Firstdirect reviews

Firstdirect reviews

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Fantastic bank and always have been!

I have banked with first direct practically since they started as they really suited my lifestyle and they still do!
They feel like a very friendly, personal bank who are always courteous and act immediately. They even supported (and still do) the charity that I work for - initially just because I sent a message and asked if they could. I like the choice of accounts although I wish interest rates were higher! We also have their mortgage - glad interest rates aren't higher! Great bank.
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Never had any problems

I joined this bank a long time ago, not long after they came out I think and started off with a current account with £500 overdraft facility. I rarely get phone calls/annoying promotions in the mail and on the rare occasion I have to call customers services my query is dealt with politely and efficiently by actual people in the UK who are available 24/7. They have also called to check about suspicious activity which gave me peace of mind knowing they are looking out for my money.
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Very Nosey bank, little in return

I joined First Direct 3 years ago. I don't have an overdraft, I don't get interest on my current account balance, in fact I get very little in return for placing my money in their bank. I didn't even get the promised £250 overdraft as they say ' responsible lending' wouldn't let them..yet I passed the credits score etc to join them and it got taken off me ( I hadn't used it), after 3 weeks.
They are nosey and phone you up asking very personnel things about every transaction in your bank. I paid off a loan for my daughter, they phoned me and asked me if I was experiencing financial difficulties! Hang on, I paid money out and still had quite a large credit amount in the bank!
Today was the last straw, they phoned me and asked me what I use Pay Pal for as there was quite a few transactions going out via this method, they asked me to confirm who people were that I paid out of my account, all of which were my children and mother and went on and on about different transactions.
I always have a credit balance, have never had a bounced anything and yet they feel they have the right to look over my bank account like Big Brother, making me paranoid about even using Pay Pal!
Today, I applied and was accepted for LLoyds bank account, with interest and an overdraft so First Direct will no longer have the use of my money. Absolutely useless and invasive bank. Stay well clear!!
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The customer service that sets them apart from HSBC... 'er.... maybe not!

Well eager to experience what Mark Mullen promised during his interview on http://www.adrianswinscoe.com/ blog I carefully filled out the on-line application to be met with a 'were doing other checks' message.

A while later an email saying 'call us' which I did. I nice gentleman told me I needed to speak to the account opening team and promised to put me though to them. Lovely classical music played in my ears and I was lost in a day dream looking over the sunlight garden drinking a cup of tea. Lovely.

20 minutes later I hung up having had enough of the music and coming back to the reality I had paid for listening to music free on Radio 3.

I replied to their email instead.... that was several days ago - so much for 24hours[at] firstdirect.com.

Their web page says proudly they are to banks what platypus are to mammals. A quick search of Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platypus) will see the sentence " capable of causing severe pain to humans"

I am inclined to agree with their own suggestion as do a few other reviewers on this site no doubt.
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Brilliant

Just going through the switching process and couldn't praise them enough! After a dreadful customer service experience with Santander it makes a refreshing change to 'speak' to someone at the end of the phone without having to press '1' for this and '2' for that.

It's been brilliant so far, account opened Thursday, debit card and paperwork received Saturday, switching confirmed on Monday .... seriously can't fault them, it's been great.

Long may it continue!
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Application rejection Credit scoring footprint

Complaint letter to First Direct
I have just gone through an exceeding time consuming application for a FD current account only to have it rejected for some reason other than my credit scoring if I understand your staff correctly. Your staff ‘refused’ to tell me the reason and says I have to wait for a letter to state why I have been declined. I have not wanted a FD current account in the first place, only an ISA account but unfortunately it was conditional that I had to open a current even if I was not going to be using it.
1. I am very unhappy that both my time and effort was wasted.
2. The now pointless credit search will also show on my credit report.
I have no idea why my application was rejected since I have been a previous FD account holder, this so called new application was just a regurgitation of my information which is already held by you.
The worse is that I have now found out you/FD could have done a quotation search which would not have left any mark on my credit report. Why does FD not give this choice? This is extremely poor practice. I certainly would not recommend FD to anyone.
I am really not happy with FD. Please ensure that any information you hold on me is destroyed and not passed onto any third party without my permission – I will require you to confirm in writing that my instructions have been carried out.
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First Direct Rocks!

I switched to FD on the recommendation of a friend some years ago now and have never regretted it. I especially like that I can phone and be connected to a real person straightaway without all this "press 1 for this, 2 for that" merry-go-round as is with other banks.

My faith in it as an exceptionally great bank was underlined when my debit card was scammed in an ATM and £500 whipped out of my account. Their fraud team were fantastic and my lost money refunded to me in full without any quibbles. When I really needed it, FD was there for me and on my side.

All in all, there's not a single thing that has happened since I started banking with FD that I can't give any praise for. Long may it last!
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Five years on and I wouldn't change

I've been with First Direct for five years now and they're still as excellent as the day I joined. The phones are answered within seconds, 24 hours a day, and by UK staff. The service is second to none, online banking is very easy to navigate and I haven't had a single issue with them whatsoever.

Nothing would make me switch to another bank, with financial institutions it's very rare to find one you're completely happy with so no amount of money as an incenticve would make me switch. Long may the service continue.
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Easy Switch - No Fuss

Just switched to First, they've been great so far. Really pleasant on the phone. I've either gotten straight through to who I need, or if I've had to wait, they've let me know where I am in the queue and how long to expect.
Set up my basic account over the phone and then my savings stuff I set up online. All super easy. I have no problems with the online service, it's a lot better than my last bank. (mind you, that was co-op, and their online service is really awful) The savings accounts have far better interest than I got before as well. I've also got my savings set up to automatically move into accounts, one at the start of the month and then one "sweep" at the end of money left over, and I've got text message alerts so I know this all goes smoothly. Fantastic!

Just bear in mind - if you are using the switch service you should call them back as soon as your paperwork arrives in the post.
The paperwork for switching is apparently a generic document now, so it has no specific instructions as to what you need to do. Well, you need to phone them to confirm your switch date - and the sooner you phone, the sooner the switch can happen.
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Friendly and helpful

Joined about a month ago and the customer service staff couldn't have been more helpful. All the details and subsequent requests were dealt with promptly and post received very quickly. Would certainly recommend to anyone based on the customer service alone!
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So far so good!

I recently switched from HSBC to first direct and it's all been handled brilliantly.
I decided to switch as they had a £100 incentive, I was told I would receive this 28days after I pay in £1000, but actually received it 5days after! All DD's were switched accordingly, I wasn't expecting my list of payees would be set up but it was. I actually can't fault them.
I particularly like the way you don't need to type in account no.s etc just to speak to customer services, it's just one call and they take you through security.
For people that have moaned their tel no is 0845 what bank isn't?!
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By far the best UK Bank

While FD are by no means perfect, I challenge any reasonable customer who fits their criteria (forget it if you are a student, that's obviously not FD target market) to name a better bank. In my opinion the online experience is good, nice simple interface, no annoying card reader required to move your money like Barclays, Nationwide and a host of other banks; good telephone staff who are mature, intelligent and friendly and in the UK; good overdraft (no interest on the 1st £250). On the negative side they don't have the best cash back credit cards, but I can't think of much else. HSBC on the other hand is a different story but as a First Direct customer you don't have to deal with HSBC except in rare circumstances. I have been with FD in total for over 20yrs after getting frustrated with Barclays charges as a graduate. I moved to Nationwide for 2 years about 5 yrs ago after First direct took a month to send me a replacement credit card but the overall experience was far far worse. I am known by my friends to be very critical and I would recommend First Direct without reservation. I read most of the negative reviews here as being from people who are either bitter about being rejected by First Direct, immature and unrealistic in what they expect from a company that let's face it is in business to make money or people who just haven't yet experienced what other banks are like.
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Poor online service for an ONLINE BANK!

The first problem was that I tried to apply for an account and their website was experiencing problems. For an online bank, I expect their website to be reliable and stable. Bad first impression. I submitted an email to highlight the issue and ask when the website would be functional again. After 9 days I finally got a response simply stating that I could apply for an account now and that "There are no reported issues with the website today."
Considering first direct are an online bank, the online service is absolutely terrible.
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Appalling

I am glad i kept my Nationwide Flex Plus account. I cannot believe First Direct are the only bank that reports to credit reference agencies that they return DDs which affects your credit score. I called them to say monies were paid in on the day the DDs were due given that i was in the middle of transferring over to them. I was informed as long as the monies were in the account by 23.45 you will be fine. Now they are saying 15.30. Make your minds up. I hope the calls are recorded to back this up. The representative explained yes this is what they do, we return a DD and we let the CRAs know. This is bad practice. The representative kept saying I appreciate your opinion re. i do not like this policy. She was rude and I asked for the account to be shut down and cancel all DDs. I have a clean credit report and FD are happy to ruin this with a stupid policy and they are the only bank that actually report to CRAs of bounced DDs. I will be making an official complaint, also when i see these missed DDs showing on my CRA file, I will continuously complain and complain to both FD and CRAs to get these removed. I will not take this standing up. I want to keep my credit file clean. Absolutely disgusted. Also I am not entitled to the incentive pay out due to not taking their account transfer service, even I selected this on the application at the time of applying, they purposely ignore this to get out paying you the £125. very annoyed and I will continuously complain to their executive office until this is resolved. I will be closing this account with no hesitation.
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Awful customer service and user interface online

Wanted information regarding swapping account and my eligibility for joining incentive - a very simple question asked through their secure messaging service (as other option was to call 0845 number via my mobile which would be very expensive) - first response was after nearly 2 weeks, didnt answer my questions ; second response was after one day, to which i immediately replied, this e mail took a further 2 weeks for them to respond to. This e mail still didnt answer my question. I therefore replied again asking the same simple question; they have still not replied to this after more than a month.

Due to this time wasting i missed the 3 month deadline to complete the account swap and therefore missed the joining money incentive. When i called to explain this was due to their inability to answer my simple question and that i'd only missed by a couple of weeks while waiting for a response it took 40 minutes of going round in circles to finally be rudely told they would make no exception and that they were not at fault (though they would offer the staff who replied to my e mails training - presumably so they dont make errors in future).

Annoying not being able to pay anything in via ATMs

Online banking interface is poor

Secure messaging service is not simple enough - very difficult to know exactly to which department you should send to (and then they dont respond)

Dont bother - bank with nationwide instead, they know how to treat their customers
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If this is customer service, I must be a monkey's uncle!

A number of reviewers have said that they can't understand some of the low scores that reviewers have submitted for First Direct (FD). That suggests that FD must do some things well but my review suggests they've still got plenty of room for improvement.
I've had an account with another bank for 40 years but recently they've had some well publicised computer problems so I thought I'd try FD and see if they were any better. As my existing account is a joint account with my wife, we agreed to make the FD account a joint account. So, I went online and completed a pretty lengthy application and then my wife filled in her bit. The system said we would hear back within a few days. Nothing happened so 5 days later I rang them. Before I did that both my wife and I checked both our e-mail accounts and our junk mail boxes to check nothing had gone astray.
As I'd kept the application reference number, the customer service lady found my application quickly. She then asked me if my wife had ever had a First Direct account. I was able to tell her that my wife had had a savings account some years before which she'd closed once they played the usual banking game of offering an uncompetitive interest rate once the initial special offer expired. The response was "Ah. Well, in that case, you can't open the account over the internet. You can only open it over the phone. So, we've cancelled your application. Would you like to complete an application over the phone now?" I asked why I hadn't been told about this requirement at any stage during or after the application process to which the reply was "We'd have sent you an e-mail when we cancelled your application". When I pointed out that I was certain they hadn't, it was then suggested that they had sent my wife an e-mail. When this too was rebutted, I was asked again if I'd like to complete an application form over the phone. I said that I was outraged that they had trashed 40 minutes of my effort on the internet simply because my wife had once had an account with them. They had failed to point out their requirements before I completed the form and they had then failed to advise me of what they had done. Since I had originally been looking for a better service from a bank, it was clear that I had been looking in the wrong place.
At this point, the customer service lady became more conciliatory. She suggested that she could transcribe all the data from the original application form if this was agreed by her manager but she would still need to talk to my wife once she had done so. I couldn't get any comprehensible explanation as to the purpose of talking to my wife given that this wouldn't have been needed if she had never had an account with FD. However, I presumed this might be some sort of control to prevent "identity theft" so I agreed that she should go ahead and talk to her manager and phone me when she had done that.
When she phoned back, she had recovered all my data and input it into their system but she had been told that she was required to recollect all the data (taking about 20-30 minutes) about my wife over the telephone even though she had it all in front of her! As my wife was heavily into catering arrangements for Christmas, she could have spared a few minutes for FD to confirm her identity but just didn't have the time spare to provide all the information yet again.
After this experience, I suspect there's a lot more to the negative reviews than some of your reviewers seem to think.
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Awful service only just switched what a mistake

Switched to FD and today found out today they forgot to tell my DD complaines so I have late fees credit file will also be affected . FD couldn't care less they don't know when my account will be sorted they can't tell me anything as they don't know !!! Admitted mistakes took them 2 weeks to sort and they didn't even realise for a week it had happened !! Just awful don't move be warned ! They
can't keep up to the new account switch service !!!
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Forget the Cash Incentive

We ( my wife & I )were tempted by the £125 and set about switching from HSBC to First Direct (also part of HSBC !!!)
Tried setting up a Joint Account - What a hassle - I have read all the comments here - will stick where we are - after all most of our banking is online.
If HSBC have been happy with us having a Joint Account for 23 years why should we now have the expense of getting certified copies of passports to switch to their First Direct branch??
Cannot understand why they get a few good reviews (posted by employees??!!)
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Very poor service and a waste of time

Very poor customer service - they only email you with robotic templates, don't get back to you and give you the most stupid reasons for doing all the work yourself. Their 24/7 support claim is a scam, as their own email says "Lines are open 8am to 9pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 5:30pm Saturday and 9am to 5:30pm Sunday." Had to call them each time to get a reaction and just gave up on my switching application. I am not going to a so-called "bank" that treats people like rubbish.
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Don't understand the poor ratings.....

You call someone and the phone is answered; no waiting in queues pressing multiple options.

I've transferred over my main account, savings, credit card and even taken my mortgage with them now. All were opened with no issues. I opened the credit card from my online banking and they asked me what I wanted my limit to be and it was opened instantly; no forms.

I even got £150 for 3 referrals, put into my account : )

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