First Direct’s £175 switch bonus returns – should you move banks?

The £175 switching deal may not be the biggest on the market, but First Direct offers a host of perks including 7% on regular savings plus excellent customer service. We look at whether it’s worth taking advantage of the deal

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First Direct has re-launched its £175 bank switching incentive – but you’ll need to be quick if you want to snap it up as it will disappear in less than a month.

While the cash sum is not the biggest bank switching bonus on the market, the bank scores highly for its customer service, while its current account comes with some handsome perks. For example, customers get a £250 interest-free overdraft and fee-free spending overseas, plus there is no monthly fee to use the account. 

First Direct customers can also open a market-leading 7% regular saver account.

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The bank previously ran its £175 incentive for more than a year, which disappeared in January 2024. 

Competition among current account providers reignited in February with Lloyds and NatWest introducing bonuses as high as £200, while HSBC followed with its market–leading £220 offer  – but these deals are starting to disappear, with all three already off the radar. 

With the addition of First Direct, only two offers remain, so it's a good time to shop around and see which current account suits you best, whether it’s a standard account or a packaged account. 

Find out how to get £175 with First Direct and how it compares to its competitor. 

How to switch to First Direct and get £175

New customers who switch to First Direct’s 1st Account by 22 April can get £175 free cash. Sole and joint accounts are eligible for the offer. 

For a successful switch, you will need to do the following within 30 days of opening your account: 

  • Use the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) to move current accounts
  • Switch over at least two direct debits 
  • Pay in at least £1,000 
  • Log into online banking with First Direct

You do not qualify for the offer if you have held a First Direct product previously, or have held an HSBC current account on or after 1 January 2018.

The £175 will be paid into your account by the 20th of the following month, providing you successfully meet all of the eligibility criteria.

How does First Direct compare to the rest of the market? 

The First Direct bonus is not as high as what its competitor Santander is putting on the table, but there's not a huge difference. 

It’s important to compare the actual accounts, and not just grab the highest switching bonus. Because you’ll potentially have this current account for many years, using it every day. Any monthly fees or overdraft charges can quickly add up, plus you’ll want decent customer service should you need help with anything.

There is plenty to like about the First Direct account. It’s a free account with no monthly fees. Customers can use their debit card abroad fee-free. Plus, there’s an interest–free overdraft of £250, although this depends on your credit history. 

Current account customers can usually open a high-interest savings account with the same bank, so it’s worth checking how these compare too. 

First Direct’s 7% regular saver is the best on the market right now, and you can snap it up when you open the current account. 

It’s worth adding that the bank is well-known for its customer service, with a 4.4 star ranking on Trustpilot. It came third (behind Monzo and Starling Bank) in a recent service quality survey, scoring higher than other big providers like Nationwide and Halifax.

In terms of the other switching deals right now, you should watch out for monthly fees. For example, with Santander, you can either switch to its everyday current account which holds no monthly fee, or you can opt for its Edge rewards accounts that start from £3 a month and go up to £5 monthly. 

In exchange for these monthly fees, customers can get perks including travel insurance cover, AA breakdown cover and even lifestyle benefits.

Consider whether you would make use of these, or whether you could get them cheaper if you bought them yourself, before committing to paying a monthly fee.

Vaishali Varu
Staff Writer

Vaishali has a background in personal finance and a passion for helping people manage their finances. As a staff writer for MoneyWeek, Vaishali covers the latest news, trends and insights on property, savings and ISAs.

She also has bylines for the U.S. personal finance site and Ideal Home, GoodTo, inews, The Week and the Leicester Mercury

Before joining MoneyWeek, Vaishali worked in marketing and copywriting for small businesses. Away from her desk, Vaishali likes to travel, socialise and cook homely favourites