First Direct has become the latest bank to offer cashback incentives when you use its credit or debit cards at selected retailers – just a month after sister bank HSBC launched an identical scheme.

Both cashback schemes, launched in partnership with Visa, give customers who sign up tailored offers at retailers such as Boots, H&M, Lidl and Esso.

But while it's worth registering for the schemes if you're already an HSBC or First Direct customer and will spend at the retailers, don't see the incentives as a reason to switch bank account.

Other banks and building societies such as Halifax, Lloyds, Nationwide and Santander already offer similar cashback schemes. See our Best Bank Accounts, Cashback Credit Cards and Credit Card Rewards guides to find the best deals for you.

How to join First Direct and HSBC's cashback schemes

All First Direct and HSBC Visa debit and credit card customers can join the schemes. With either bank, you can register up to five cards to earn cashback.

First Direct are currently sending out email invitations, but anyone eligible can sign up now. HSBC customers have been able to register since 25 July.

Here's how to sign up:

  1. Click on 'Register now' on the First Direct Visa Offers or HSBC Visa Offers page and enter your email address.
  2. Follow the link in the activation email sent to you.
  3. Create an account by giving your card number, a new password and your location.

If you're a customer with both banks, you'll need to sign up with each to get cashback with both. If you want to add multiple cards, you can do so through the 'My Account' section once logged in.

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What can I earn cashback on?

Once you've signed up, you can view the cashback offers available to you online at Visa Offers. First Direct says that currently its offers are "broadly generic" as the scheme is new, but in due course you're likely to be targeted with specific offers based on your spending habits.

The offers will be for a percentage off at a shop or a fixed amount back. When we tried it, offers available to First Direct and HSBC customers included:

  • £5 back on a £30+ Boots spend
  • £10 back on a £40+ Lidl spend
  • 10% back online at Holland & Barrett
  • £10 back on a £40+ H&M spend

Most offers – including the above – can be used only once, though the T&Cs will let you know if this changes.

How do I earn cashback?

To use a cashback offer you'll need to 'activate' it. You can do this in two ways:

  • Viewing the offers online. As long as you've seen it listed in your Visa Offers account, even if you haven't clicked on the full deal to check the T&Cs, it'll be activated.
  • Receiving the offers in an email. If you subscribe for email updates, a round-up of some of your available offers will be emailed to you weekly. The featured offers will be activated automatically, even if you don't open the email.

Once an offer is activated, you'll automatically get it when you use your card in a high street store or on a retailer's website. Cashback will then be automatically credited to the account registered to your card, and should be paid within five working days of the spend.

Got an HSBC or First Direct card? You can now get cashback at Boots, Esso and more
First Direct and HSBC are offering cashback incentives when you use their credit or debit cards at certain retailers

I'm not a First Direct or HSBC customer – is it worth switching to either?

While these cashback incentives are a nice extra bonus and worth signing up for if you're already an HSBC or First Direct customer, don't see them as a reason to switch bank or credit card.

You can earn cashback on everything you buy – up to 5% back in the first three months and up to 1.25% after, depending on how you spend – with our top-pick cashback cards.

To have a First Direct credit or debit card, you'll need to have its 1st Account. It's not worth switching to this purely for the new cashback scheme, but First Direct is one of our top-pick banks to switch to anyway as it offers switchers £100, a linked 5% regular saver and has won every customer service poll we've done.

HSBC has several current accounts offering Visa debit cards, but the only ones which make it into our best buys are its Student Account and the Premier Account – again, it's probably not worth switching to either purely for the new cashback scheme.

Which account is best for you depends on what you're looking for. For full First Direct info, plus other account options offering switching incentives or interest of up to 5% on small amounts, see our Best Bank Accounts guide.

You can also get cashback with Visa credit cards with First Direct and HSBC. Neither offers any cards that make it into our best buys at the moment though, and they're not worth getting just for the cashback available.

Which other banks offer cashback?

Similar options from other banks that offer cashback with selected retailers include:

  • Nationwide's Simply Rewards
  • Halifax's Cashback Extras
  • Lloyds and Bank of Scotland's Everyday Offers
  • Santander's Retailer Offers
  • Barclays' Blue Rewards

For full info on all of our top picks, plus other accounts offering direct debit cashback or other reward schemes, see our Best Bank Accounts guide.

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