Save, make, understand money


First Direct axes up to £125 switch incentive for tech and travel vouchers

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

First Direct has scrapped its cash switching bonus and instead, new customers will be able to choose between tech, courses or travel vouchers.

The online-only bank has today announced its moving away from cash-based switching incentives after being the first to offer them years ago.

Instead, new customers looking to switch to the bank will be able to choose one of the following welcome gifts:

1) Over 300 online self-development courses

They include courses which could help customers with their own business ventures; for example, a course in ultimate graphic design, marketing with Google and YouTube, accountancy and coding.

First Direct confirmed that over 70% of the courses are worth more than £200, adding that a few are worth “significantly more”. The course lengths vary, with one taking up to 12 months.

2) A £150 Expedia e-voucher:

This credit gives customers the option to pay for flights, car hire, trains, or a range of different accommodation types.

It also offers ‘split payment functionality’ so customers can pay using the e-voucher and their own funds if they wish.

3) A choice of gadgets, including:

  • Bose on-ear wireless headphones
  • Bose Soundlink2 Bluetooth speaker
  • Amazon Echo Spot
  • Fitbit Charge 2 Special Edition

First Direct confirmed the current RRPs of these gadgets are between £120-£170. Either way, all of the switch incentives are worth more than the typical £100 for switching.

All other eligibility criteria to move to First Direct’s current account remain the same, such as the minimum £1,000 to be paid into the account each month (or maintaining a £1,000 monthly balance).

How can you take up an offer?

Once you’re signed up to it, within 14 days after qualifying (once you’ve completed the switching process and paid in £1,000), you’ll get an email containing an activation code which you can use to register on the promotional website

You then have 60 days from receiving the email to register. A reminder email will be sent after 42 days in case you’ve accidentally deleted, filed or forgotten about the original email.

Once you have your confirmation email containing your welcome gift code, you’ll have 90 days to choose your gift.

New current account customers will also receive a £250 interest-free overdraft but if you decide it’s not the bank for you, it will pay you £100.

First Direct confirmed that for any customers who switched to the bank before today, you will still receive the £100 switch incentive.

It said the move is due to its research which showed customers “put a far higher premium on new experiences than they do on cash”. It added that travel and the opportunity to try new things both “resonate much more with customers” and “sit well alongside its reputation for being the most digitally advanced and customer-service focused bank in the UK”.

Joe Gordon, head of First Direct, said: “We believe the time is right to shake up the switcher market; just like we did all those years ago when we were the first to introduce cash as a joining incentive.

“Typically, First Direct’s customers are digitally-savvy and entrepreneurially-minded, choosing to bank with us for our pioneering tech and award-winning customer service. From them we know cash into your account when you join is great, but it can get lost on day-to-day spending. These new incentives will start our relationship off on a more personal level, offering something that can be enjoyed over a longer period of time.”