If you're a Barclays current account holder and haven't yet signed up to its Blue Rewards scheme, join by 30 April and you'll get double rewards for the first month. This means you can earn at least £55 in your first year on the scheme.

This isn't a best buy, so isn't a reason to switch or even to stick with your account. In fact, you'd be better off switching to one of the top-pick best bank accounts (and you can get up to £110 plus up to £5.50/month for doing so).

But if you do have a Barclays account and are planning to keep it, this reward scheme is a no-brainer.

You can earn even more than £55/year if you jump through certain hoops, getting up to £156/year (£172 in the first year with the boost) after the £3 monthly fee if you hold additional financial products with Barclays.

How Barclays Blue Rewards works

The Barclays 'Blue Rewards' programme was launched in 2015 and is available to new and existing current account customers who bank online or via its app.

Once you're signed up to the scheme, you'll get a reward of £7 each month you:

  • Pay the £3/mth fee.
  • Pay in at least £800 to your account (that's equivalent to an annual pre-tax salary of about £9,800).
  • Have at least two direct debits going out of your account.

This means you can effectively earn a free £48/year – and you can earn more if you have certain Barclays products alongside your current account:

  • You'll get an extra £5/mth if you have a Barclays mortgage.
  • You'll get an extra £3/mth if you have Barclays home insurance.
  • You'll get an extra £1/mth if you have a Barclays personal loan.

Banks don't always have the best deals on the products above, so it's not necessarily worth getting them just for the rewards – always do a comparison before you take out a mortgage/insurance/loan to ensure you're getting the best deal.

Those who sign up to Blue Rewards through Barclays' app or online by Sunday 30 April will get paid double rewards for a month. That means you can earn up to £16 more in the first month – a total of £29 after the fee.

Even better, last November Barclays reclassified the rewards as 'cashback', so you no longer need to pay tax on what you earn.

Got a Barclays account? Sign up to its rewards NOW for a free £55 in a year (though switching's better)
You can earn even more than £55/year if you jump through certain hoops

How can I spend the cashback I earn?

Cashback is 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.

How does it compare with other current account reward schemes?

Barclays' Blue Rewards scheme is worth joining if you already have a current account with it, and especially if you have its mortgage too, but there are better incentives out there if you want to switch accounts and don't have other financial products with Barclays.

The two main perks tend to be a switching bonus or in-credit interest. You need to work out which deal is best for you. This table shows how the Barclays scheme 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/yr (i)
Bank of Scotland None 3% on £3k-£5k (dropping to 2% on up to £5k from June) £1,000 Two direct debits £107
Barclays Bank None Up to £13/mth or £156/yr reward £800 Two direct debits At least £48 (max £156) – after fee (ii)
Co-op Bank £110 Up to £5.50/mth or £66/yr reward £800 Four direct debits Up to £66
First Direct* £100 None £1,000 None None
Halifax £75 £3/mth £750 Two direct debits £60
M&S Bank* £50 gift card £5/mth for two years £1,000 Two direct debits £60 gift card
Nationwide None 5% on up to £2,500 for 12 months (iii) £1,000 None £98 (1st yr only)
Santander* (iv) None 1.5% on up to £20k. Plus up to 3% cashback on certain bills £500 Two direct debits £238 (after fee)
Tesco Bank None 3% on up to £3,000, guaranteed until Apr 2019 £750 Three direct debits £88
TSB* None 3% on up to £1,500, plus up to £10/mth until Jun 2018 (v) £500 Two direct debits £164 (vi)
(i) Approx gross reward you'd earn in a year if you were to hold the max balance. (ii) After £3/mth fee. (iii) 1% after year one. (iv) Santander's 123 account has a £5/mth fee. (v) £5/mth if you pay out two direct debits plus £5/mth if you use your debit card at least 20 times. (vi) £44 from interest plus £120 from rewards.