HSBC relaunching FirstDirect to compete with challenger banks

While FirstDirect definitely needs new features I wonder if too many changes might lose some of the client base they currently have (unless the aim is to move them to HSBC proper).

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As a current customer of First Direct this is really exciting! I’ve been a part of their fdesign group for a while now and I really love the approach they’re taking in offering different UI designs to customers for feedback - reminds me of Monzo in the early days :roll_eyes:

I also love First Direct as a bank, recently switched a dormant NatWest account to a Lloyd’s account for the switch incentive but doubt I’ll be moving away from First Direct as my main account. The customer service is second to none and you don’t have to navigate any confusing menus when calling, just ring and someone answers (9 times out of 10 without holding).

I think with the right marketing they have a real chance at success here with the already 1.95m customers they have and the customer-first approach they’re taking to new features.

Ooo, on a side note too… They’re looking to rebrand their debit cards and the survey I did shows some very nice looking options! Excited to see which they go with…

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That’s good to see there taking some feedback on their direction. Maybe it will make an interesting 2020

“We have a proud heritage of being the original challenger bank back in 1989 . . . now we’re making a real digital pivot to tackle the environment as it is now,” said Mr Gordon.

They are still in 1989. HSBC and First Direct…
Digital bank?! You have to phone them all the time…
FD - telephone banking, not digital. Stone Age.
CS ? Yes, best support over the phone or via direct message


Also, I haven’t noticed any difference between the FD and HSBC apps other than a reskinning. FD could be really innovative.

I’m sure that HSBC rewrote their entire backend relatively recently and the whole global network is on the same (presumably modern) system. I’m hoping that makes consumer facing features roll out faster than we expect.

HSBC promised to integrate their Connected Money app to main app from September… still nothing


I wish FD all the best as a challenger bank. Till now, they’ve always been there or thereabouts as a beacon of light in the CS stakes. But who should expect to make frequent use of CS?

That apart, actually opening and managing a current account with them has been a pretty turgid business. Paperwork by the sheaf and a bewildering system of passwords :worried:.

So here’s to a new look for FD - less about CS - more about a cracking app…


FD send a flipping letter through the post for almost everything they do, even though they have my email. Add their debit card to ApplePay even triggers another tree to be felled and a letter sent. I think it’s too little, too late for them to be fair. They need to rethink almost everything they do and I’m not sure they are nimble enough.


To be fair, does any (legacy or challenger) bank launch a feature on time? :smile:

This drives me crazy too


Is First Direct Phone service better than HSBC Advance?

Is it as good as HSBC Premier?

Problem is, I suspect, that they’re still stuck in their phase as a ‘challenger’ telephone-based bank, when good customer service was pretty much everything.


Agreed, @Neil, and I’m struck by @Ad13‘s point…

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Well to be honest the article that you’ve linked said, that the first phase will be released towards the end of the year… I’m curious if it makes in in time :joy:

Connected Money will be turned off from September, with the first phase of features to be integrated with the main HSBC mobile banking app currently under development, and are due to be released towards the end of the year.

Fresh off the back of this First Direct’s latest update adds the ability to freeze/unfreeze your card through their app…

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I like it when it shows a card that looks frozen, it stops any confusion as to what toggle you have on.

For a split second I really thought those skulls added to the effect :joy:


Well, if they’re anything like HSBC, they’ll then irritate you periodically like this

First Direct has saved the day when Monzo’s transaction limits were insufficient (buying a Tesla). I called up FD, got through to a human in the UK, and they raised the limits there and then.

But FD’s system of passwords and keys is ridiculous and their app/online offering is old fashioned.

These are the crucial features they need to copy from Monzo, and then they’ll be my #1 bank account again:

  • Real-time mobile notifications for all transactions and account alerts
  • Passwordless log in (as per Monzo)
  • Instant transaction reversal / questioning via app

Definitely that :point_up:t3:
And this :point_down:t3: