Major bank with 1.5 million customers axes popular service 'after 25 years'

A major bank with 1.5million customers has axed a key service after 25 years. First Direct, a subsidiary of HSBC, is scrapping its text message banking service, and is asking customers to use its online and telephone banking services instead.

The bank, which operates without any physical branches, says account holders will no longer be able to receive text notifications about their current account balance. They will also stop receiving "mini-statements" via SMS, it has confirmed today.

The services will be axed from Saturday, August 10. A spokesperson for First Direct said: "We are removing text message banking services from August 10 for our customers that are registered for online or mobile banking.

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"This service remains in place for those who aren't. There's lots of other ways for customers to access information about their account. Push notifications are now available to all customers through mobile and online banking, providing detailed and up-to-date information about their balance and transactions in real-time."

Customers will no longer receive texts displaying their current account balance but the bank says there are 'lots of other ways' that users can stay up to date. According to the bank, it will still use automated text messages for some reasons, such as if you go overdrawn on your account, or if the Bank of England base rate changes and you have a mortgage account.

One customer replied: "Have banked with FD for more years than I can remember and have never activated this feature." A second said: "Hardly anyone needs a txt to give their balance now when they can just log into the app."

"Oh dear! that might drop their rating banking levels down in the mind of customers - what are they thinking?" a third asked. "I bet the majority never even used it," another said.