What's the deal?
To receive the £125 cashback for switching you must pay in at least £1,500 a month to the 1st account – or otherwise a £10 monthly fee will be charged. You will not earn any interest on credit balances at all. However if you slip into the red you also won't be charged on overdrafts up to £250. Venture beyond this however, and you’ll face an annual equivalent annual rate of 15.9% although this is still fairly competitive compared to other banks.
Once you are a First Direct current account customer, you'll also be eligible to open its market leading Regular Saver Account which pays a whopping 8.00% for 12 months providing you pay in between £25 and £300 each month – which adds up to a maximum of £3,600 a year.
You can read more about this deal and other ways to ensure you save regularly in Mark Hooson’s article, 'Why saving monthly will make you a winner.'
It might be natural to worry about shifting a well-worn current account that has played host to all your financial needs possibly since you were a child – but this process will be taken out of your hands entirely. First Direct’s Easyswitch team handles the transfer of direct debits and standing orders from your existing current account.
In fact, First Direct will even offer a satisfaction guarantee and pay you £100 if you are not happy and decide to close your account and leave.
First Direct is a telephone and internet bank only so will not be suitable if you are the kind of person who values going into a branch and speaking with someone face to face.
You will also need to bear in mind that, if your balance is always firmly a good way in the red, it may be a better option in the longer-term to find a current account that pays in-credit interest.
For example, Santander’s 123 current account pays up to 1.00% on balances of over £1,000; 2.00% on balances of over £2,000, and 3.00% on balances of over £3,000 (to a maximum of £20,000).
It also offers cashback of 1% on water and council tax bills; 2% on gas and electricity bills and 3% on mobile phone, landline, broadband and paid-for TV package bills. However, it comes with a fee of £2 a month.
What’s the verdict?
But regardless of rates on credit or debt, many people – especially those of have regular contact with their bank – value customer service above everything else. And this is where the switch could really pay off.
First Direct has a long-standing reputation for excellent customer service – employing professional staff that are based in UK call centres. In fact, the bank was Winner of ‘Best Overall Provider 2011’ in MoneySupermarket’s Supers Awards.
If this is the most important aspect of banking to you, you can’t go too far wrong – especially when you are also £125 richer in pocket.
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.