I have to hand it to first direct. The provider faced consumer uproar when it became the first leading bank in the UK to charge its customers for a standard current account. However, now the provider is biting back with an attention grabbing slogan that should not only grab new business, but potentially reinvigorate its consumer reputation.
The slogan on the first direct 1st Account is – "£100 if you like us, £200 if you don’t." Sound bizarre? Well, here’s how it works…
If you open up a 1st Account, and transfer your salary or income of £1,500 or more within three months, the bank will reward you with £100.
In addition, by paying in £1,500 a month the £10 a month charge is conveniently waived – you also won’t be charged if you maintain an average monthly balance of £1,500 or hold a selected first direct additional product.
Prior to the implementation of its £10 a month fee, first direct always had an outstanding customer reputation and it appears its keen to regain that status as it now claims that if you’re not satisfied after six months it will help you move to another bank and give you an additional £100. Satisfaction guaranteed – subject to terms and conditions of course!
In terms of an opening incentive, this first direct offer is as good as it gets. However, if you’re looking to earn interest this isn’t the deal for you.
Unfortunately the 1st Account offers a 0% interest rate – leaving it a long way behind the 8% market leader available from the Abbey account. Of course, that doesn’t mean that rate seekers should ignore the first direct offer – it’s a good account to use for regular access alongside a high interest savings deal.
Its overdraft terms are decent too. The 1st Account will pay 0% EAR on formal overdrafts up to £250. For overdrafts over £250, the standard formal overdraft debit interest rate of 12.9% applies.
The market leader in this category however, remains the Alliance & Leicester Premier Direct Current Account with which overdrafts up to £2,500 qualify for 0% interest for the first 12 months from the account opening. With a 6.5% AER interest rate for in-credit balances too, this is arguably the leading ‘overall’ deal on the market.
So if you’re one of thousands of consumers considering moving to a new current account deal then it seems you have plenty of choice depending on what’s most important to you – rate, incentives, overdraft terms or all of the above.
For a full perspective on what’s available check out the current account comparison tool and compare deals on more than 300 bank accounts.
Think about how much money you typically have in your account and move to a deal that will benefit your finances. Don’t rest on your laurels and sit on a stagnant bank account – the deals are out there, so grab them now.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that any rates or deals mentioned in this article applied at the time of writing and may no longer be available/applicable today.