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Barclays to hike Blue Rewards fee to £4/mth

Barclays will increase the cost of its Blue Rewards scheme from £3 to £4 per month this summer, can reveal.

The Blue Rewards scheme is an add-on to Barclays current accounts which pays out up to £7 per month if you meet certain criteria, with more rewards available if you hold products such as your mortgage or insurance with Barclays. And some will earn even more than that if they switched an account to Barclays when it was running a promo offering double rewards for a year.

It currently costs £3 per month, but this will be increasing to £4 from 1 July 2019 for both Everyday and Premier accounts. As the fee is paid in arrears, customers will see increased payments from 2 August - although if you're currently within the term of a switcher offer, you'll be given a refund so that your fee will effectively stay £3/month until the end of your offer period.

The effect of the fee hike will be to cut the annual 'profit' the scheme offers – so someone earning £7/mth from the scheme will see their annual net earnings drop from £48 to £36.

Barclays says it's planning to add more benefits to the Blue Rewards scheme "soon", though it hasn't yet confirmed what these will be. It says it's in the process of writing to customers to tell them about the changes, and that all customers will have at least two months' notice of the increase.

For more info on current accounts which offer rewards, see our Best Bank Accounts guide.

How does Barclays Blue Rewards work?

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 fee (currently £3/month, rising to £4/month from 1 July).
  • Pay in at least £800 to your account (that's equivalent to an annual pre-tax salary of about £10,000).
  • Have at least two direct debits going out of your account. If you only have one direct debit going out, you'll get a reward of £3.50. 

If you have certain Barclays products alongside your current account, you could also earn:

  • An extra £5/month if you have a Barclays mortgage. 
  • An extra £1/month if you have Barclays building or contents insurance, or £3/month if you have Barclays combined building and contents insurance.
  • An extra £1/month if you have a Barclays personal loan.
  • An extra £1.50/month for the first 12 months after you take out a Barclays life insurance product, or £5/month if you add critical illness cover.
  • An extra £1/month for every month you spend on a Barclaycard Platinum card, for up to 24 months. 

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 or loan to ensure you're getting the best deal.

Blue Rewards also gives you an additional 1% cashback at various retailers such as Boots, B&Q and Waitrose, on top of Barclays' usual cashback offers – though it's always worth checking cashback sites too.

Rewards you earn build up in your 'rewards wallet' and you can transfer the money into any of your Barclays accounts whenever you like.

Is it still worth it?

If you already pay £800 or more into a Barclays current account and pay out at least two direct debits each month, it's still worth opting for the Blue Rewards add-on, as you'll still be earning money on it even if the profit has dropped. 

However, while it may be worth getting Blue Rewards if you're already a Barclays customer (and particularly if you have other Barclays products alongside a current account), it's unlikely to be worth switching to Barclays just for these rewards. Check our Best Bank Accounts guide for a full list of the top current accounts, and rewards and switch incentives on offer.

It's also worth noting that if you only have one direct debit set up, and don't have any of the other reward products such as mortgages or insurance, you'll effectively be paying extra if you add Blue Rewards. This is because the reward for customers with one direct debit and no other products is only £3.50/month – which won't cover the fee once it increases to £4/month. So if you currently only have one direct debit, either add another or ditch the scheme.

What does Barclays say?

A Barclays spokesperson said: "Since we launched Barclays Blue Rewards four years ago, we've added new cash rewards and have plans for more benefits soon. In view of this, we are changing the price from £3 to £4 a month."

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