First Direct rolls out Bud-powered spending data as app overhaul nears

By Oliver Smith on Monday 10 May 2021

Digital Banking

Transaction categorisation and merchant identification are a long time coming.

First Direct rolls out Bud-powered spending data as app overhaul nears
Image source: First Direct.

Some 18 months after HSBC announced an overhaul of the First Direct banking app, the first features of that planned update have started to roll out.

Last week First Direct’s head of innovation and partnerships Saira Khan revealed on LinkedIn that transaction categorisation and merchant identification have been launched, powered by open banking data provider Bud.

“It provides customers valuable insight into their spending and provides the business with a set of flexible and robust insights to underpin a suite of exciting new features scheduled for release later this year,” she wrote.

To start off with, transactions will be tagged into one of over 100 categories, with Bud’s identification service being used to recognise around 3,000 UK merchants at launch.

This appears to be the first step in the broader overhaul of First Direct, with features including an in-app marketplace and personalised recommendations yet to arrive.

“This is a key step to launching a brand [new] First Direct mobile app which aims to ’challenge the challengers’ and promote the Financial Wellness of [First Direct’s] customers,” added Khan.

In the last few months Bud has signed several significant partnerships, including with New Zealand’s largest bank ANZ and with credit scoring app Credit Karma.

In 2019 HSBC signed a three-year global partnership with Bud, that came after the bank took part in a $20m funding round for the fintech.

Sign up for our newsletters

Your daily 7am download of all things alternative finance and fintech.

Fintech and alternative finance headlines with an exclusive Editor's Note each week. Delivered Monday at midday.

AltFi's new weekly US newsletter breaking down the ins and outs of America's burgeoning fintech sector. Delivered Monday 9am EST/ 6am PST.