with them recently, which is where it all seemed to go wrong, feels like I have been blacklisted by them, but no-one else! Went over my overdraft recently, got charged £125 for 5 transactions of no more than £4 at a time. They keep trying to get everyone to go paperless, but do not even send ‘pre-notified’ charges to you by e-mail or post, I still question the legitimacy of this. Will be transferring to another bank imminently. Despite gems comments here, not everyone has the fortune of having spare time to check their bank accounts so regularly as she can, so mistakes can be made – I would prefer it if they would just decline my card if I was over my available cash- it’s slightly unfortunate that some people cannot see the cash cow that the banks can generate from genuine errors.

  47. Grumpy old granny says:

    I was with them since they began. In September I had had enough of their hands in my pocket. My overdraft was immediately withdrawn. Wrote in early September and cancelled the account and credit card. It took 5 calls to cancel the account and I am now on my second letter and 2nd call to cancel the card, even tho they have had the cut up cards since September. Here it is end of October, and they are trying to charge interest on the credit card which was cancelled and paid off 7 October.

    I used to recommend them, but not anymore, I switched and am very happy with the new bank. My advice would be to steer clear of First Direct.

  48. Nicola says:

    Their customer service is fantastic but their charges are just ridiculous. I have just been charged £25 for going £2.36 overdrawn overnight. I disputed this and they confirmed that ‘it is a reasonable charge’ which is just ridiculous. This has happened a few times – many other banks have a £5 or £10 buffer zone but they just don;t and even once suggested that I ‘keep a record of all my spending’. OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!! How patronising. I keep a very detailed spreadsheet which I update daily, but over the weekend it is possible to lose track by a few pounds.
    I will be closing my account as soon as possible.

  49. Kevin says:

    First Direct are currently all over the TV to win new open accounts with them. I have recently found they are like fair weather friends , good when the customer is paying in and offering them a £250 overdraft but when the going gets tough ,beware!
    They have sent me two maybe three letters over a couple of months because I had reached my overdraft limit and not paid anything in fsince July, each letter came with a more aggressive stance. I received the last letter last Thursday 4th November, and it was dated 28th October. I made some arrangements to ensure I covered the debt , but before it reached them they withdrew my banking facilities on 8th November. They put all the onus on me to contact them. What if I was away on business , or ill, or on holiday, they make no attempt to contact the customer except computer generated letters. I discovered this today, when I transferred some money online from another bank account to cover the debt that they had frozen my online banking . I had to phone their credit department to have the payment done manually.
    Bottom line, if you are thinking of joining them ,, make sure you stay in credit. and pay money in every month Because if you are thinking of using them for a little safety net to maintain an overdraft for a little while when things are tight, they soon close the door.

  50. KeithB says:

    Have been with First Direct for many years and have found them always helpful. However, I am now attempting to start my own business so don’t have a regular income but don’t use my credit card.
    First Direct’s response? Charge me £10 a month for the privilege of using their bank. Time to change, I think.

  51. Nico says:

    I have banked with First Direct fo a number of years and have generally been happy even though many free services have gradually been taken away.

    I took out a First Direct Gold credit card and was again generally happy until I had a credit on the card by accident (this can happen if you have overpaid, made a payment on the card for goods purchased then subsequently got a refund for the item etc.). I tried to get the amount I was in credit transferred to my First Direct current account and was told there would be a 2.99% charge to move the money or spend it for free. I needed the money to reduce an overdraft debt so ‘spending the money’ wasn’t an option and I eventually paid the fee and cancelled the card.

    Please be aware that First Direct credit card customers will not be able to claim any credit on the card free of charge unless you spend the credit using the card!

  52. Steve says:

    I don’t use my checking account with FD much. I left it open when I went to the States, just so I had an account over there. They just withdrew my OD facility “as advised” – although they never even told me about it beforehand.

  53. K Queen says:

    My God! What is happening behind the scenes at this Bank. Suspicious stuff for sure. Last year they claimed I’d sent the wrong account details (I bloody didnt) with 11 postally deposited cheques. They’ve just cancelled my online access to ALL of my money, thats my life savings; 95% of all funds available to me via a bank card/ internet. This comes after sending me a letter by post stating that If the bank for any reason cant meet it’s liabilities, max claim per customer is 85k’. Suspicious or what!?

    There’s something going on with them that links to that 113m Euromillions win,.

  54. Sanjay says:

    Check out all the bad reviews of First Direct first,..It takes a lot for people to bad reviews of banks up,…because they just go along with it and only document and complain when they are infuriated. First Direct targets people who are :
    1. Actively using the bank account (i.e have their salary go into it)
    2. Buy their products, (read LOANS)
    3. Want a mortgage and a low risk one i.e very high deposits required to qualify.

    NOTE: They are very transactional. i.e for me, my bank is a partnership. It’s long term. These guys,.are not that way,..they will shut your account if you stop paying money in,..even if you are in credit.

  55. Anna says:

    I am getting fed up with the service received from FD, they keep making so many mistakes with my account that I have lost all confidence with them. Other than messing up DD’s/SO’s I have found out today that they were sending all my statements, credit cards and Pin numbers to my old address despite having changed it with them 7 months ago. Called up to sort it and the person I spoke to didn’t get how serious this was and I had to fight to get my card and pin canceled. What is the point of shredding my personal information if the bank is going to send it to someone else?
    There are probably worse banks out there, but I am fed up with them banging on about how good a service they provide when recently all I’ve experienced is a string of f*ckups.

  56. Cecilia B says:

    I just have been charge £75 by First Direct for going over my limit on three times occasions:
    1st £25 charge : debit of £0.14
    2nd £25 charge for a debit of £14.77
    3rd £25 charge for a debit of £4.72

  57. LinaC says:

    I have been with FD for many years and always found their service fantastic. Over the last year customer service has deteriorated to a very low level. I could not honestly recommend this bank and will be moving my account. I do not run an overdraft and clear my credit card monthly.

  58. Sarah Smith says:

    WORST BANK EVER! I’ve banked with these jokers for FOURTEEN YEARS, 13 of which I’ve been an outstanding customer. Recently I’ve set up my own business and now don’t fit in to their little tick boxes anymore. Despite informing them every step of the way of my financial status and being no more than 2 weeks late on ANY payment, they are defaulting on things, charging me ever increasingly late payment charges. But worst of all they consistently, patronise and threaten me, telling me my current status is UNACCEPTABLE and I need to seek debt advice! OH MY GOD….get a brain cell. Better yet DON’T EVER BANK with them. Go to one with a high street branch with staff who can think outside the box and not put you in one!!!!!!!!!!!!

  59. JohnG says:

    If you thinking of switching your bank account don’t be tempted by the £100 offered by First Direct. FD has a policy of not refunding charges even when they charge you £25 for being 1p overdrawn. The charges are unfair excessive. The informal overdraft Fee of £25 will apply on each event where you have made a transaction on your account outside the agreed limits without any consideration for the amount so £0.01p is sufficient to warrant this charge.

    I have contacted the Financial Services Authority regarding their disproportionate fees and anyone who has had the same problem with their bank should do the same. FD charges are immoral but then then not all banks are like these so consumers should change. But you also need to understand looking at your account online is not enough as some transactions are added to your account after close of business and do not show online until the following day but dated the previous day possibly incurring your charges this practice has to stop.

  60. plato says:

    Has there been any follow up on these issues?
    Am heading for showdown with FD on different issue/same problems.
    Please post if any progress made.

  61. Angela Hughes says:

    Having banked with First Direct for around 15 years, I have been getting more and more stressed as I am having many issues as listed by others on here.

    Over draft charges when cash paid in by 8am the same day to cover out goings and the cash showed up on my account before they then removed the cheque and bounced it!

    Text messages apparently not being live and them seeming to stick the knife in and twist it when you are clearly having a temporary glitch managing your accounts as you have sufficient money in your savings in the same bank to cover it.

    They wanted me to pay an additional £25 to maintain my over draft because I had had the afore mentioned over my over-draft limit glitch within the 6 months prior to them deciding they needed to review my over draft. Cancelled it!

    I was told when making a general enquiry a few years ago about a mortgage that “we wouldn’t give you a mortgage anyway”.

    I attempted to open a savings account for my little boy on 2 seperate occasions in a HSBC branch and was told they were going to be closing within half an hour on one occassion and that I needed to take in all my ID on the other even though I am already registered with first direct and HSBC.

    On three occassions I tried to get them to amend the address for my sons HSBC child trust fund having written and it not been changed finally on the third attemt they did sort it out, it took them a short phone call and the job was done.

    The 0845 numbers also frustrate me as I only have a mobile phone and pay phones don’t exist in my village anymore so they are not “local rate”!

    I have also tried to log on to the internet five times this morning and see that the log in process has changed slightly and now once I have logged in I just get a blank black screen but I am expected to reply to a message within 7 days about my dis-satisfaction of their services and the generic first direct e-mail did not reply to two e-mails I sent.

    They also took over two weeks longer to reply to an e-mail that they had promised to respond to by a certain date.

    Their service is getting as bad as 3 mobiles!

    I suffer with depression and have had a very bad time of things over the last two years, having taken a serious attempt at ending my life this time two years ago. My recovery seems to be being hampered by people like first direct and 3 mobile who clearly have no recollection of what good customer service is and about individual needs of customers.


  62. Angela Hughes says:

    It also took me two attempts to close the first directory part of my account which actually was a rip off because when I got round to checking the small print, had not covered my vehicles due to their age.

  63. Jackie says:

    Comments on here are worrying. Have to say though that I do not have a regular income, have been out of work or studying.

    I have a current account and credit card with FD..I pay off my credit card in total every month and have an overdraft.

    They do not charge me for transfers to other accounts or for any of their services. I guess I’ve just been luckly thus far:)

  64. Euan says:

    Ok people who have been charged an overdraft fee of 25 pound, you have breached the a/c terms and conditions therefore there is a fee, also if this was the first time in a 6 month period there would of been no fee as it’s waived, so this means you are obviously not monitoring your a/c very well, also people who have complained about there car not being covered as it’s over 15 years old, this is covered if you apply for first directory over the phone, if u applied online u have obviously just skipped through the terms and conditions and also as u have 14 days to cancel if u are not satisfied, you have also not read the terms and conditions that are sent, so stop moaning at the bank, this bank is top of customer service by a long way in the UK and that’s a fact.

  65. Nelly says:

    You can ring first direct on 01132345678 look at the back of your bank card, this is the number listed if you are calling from abroad! You don’t need to use the 0845 numbers, if you have a smart phone get the 0845 0870 and 0800 app for free or do an Internet search. I’ve banked with first direct since it started over 20 years ago. If you have a problem ring them and complain especially charges, if you have cleared funds in your account there will be no charges. I have a joint sole and savings account with them and never paid a penny in charges.

  66. Ani :o) says:

    I’ve banked with First Direct since they first formed and (touch wood!) have found them to be an exceptional bank. I’ve never in all that time had a single complaint about any of the call centre staff who have always been courteous, helpful and ‘real people’ not “Hello Caller, how may I help you?” people. I was STUNNED in comparison how badly online/call centre banking worked for Barclays, for example, when having to assist my elderly parents migrate to online security+chip/pin.

    On being almost hysterical on one occasion after noticing several fraudulant transactions on my account, I was handled calmly and professionally by the call centre staff at a time when if anyone had been pedantic even about the security process I would have severely lost it. They were then able to tell me calmly and professionally there were so many transactions on my account because the bank security team had realised what was happening and had already recredited all the frauds without me even having noticed anything was wrong. They’d resolved the problem before I even knew there had been one.

    On a trip to Latvia, the banking process was a nightmare for everyone in our party – cards taken by machines, money not issued correctly. My friends were beside themselves and also out of pocket or unable to obtain cash due to incorrectly retained cards (also leaving them with the worry of what was going to happen with those retained cards). When my turn came to become ensnared in the system, I completed a transaction only to have my card returned and no money issued. I then had the surreal experience of (1) phoning First Direct whilst I was in Latvia – they phoned me back immediately so I had no call charges, (2) the security team immediately cancelled the debit on my account, (3) they asked me to reinsert my card into the cash machine and – here was the surreal bit – told me on the phone they could see I’d entered my PIN, asked me to enter the amount of cash required, confirmed the transaction had gone through and asked me to confirm if I’d received the cash – only at that point in our conversation did they permit the transaction to conclude on my account. It felt like ‘James Bond’ to me – I was in Latvia and they were in Leeds and we were doing all this by phone a world apart. They then gave me fantastic tips about handling my cards and money safely in a difficult country and said they would speak directly with any Latvian banks if I called from a cashier point in a bank. My friends were left feeling vulnerable and exposed by the very difficult conditions where I felt like my bank was right there on holiday with me like another friend.

    On another occasion when I felt I’d had the security of my card compromised in a fuel station, they went back through all the most recent transactions to make sure they were valid, enabled me to draw sufficient cash to get through the next 5 days then stopped the card and issued a new one (which arrived as promised).

    I have no ‘special customer’ status – just a current account, credit card, savings, have in the past had car loans – and have always found their advice to be knowledgable, professional, friendly and personable. And believe me, I’m not an easy Customer! Nothing drives me to immediate rage as quickly as ‘scripted’ Call Centre staff and incompetent ‘airheads’!

    In the 20+years experience both myself and my husband have had with First Direct I have nothing but praise for them (*let’s hope this doesn’t break the luck! ;o) )

  67. d blowers says:

    The best.

  68. Claire Thompson says:

    I have had a situation where I was charged for going overdrawn despite the money having been paid in. The charges are, I believe automatic, so the machine can’t see what a human can. A phone call afterwards sorted it out and they took the charge off my account. Now if I think this may be happening, I call first and it may just be luck, but I’ve had no problems since.

  69. First dierct is fine says:

    First direct is a good service. You phone them and talk to them and it’s just like talking to a human being.. None of this press 1 press 2 press 3 press 4 press 5 ok you press 2 for blar blar

  70. Howard Johns says:

    I have banked with First Direct for over 20 years.
    I have never had a problem.
    You can ring them 24 hours a day and you will always speak to a professional, based in the North of England. They all know their stuff, and are unfailingly polite.
    Quite simply, they are the best.

  71. Neil says:

    I have recently closed my First Direct account due to a complete lack of understanding during a brief period of financial difficulty. I bent over backwards to take all of their advice into consideration and they wouldn’t budge an inch to assist me. I used to work for them. The training was exceptional and we rightly deserved our customer satisfaction ratings. Sadly, it seems the innovative, customer-focused company I once knew has now become just an offshoot of their appalling benefactors HSBC.

    • Ray says:

      I have found First Direct to be great while everything is working well. However – as soon as there is a problem their customer “service” falls apart. Today they have lost my date of birth and four telephone calls from Australia to them and they still cannot access my account. Now internet access is blocked as well and “Craig we don’t give out surnames sir” cannot transfer my call to a supervisor. Sadly I may also be closing my account (after almost 20 years) with 1st Direct, just because of their lack of service on the rare occasions there is a problem.

  72. Lynn walls says:

    I have banked with first direct for 25 years and have had nothing but first class service and the staff are always courteous and polite and extremely helpful. I’ve ever had a problem I just ring them and it’s sorted out if you have a problem with your account just ring them they’re not psychic and many problems can be sorted out with a simple phone call.

  73. Simon Tongue says:

    20 yrs with the same bank says something ! Not that I haven’t looked at other banks but I really can’t fault first d, never had a major issue, never paid a charge except once when after a short phonecall I had the fee removed, they always deal quickly with any probs that I have and overall I’d give them 10 / 10

  74. karen rowley says:

    I have been a customer of First Direct for 15 years and I can honestly say I cannot fault the staff on any count.They are very helpful happy and nothing is too much trouble

  75. Deborah says:

    I used to recommend First Direct to everyone I knew and have been a (mainly) satisfied customer for over 20 years.

    However, I have become fed up with their excessive charges – the latest is £25 for having been overdrawn by £1.21.

    I rang up and after much negotiation had it refunded with a warning not to do it again.
    I was reminded of:
    – the terms and conditions
    – that there’s no o/d facility unless I pay for it.
    – I said I regularly had a large balance, yet don’t get any interest, but they it’s up to me to transfer it to a savings account.
    – I said that the fee was excessive in relation to the small amount o/d, but was told that’s irrelevant.

    I’m sure fees used to be about £10 or £12, but £25 is ridiculous.

    The problem is, none of the other banks are as easy to deal with, so I guess I’m stuck with them, but I’m just not as happy as I used to be and the savings rates are awful.

  76. maxyourday says:

    I have used first direct for over 20 years without a problem but have just been charged £50 for going a couple of pounds overdraft on one of my accounts ? They have gone from being a good bank to just a another crappy service trying to wring whatever they can from their clients.

  77. Paul says:

    I’ve been a customer with with First Direct for more than 25 years. Although I’ve lived in Australia for 15 years I’m still a British citizen subject to UK taxation on the property I own and let in the UK. In recent months First Direct has cited the requirements of the Consumer Credit Act (though not which specific paragraph) as its reason for not being able to offer lending facilities to me as I don’t ‘live’ in the UK. First Direct has no qualms in continuing to accept deposits – including those sent from Australia to the UK.

    Curiously neither my mortgage nor credit card provider have chosen to withdraw their lending facilities from me.

  78. David says:

    I have banked with FD since 2008 and remortgaged with them. Initially they were very good but more recently I have had cause for complaint mostly due to unprofessional customer advisors and incorrect information from these so called customer service agents. I have recently closed all accounts and would not recommend this bank at all.

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