I left my high street bank (sponsor of the premier league) when I took a half day off work to go in to the branch and they were closed for staff training. Unbelievable!!
This was a long time ago and I went home that night and set up a new account with 1stD at 23:00.
Since that time I have had one or two small gripes but the overwhelming experience has been an exemplar of top quality customer service.
Some of their products are not brilliantly competitive but so don't buy them. They don't spend ages trying to sell me things and calling them is almost always a pleasurable experience. Well done them.
I have always had a good experience with the day to day side of dealing with First Direct. However, my experience has shown that if there is anything above a minor problem, you are quickly reminded that you are dealing with a cynical, irresponsible large financial organization. I had the misfortune to take out their legal expense insurance. It covers for £1,500 solicitors costs - that's all. Not the £50,000 advertised. The "warehouse claims processing" agreements they have in place for your legal issues are designed to maximize their own profits, helping you unfortunately comes third place. Even when I pointed out to them that my contractual rights under the policy had clearly been breached, what did they do? Write a letter saying "oh yes so they were - write to the financial ombudsman" The case is still waiting with the ombudsman after a year. No doubt FD think they will get away with the typical £80 fine from the ombudsman. Such a piss-take in fact that even though its a bit of a pain to change banks, I feel I have to. Do not touch their insurance with a barge pole and I hope that the only issues you have with them are around things like a £20 overdraft fee. If it really matters unfortunately you you will see their true colours - not pretty.
1. Did not receive my debit card - had to call in
2. Have not received my PIN
3. Failed to remember my telephone banking password when I called
4. Resulted in locking of my internet bank login
5. Can' access my internet banking or cash in that account
6. MUST CALL FROM MY HOME LANDLINE TO VERIFY SECURITY
How ARCHAIC is that? The phone operator can't help me unless I call from my home 'registered' number. If I had known about this, I would've used my work number as I always do my banking from the office. Can't even close my account - HAVE TO CALL FROM HOME LANDLINE.
First Direct - despite being able to speak to a human voice is very welcomed on each call, your ridiculous and dictating rules make you a frustration to deal with. I'd rather do all my banking online.
No wonder you have to entice new customer with £100. It was certainly a factor to join - but am regretting it now with the amount of hassle it is taking to even close my account.
If you consider this bank for the ease and speed of handling things online, you might want to consider it again. If you are tempted by the £100 bribe they pay you to change bank, be there most likely is a condition you don't meet, so they don't have to pay you.
Opening an account took more than a month, and cost out-of-pocket money. Unlike a physical bank, everything needs to be sent by post, and a copy of your passport therefore needs to be certified by a solicitor, which you need to pay for yourself. I had the passport cerified by a HSBC branch (the bank is owned by HSBC), but they did not accept this, even though the copy had been signed and stamped by the HSBC manager. Be aware that every you send something that they for some reason can't accept, it means another 1-2 weeks delay in opening the account.
Every time you need to talk to them, you need to go through a 5-minute process of telling your name, address, postal code, and a telephone password which has to be different from your internet passsword, making it easy to forget. (You need a total of three seperate passwords just for doing your daily banking). Only after going through that process you can get a reply to even the simplest question - for example be told that a department is closed at this time, and that you need to call back tomorrow.
After having had the bank account for 6 month with a constant positive balance in the 4 or 5 digits, I attempted to open a joint account with my wife. After spending about a month, again providing the bank with all the certified documents required, and being on the phone with about 6 times for a combined couple of hours, it turned out that they did not want to open the account as we "did not fullfill the criteria". This was after getting 2 other completely different explanations of why the account wasn't initially opened, and only 1 day after receiving a letter, asking my wife to call back in order to "continue the process" of opening the account. Nobody could tell us any explanation, and honestly - with all the different explanations we got - it is a likely that the rejection was due to process error as anything else. Nobody in one department knew anything about what people in other departments was doing.
I would not recommend this bank to anybody.
My account has a £100 overdraft limit. Just found out ive been charged £200 for going over this amount by small amounts , at £25 a time. Rather than refuse the transactions, or just charge a one off, or monthly fee, they allow all the transactions then charge £25 a time . For what ?? after 30 mins of surfing between operators i got to The Rude One , spoke over everything i tried to say , and claimed i should be thankful they used this system as charging me £200 wouldnt affect my credit score. Oh Thanks so much !!! Do not use
Have been with First Direct for about 4 years now and have never had any issues at all. I had only heard good things before joining and this has proved to be the case.
The one thing that impresses me most is the helpfulness of the staff. A UK call centre certainly makes a good impression and seems to understand your needs better. As far as I can recall, every time I have called them they have resolved whatever needed to be done, in a helpful and courteous manner.
Have been with this bank since the year dot. 14 years of earning a good solid salary, no debts, exemplary customer. I then started my own business. Explained to FD what I was doing, have kept them informed all the way, have been no more than a week late with any payment and have informed them when I will be late and paid exactly when I said I would.....five years on.......they are still telling me how I'm in serious debt (I'm not). The only debt I have is £900 of FIRST DIRECT CHARGES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm sick of being patronised, I'm sick of being charged when I've tried to do the right thing. They don't listen and just spout at you from their little 'tick' sheet as to what box you should fit in for them to consider you a worthwhile customer. I am currently writing to the ombudsmen about these jokers. AVOID AT ALL COST. Santander, thank goodness, understand what it is to set up a business and now I'm back earning a decent salary and back to being my exemplary self, I shall be banking with them for everything in the future. FD can go spit!!!! Thanks for the support....NOT!
I moved to first direct from HSBC in December as they offered a £100 joining incentive and also where the provider of my mortgage.
I cannot rate them highly enough, its basically a more personal and friendly subsidiarity of HSBC.
They offer a local rate telephone number which I think is pretty much 24hour and brilliant products that I think are always cost effective. Their website is easy to use and best of all they have a really well developed mobile banking app for iPhone users. 10/10 and recommend to friends all the time!
I've been a first direct customer for years and i've never had a problem. If you need a branch service you can use HSBC but 99.99% is done over the phone. You get to speak to real human beings (who are in the Uk, not in India) and they know their jobs. I would recommend First Direct to anyone.
I have been banking with Firstdirect almost since they started with telephone banking. The service has always been good, I seldom use the phone now the online systems are so good but if ever I have to phone I get through quickly to a competent member of staff.
Firstdirect introduced fast payment promptly and have continued to improve this. The site is looking a bit old now but it works well and efficiently.
They haven't introduced (yet!) those annoying little keypads that HSBC and Nationwide use.
I notice most of the complaints are about fees rather than service. They caught me once in the last couple of years; but agreed to refund half a fee! I think all the banks are getting tighter over fees, I'm not sure Firstdirect are any worse than the others.
I have bought expensive items likes a car using my debit card and I have withdrawn large amounts of cash through HSBC branches and I have found Firstdirect very efficient in arranging these transactions while applying a good level of security.
I also run a Nationwide account, their technology is not as good, they don't offer telephone banking as backup but their interest rates and there international transactions fees beat Firstdirect hands-down
Started to bank with them just over a year ago, what a mistake, should have stayed with co-op bank but that's another story.
At first everything seemed ok, but gradually I noticed they were delaying payments into clumps so that it is harder to keep track of how much I was in credit. Before I knew I was tipping over my overdraft by a few pounds due to their own monthly charge. Then they charged me another £60.00 the following month.
When I pulled em up they denied it of course, sure enough this became a regular thing so am really watching carefully to avoid the delayed payment trap. needless to say, I'm looking to transfer back to my old bank who didn't use uncrupulous methods. Try co-op better ethos all round.
Great service from people who take time to care. Transfer of account from Barclays was seamless and trouble free.
Have been with them for several months now, and wonder why I ever thought I'd need a local branch, this is the future of banking.
I have been with Abbey & Natwest both i hated i could never get help and when i called i ended up speaking to someone who's english was rubbish with first direct you always get a english person and better still they are so nice and helpful
once my card got stuck in a cashmachine in chelmsford ( i live in southend) and i only had £10 cash i thought i would be stuck in the streets all night but i called FD and got through to them (about 1am) they cancelled my card and then helped me transfer £50 to a taxo driver to take me home :)
i would say to everyone and anyone THIS IS THE BEST BANK IN THE WORLD
I phoned my bank to ask if there were any debit transactions pending. This was 2 weeks after I used my debit card. They said no. Due to that it sent me overdrawn and they have refused to refund the debit interest. I'm going to close my account down - terrible the way they handled that. - DB
John found this review useful
I am constantly frustrated by the service of many companies but I have to say that First Direct Bank are absolutely brilliant. You phone them and a real person answers very quickly and there are no annoying menus to have have to go through. The people that answer are very polite, very efficient and generally can deal with you without having to put you throughto someone else. Their call centre is in the UK and so they can easily be understood. Thier online banking is great also. I have banked with them for about 20 years and for someone like me to say that I have never had any problems with them is quite amazing. I have baked with about 4 banks in my life plus about 10 building societies and First Direct are easily the best by far.
Have been with first direct since 1992, and have not (and will not) consider moving elsewhere.
The call centre and customer service staff members are always polite, well informed and courteous. Most products are in line with the industry standards (as far as interest rates etc go), however they just shine so brightly on their levels of service.
I've recommended them to many friends, and those that have moved across have all acknowledged their satisfaction with the way they operate.
A lot of other companies (not just banks) would do well to emulate the way they work.
The staff on the First Direct telephone banking really take the trouble to make it a personal banking service and in the five years I have had my First Direct accounts I have been very impressed with the service, which I highly recommend
Having been with First Direct for many years I have had many queries and questions relating to money matters. EVERY time I have contacted them, I have had such excellent customer service, and staff are so friendly, professional and actually care about what happens to you. My wife recently joined and the transfer service was carried out without a single hitch. Thank you to all the staff.
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