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First Direct BankFirst Direct Bank
First Direct BankingFirst Direct Banking
First Direct Internet BankingFirst Direct Internet Banking

First Direct Internet Banking

To begin with, First Direct internet banking comes with a full anti-fraud guarantee- if you're the victim of computer crime and you lose money, you'll get it all back. Actually, if you sign up for First Direct, they'll put £25 into your account anyway, as a little thank you!
Logging in takes you directly to a balances screen, including all your First Direct account balances, details and credit limits; and these are all bang up to date. One click away are statements, and the statement functionality is exactly right- columns can all be sorted and ordered- you can view debits only, or sort by payee name, for example. This makes accounting easy, but too many online services don't provide proper sorting.

From the balances or statements screens you can directly pay bills, transfer funds, set up standing orders, schedule payments, view or cancel your direct debits: all the usual functions you'd expect. The design is crisp and clear, and everything operates in a simple, step-by-step fashion. You won't get lost. (Egg and Cahoot are also big on simple design, by the way).

Finally, one sexy aspect of First Direct Internet Banking is the text message updates. You can schedule yourself a mini-statement each week; or get a message when your account reaches a certain level. That doesn't necessarily mean a low level- you might for example ask to know when you've been paid, so you can pop out for an expensive meal. It's free, and it saves you a phone call.

All in all, First Direct is thoroughly competent- as well it should be after being first to market with direct banking. Over 40% of First Direct users bank electronically- testament partly to the easy system, but equally to the nice people they have on the phone.