Barclays current account customers who bank online or via the bank's app can sign up to its Blue Rewards scheme, where you pay £3/month but get at least £7/month back.
Update: While this article was published in April 2015, the information in it has been checked and is correct as of 10 January 2017.
It's not a reason to switch to it, but if you're one of its five to six million current account customers, it's a winner. See below for more on the fees, and also see our Best Bank Accounts guide for more info on accounts that pay up to 5% interest, give a £150 switching bonus, or offer free travel insurance.
The new "Barclays Blue Rewards" programme launched in April 2015. However to get the add-on scheme, which is available to new and existing current account customers, you'll have to pay at least £800/month into your bank account, as well as a £3/month fee. This effectively means the £7/month cash bonus is reduced to £4/month.
It's available for customers who dip into both an arranged and unarranged overdraft. Plus those with a Barclays current account and a Barclays mortgage and/or who take out or renew their home insurance will earn an additional cash bonus of £5 and £3 respectively.
To sign up, Barclays mobile app users will need to update their app to the latest version. It's free to download and is available for iPhone, Android, Windows 8 and Blackberry, though excludes Z10/Q10. They'll then see a 'rewards' icon with the option to sign up.
Barclays online banking customers meanwhile, will see "Barclays Blue Rewards" when they log in online. They will then have the option of signing up to the scheme.
The provider says, "Barclays Blue Rewards offers the best monthly rewards for more average UK-salary workers than any other provider." But MoneySavingExpert.com has done its own comparison. See below.
Our view – is Barclays' rewards deal any good?
Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com says: "Barclays' new deal is certainly better than nothing. And for those existing Barclays banking customers who can't or won't switch, and who pay at least £800 a month into their account, it's a no-brainer.
"Just sign up, pay your £3 a month, get £7 a month back, and you're getting on for being £50 a year better off.
"Yet if you're willing to switch – which you should be – it's much easier than it used to be with the seven day switching process. There's a red hot bank account market out there – you can get up to £150 instant free cash with a switching bribe, or 5% interest on savings. (See Top Bank Accounts.)
"Having crunched the numbers, this deal often wins if you have a Barclays home insurance or mortgage as well. Otherwise compared to the whole of the market this is only competitive for those who go into their authorised overdraft buffer each month, or who go overdrawn for no more than a day or so (it charges between 75p and £3 a day).
"This is because the nearest competitor Halifax, which pays a flat £3 a month, only does so if you're in credit. So if you nip into your overdraft Barclays would still pay, but Halifax wouldn't. Yet overall there are cheaper overdrafts than Barclays available, so if you are overdrawn more regularly it'd be cheaper to bank elsewhere."
How does it compare with other current account reward schemes?
These days there are many current account deals to choose from. But the two key incentives tend to be either a switching bonus or in-credit interest.
You need to work out which deal is best for you. Our table below shows how Barclays' new reward scheme for in-credit current account holders compares with our best buys:
Best bank accounts compared
|Current account||Switching bonus||In-credit interest (AER) or reward||Min monthly income/pay-in amount||Min standing orders/direct debits||Max rewards/year (ii)|
|Barclays Bank (i)||None||Up to £13/month or £156/year reward||£800||Two direct debits||Up to £156/year|
|First Direct*||£125||None||£1,000||None, but you need to switch to get the bonus||None|
|HSBC Advance*||£150||Extra £50 if you stay for a year||£1,750||Two direct debits or standing orders||£200|
|Co-op Bank||£110||Up to £5.50/mth with its Everyday Rewards scheme||None (£800 for ongoing rewards)||Four direct debits||£176|
|Halifax||£100||£3/month (after tax)||£750||Two direct debits||£136|
|M&S Bank*||£50 gift card||£5/mth gift card for 24 months||None (£1,000 for ongoing rewards)||Two direct debits||£110 gift card|
|Santander* (iii)||None||1.5% on up to £20k. Plus up to 3% cashback on some bills||£500||Two direct debits||£238 (after fee)|
|Bank of Scotland||None||Up to 3% on up to £5k (iv)||£1,000||Two direct debits||£148|
|Nationwide||None||5% on up to £2.5k for 12mths (v)||£1,000||None||£122 (first year only)|
|TSB*||None||3% on up to £1.5k, + 5% contactless cashback on up-to-£100 spend each month till 30 Sep 17||£500||None||£90|
|Tesco Bank||None||3% on up to £3k||None||None||£89|
|Club Lloyds||None||2% on up to £5k||£1,500||Two direct debits||£99|
(i) Blue Rewards has a £4/mth fee. (ii) Approx interest or rewards you'd earn in the first year before any tax, if you were to hold the max balance. (iii) Santander's 123 account has a £5/month fee. (iv) 1.5% under £1,000, 2% on £1k-£2,999.99, 3% on £3k-£5k (v) 1% after year one.
What about if you're overdrawn?
If you regularly dip into an overdraft or go into an unauthorised overdraft, here are the charges you'll face:
Best bank accounts compared
|Current account||Arranged overdraft||Unarranged overdraft|
|Barclays Bank||£15 buffer, then up to £1k, 75p/day; up to £2k, £1.50/day; over £2k, £3/day||No unarranged overdraft, but its 'Emergency Borrowing' feature has a £15 buffer, then is £5/day (max £35/mth – if you stay in Emergency Borrowing for more than 7 days, you'll be charged the arranged overdraft fees for any further days). £8 unpaid item fee (max one/day). You'll only pay one fee per day, whichever is highest.|
|First Direct*||0% on up to £250, 15.9% EAR above that||£10 buffer then £5/day (max £80/mth) plus 15.9% EAR|
|HSBC Advance*||0% for the first six months, then 17.9% EAR||£10 buffer, then 17.9% EAR interest, plus £5/day charge each day you're overdrawn (max £80/month)|
|Co-op Bank||18.9% EAR||£20 buffer, then £10/month service charge. 18.9% EAR interest, plus £10/day charge each day your overdrawn balance increases. (Max charges of £60 per quarter.)|
|Halifax||£50 buffer, then charges are tiered: up to £2k, £1/day; £2k-£2,999, £2/day; over £3k, £3/day||£5/day|
|M&S Bank*||0% on up to £100, 15.9% EAR interest above that||£50 buffer, 15.9% EAR interest. M&S Bank only allows you to go £50 over your overdraft limit.|
|Santander*||0% for four months after switching. Then, £12 buffer and £1/day below £2k, £2/day from £2k-£2,999.99 and £3/day over £3k.||£12 buffer then £6/day (max £95/mth)|
|Bank of Scotland||£25 buffer, then 19.89% EAR + £6/mth usage fee||£10 buffer, then 19.89% EAR with charges of £5/day between £10 and £25 over limit, £10/day for £25+ (max £80/mth); £10 unpaid item fee (max three/day)|
|Nationwide||Year one: 0%; years two+: £10 buffer, then 50p/day||£10 buffer, then £5/day (max £60/mth), £5 paid/unpaid item fee (max £35/mth). Total unarranged fees capped at £95/month.|
|TSB*||Up to £25 fee free, then 19.94% EAR + £6/mth usage fee||19.94% EAR. There's a £10 buffer, then £5/day under £25, £10/day for £25+ (max £80/mth); £10 unpaid item fees (max three/day).|
|Tesco Bank||18.9% EAR||18.9% EAR; £5 paid item fee; £5 unpaid item fee (max £50 per statement)|
|Club Lloyds||Up to £100 fee free, then 19.89% EAR + £6/mth fee||£10 buffer, then 19.89% EAR interest + £5/day under £25, £10/day for £25+ (max £80/mth); £10 unpaid item fee (max three/day) + £6/mth fee|
How good is Barclays' customer service?
In MoneySavingExpert's latest biannual banking poll where we ask readers to rate their bank's customer service, Barclays got the wooden spoon as 22% rated it 'poor' while 42% rated it 'great'. Update: In the latest poll in August 2016, Barclays had improved its service slightly, and sits in last-but-one place.
In comparison, First Direct, which came top, received a 91% 'great' rating with only 3% rating it as 'poor'.
How do I qualify for the deal?
To get the deal you must meet the following criteria:
- Deposit at least £800/month into a Barclays current account. This can be any current account other than the following: Barclays Cash Card, Young Person's, BarclaysPlus, Wealth and Foreign Currency, and Business Accounts.
- Be signed up to online banking or the Barclays mobile banking app.
- Pay a £3/month fee, which will be debited from your current account.
How do the rewards work?
The maximum you can earn in rewards is £13/month (£156/year) once the £3/month fee has been taken into account. However to earn this you need to be a Barclays current account, mortgage, home insurance and loan customer, and pay out two direct debits each month.
If you're only a mortgage customer, only an insurance customer or only a Barclays loan customer, you can't get the deal; you must be a current account customer too and also bank online or via the app.
You receive a £3.50 payment for each of your first two direct debit payments per month, so as long as you pay out two direct debits per month:
- Barclays current account customers only: Will receive a £7/month (£4/month after the £3 fee is taken) cash reward.
- Barclays current account AND mortgage customers: Existing and new mortgage customers will receive a £12/month (£9/month after the £3 fee is taken) cash reward for the term of the mortgage.
- Barclays current account AND home insurance customers: Existing insurance customers who renew their policy/take out a new policy with Barclays, and new home insurance customers (some exclusions apply) will receive £10/month (£7/month after the £3 fee is taken).
- Barclays current account, mortgage AND home insurance customers: Existing and new insurance customers who renew their existing policy/take out a new policy with Barclays (some exclusions apply) and have a residential mortgage will receive £15/month (£12/month after the £3 fee is taken into account).
- SmartSpend: In addition to cash, customers can also earn up to 7% when shopping through Barclays online at select retailers, including Boots, Gap, Laura Ashley, Expedia and Topman. SmartSpend is available to non-Blue Rewards customers, but they'll earn 1% less cashback than reward customers.
- Barclays current account AND loan customers: Since this story was published, Barclays has added a 'loan reward' to its scheme which gives £1/mth back (there's no minimum loan amount). It's only valid on one loan at any one time, provided that customers keep up loan repayments. These customers will receive £8/month (£5/month after the £3 fee is taken).
How can I spend the cashback I earn?
Barclays says cashback will be paid into a separate digital rewards wallet so customers can see exactly how much money they're earning each month. You can then transfer this cash into any of your Barclays accounts, where you can spend it as you wish.