A First Direct thread

There has been a never-ending wait for FD customers for instant notifications to be turned on. More concerning there have been continually moving goalposts over what is the past two years+, with frequent promises on X that they will launch in the coming months only for this not to happen.

It comes on top of widely reported exploiting of their new customer incentives through creating multiple profiles with them and zero visible investment in new products, services or their channels (App) when others have done much.

Should existing customers be worried their technology and core banking platform is about to fall over, or are they still merely a branding on HSBC technology. Experience around notifications suggests the latter is no longer true.

Advice welcome.

My understanding is that they run on a separate, duplicate, instance of HSBC’s technology - which has largely been updated in parallel with the primary brand, although is usually behind in new features.

There’s nothing to suggest that security is not kept up to date, and if you look at First Direct’s website you will see that their number of reported security incidents per year is generally low (as is HSBC’s).

The general feeling is more that HSBC itself sort of competes with First Direct for attention/budget for new features, internally, and usually wins out over its little brother. So more IT time and money is invested in HSBC for new features. You would think that the budget for security and maintenance is already locked-in and not so much up for discussion.

When they first launched under Midland, they used bespoke technology but I think that was long-ago replaced with technology integrated into HSBC core systems.


I’m not sure how you get from failure (to date) to follow through on plans for transaction notifications, and reports of people exploiting joining incentives, to a concern that their core banking platform might be about to fall over.


Just a general worry that under-investment would be across the board, but perhaps it is a stretch and no reason for concern.

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I think that is a bit of a stretch.

Maintenance and security updates will be factored in as part of the general running costs of a bank/brand.

Simply having a freeze on that, as part of cutting costs, wouldn’t be permitted by regulators and would be caught as part of their various oversight initiatives.


Agree with previous contributions. HSBC Group are among the most conservative in terms of IT, in my experience.

Sometimes as a user that’s frustrating, but I’m not sure a good argument can be made that it’s a sign that they’re vulnerable in terms of security.


Yes, and the fact they apply so many passwords and restrictions arguably makes them more secure than most.

First Direct don’t use SMS for 2 factor authentication, preferring the Digital Secure Key, and they only allow that on a single device. Even when/if they expand that capability, it will still be limited to a set number of devices. So their online banking is pretty secure, especially compared to competitors.

HSBC’s global platform is also used across the world, so you would think it must be pretty secure otherwise we would have heard of problems by now.


I don’t think First Direct have ever given a firm date on when notifications would be available?

Widely reported where? I’ve seen one user on one forum saying they managed to set up multiple profiles with FD. I’ve seen a lot more multiple profile issues with other banks

No, the HSBC Group spend billions globally on IT… and I see the FD app went to v5 this year after spending a long time at v4.xx

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Apologies. I can see my post caused annoyance, which was not my intention. It was just an innocent - and perhaps naive - worry. Sorry again.


No need to apologise !


I agree, TSB are the absolute worst for this!

My first account with them was opened prior to the 2018 meltdown, and new accounts after that never seemed to match my online banking profile automatically. I finally spoke to somebody on telephone banking who sorted it out for me, and it seems to work now, but that shouldn’t have been necessary.

Even then, they had to “fix” it by re-inputting my address as if I had moved when I hadn’t, and “updating” my phone numbers, name, etc. This caused a need to re-register for the app and prevented any use of my debit cards online for a few days. All hassle!

Yes, exactly!

I wonder if that is a significant back-end change to a new version of the HSBC platform?

Not annoyance from me - I was more worried about the fact that you seemed quite concerned. Hopefully you are reassured now! But there is no need to apologise, as @Recchan says.

Posts on any topic, especially related to banking in some way, are always welcome!

We aim to be a kind and constructive community here.

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Hi all. OP are you still wanting this deleted? @gmlondon

I see no reason that the conversation cannot continue but it’s up to you :slight_smile:

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Perhaps tag @gmlondon to make sure the OP sees it.

No annoyance on my part either @gmlondon ! It’s an interesting discussion even if the concern underlying it was unnecessary.

I vote don’t delete.

Exactly that. You (@gmlondon) raise some interesting points (and there’s no doubt FD are Marmite across the fintech fraternity).

The thread evolved nicely and I, for one, learned something. The conversation enriched the topic sufficiently to warrant it’s retention.

I’m blowed if I can recall the topic title. Maybe it could sit in the substantive FD thread…

One of our august number will assist.

Thanks for raising. :relieved:

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I agree with you there!

Personally, I’ve never been able to see what all the fuss is about - but then some people swear by them and say they couldn’t imagine banking anywhere else.

I’ve worked out it is probably to do with whether or not you ever phone them. I don’t, so I’m more likely to be irritated by their limited app than “wowed” by a friendly lady from Leeds!


I have two profiles with FD too.

This caused a glitch with my Halifax account, though it wasn’t intentional to create a second profile. Second profile was created because I could no longer use same username when i returned to bank with them. I still used same email and number, but when my card disappeared from the app years later, issue was arising from the two profiles apparently.


The thing is, you can understand two profiles happening by accident if you leave and then rejoin a bank.

But if you already have an account, haven’t left or changed literally any personal details at all, it shouldn’t happen. That was what kept happening to me at TSB.

Of course, it was made even worse by the fact that TSB don’t allow you to apply via Internet Banking for additional accounts (as most other banks do) so they actually default to a second profile and whether or not they manage to match your details to your existing profile is pot luck.

I have exactly this with TSB, funnily enough, at the moment!

I just can’t be bothered to contact them about it, honestly, because I don’t use card controls anyway.

I had to contact them because I check for the card details to use when paying off cards to meet the £500 requirement for the fiver. After that £500 spend the card goes on leave till the following month.

Same issue with FD, I left about more than a year ago but kept logged into the app. On coming back, I could not open an account in the app, went to browser and they kept redirecting me to the app. I just had to use a new username and that worked.

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I opened an additional account (alongside a still-open existing one) with First Direct using the app, but had to de-activate my Digital Security Key, delete the app and re-download. Then I could sign-up via the app as a “new customer” and, once my application was approved, log back in with my previous details and the account simply showed up.