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First Direct launches bank account iPhone app

Which? Money test drives the new First Direct app

First Direct

Online bank First Direct has launched an iPhone app allowing its customers to check balances, transfer funds between accounts and pay bills. Which? Money experts put it through its paces.

What the First Direct iPhone app does

  • Allows you to view account balances and your last 20 transactions
  • Make transfers between your First Direct accounts
  • Make payments to an existing person or organisation (ie someone you’ve paid before)

And what the First Direct app doesn’t do

  • Details of monthly charges, fees and interest
  • Sending and receiving secure messages
  • Setting up payments to a new person or organisation
  • Cancel or amend a payment you have set up

Our verdict of the First Direct iPhone app

Which? Principal Researcher Martyn Saville commented: ‘For everyday banking, the First Direct app pretty much does the job, allowing me to check my balances, transfer money between my accounts and pay bills, but it still has some major omissions.

‘The best aspect of the app is that it not only shows my current account balances, but also the credit limits on my credit card and my overdraft facility. If you’re out shopping and worried you might be about to go over your credit limit, this app could be a great way to avoid penalty charges or the in-store rejection of your card.

‘However, my biggest gripe about the app is that it doesn’t show annual interest rates. So while the credit card statements subsection shows a monthly interest rate, it doesn’t show a compounded annual APR, making it near-impossible to compare the deal with other cards. In other words, I know how much I can spend on the card, but not how much it will cost me in interest.

‘The position for my savings account is even worse, as the interest rate I’m earning isn’t shown anywhere. Again, I know how much I have in the account, but not what the interest rate is. Using the free Which? savings rate booster, I’ve discovered that First Direct are paying me just 0.25%, so it’s time to switch to a better account. Unfortunately, there’s no First Direct app for that.’

pound coins

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