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First Direct doubles interest on regular saver to 7% – here's how to get the new rate

Money Savings. Unrecognizable black woman putting coin into ceramic piggy bank over yellow studio background, saving money for future, planning budget, cropped image with copy space, close up

First Direct is doubling the interest rate on its regular savings account from 3.5% to 7% on Thursday 1 December. It's the highest rate we've seen on this type of account since 2012. But there are a few catches – here's what you need to know.

See our Regular savings guide for more on how these accounts work. For more options, including up to 2.85% on easy-access and 4.6% on two-year fixes, see our Top savings accounts guide.

How First Direct's regular saver works

Here are the key need-to-knows:

  • You'll need to have a First Direct current account. If you already bank with First Direct, you can open the regular saver online* – apply now and you'll get the new rate from 1 December. If you're new to First Direct, the good news is it's currently paying newbies £175 to switch (see below for more on this).

  • The account lasts for a year from when you open it and the 7% rate is fixed for this period. Your interest will be paid in a lump sum when the account matures.

  • You can only deposit £25 to £300 a month. Your first payment will be taken from your First Direct current account when you open your account, followed by another 11 monthly payments which can only be made by standing order (First Direct will set this up for you).

  • You CAN'T skip months. To keep the account, you have to deposit at least £25 a month for the 12-month duration.

  • There are NO withdrawals allowed. You can access your money before the year is up, but you'll have to close the account. If you do so, you'll only get interest equivalent to First Direct's bog-standard easy-access account (which currently pays 0.5%).

Not got a First Direct current account? Get PAID £175 to switch

First Direct's currently offering newbies to its 1st Account* a free £175 to switch – so if you've been thinking about switching banks, now could be a great time, as you'll also get access to its 7% regular saver once your account's set up.

Plus, First Direct has a strong customer service reputation – it's been top or near-top of every service poll we've ever run. It also gives many an ongoing £250 0% overdraft.

To get the £175 free cash, you'll need to switch and pay in at least £1,000 within three months. You can only get the bonus if you're switching from a non-First Direct account; it can be an HSBC account, but only if the HSBC account was opened before January 2019. See First Direct switching info.

If you're not eligible for the offer, or just don't like the look of it, you can get even more in upfront switching cash elsewhere: HSBC currently offers switchers a free £200 and its linked regular saver pays 5% on up to £250 a month. See our Best bank accounts guide for details.

Already got a First Direct regular saver? You'll get the new rate automatically

If you have an existing First Direct regular saver, your rate will increase to 7% from 1 December 2022. You don't need to do anything as the rate rise will be applied to your account automatically. 

The interest won't be backdated – the higher rate will only apply from 1 December until the end of your account's term. Once it matures, you can open another one (though check it's still a good deal at the time).

How the 7% interest rate compares

The table below shows the interest earned after a year with First Direct's regular saver, assuming you deposit the maximum of £300 a month, compared to the interest you could earn from other top accounts.

First Direct regular saver vs other top savings

Product Interest earned on £3,600 in savings after one year

Top linked accounts

You need the bank's current account to open these

First Direct* regular saver
(7% on £25-£300/mth for 1yr)
£135
Club Lloyds regular saver
(5.25% on £25-£400/mth for 1yr)
£102
Barclays 'Rainy Day' easy-access
(5.12% on up to £5,000)
£184 (if you deposit a £3,600 lump sum)

Top open-to-all accounts

Anyone can get these

Coventry Building Society easy-access
(2.85% on up to £250,000)
£103 (if you deposit a £3,600 lump sum)
Hampshire Trust Bank one-year fix
(4.3% on up to £250,000)
£155 (if you deposit a £3,600 lump sum)
Monmouthshire BS regular saver
(5.5% on up to £200/mth for 1yr)
+
Principality BS regular saver
(5% on up to £125/mth for 1yr)
£71 + £32 = £103

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