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Barclays customer? Most can make an easy £36/yr+ with Blue Rewards – but you now need to register for online or app banking

Barclays current account customers can get £36/year+ by opting into its Blue Rewards loyalty scheme – but if you're already signed up, you'll now need to be registered for online or app banking by 3 August to stay a member.

Below we explain what Blue Rewards is and how it works, plus what's changing. For more on the top pick current accounts, see our Best Bank Accounts guide.

You can get an extra £36/yr+ with Blue Rewards

Blue Rewards is an optional add-on to Barclays current accounts that launched in 2015 and pays at least £7/month to customers who meet certain conditions – though in reality that perk falls to £3/mth (£36/yr) once you factor in the £4/mth Rewards fee. You just need to ensure you:

  • Pay in at least £800/mth 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/mth, which means you'd end up with a 50p/mth loss after the monthly fee.)

You can also earn more monthly cash on top if you're a Blue Rewards member holding other Barclays products:

  • An extra £5/mth if you have a Barclays mortgage.
  • 3% cashback on your total annual premium if you have Barclays home insurance, divided by 12 and paid monthly.
  • An extra £1/mth if you have a Barclays personal loan.
  • An extra £1.50/mth for the first 12 months after you take out a Barclays life insurance product, or £5/mth if you add critical illness cover.

How to sign up – most current account holders can, though some are excluded

As long as you've got a suitable Barclays current account, you can use it for Blue Rewards. But this excludes Barclays Basic, Young Person's, BarclayPlus, Foreign Currency Accounts, non-personal Wealth and Barclays Business Accounts. For joint accounts, only one account holder can use that account for Blue Rewards. For the full criteria and T&Cs, see Barclays' website.

You can sign up to the scheme either via the app or through online banking - here's how:

To sign up through the Barclays app:

  1. Log into the Barclays app.
  2. Tap on ‘Quick links’, then ‘Your Rewards'.
  3. Tap ‘Explore Barclays Blue Rewards’.
  4. Select the current account you would like to link to Blue Rewards and follow the steps, including confirming your email address and accepting the terms and conditions.
  5. Finally, tap ‘Join Barclays Blue Rewards’.

To sign up through online banking:

  1. Log into online banking.
  2. Click ‘Rewards’, then ‘Start earning rewards’ in the top menu.
  3. Click ‘Switch it on’ or ‘Join Barclays Blue Rewards’.
  4. Select the current account you would like to link to Blue Rewards and follow the steps, including confirming your email address and accepting the terms and conditions.
  5. Click ‘Submit’ to complete your registration.

Existing Blue Rewards members must now register for online or app banking

Monthly cash earned by Blue Rewards members is paid directly into your Blue Rewards wallet, and it's always been a requirement to be registered for either Barclays' online banking service or its app to manage this and transfer money to your linked Barclays current account.

However, those members who've never viewed or accessed their virtual wallet because they haven't signed up to online or app banking must now do so before 3 August or their Rewards membership may be cancelled. (This doesn't impact new members, as they can only sign up via online or app banking anyway.) Follow the steps on Barclays' website to register for either online banking or the Barclays app.

If you fail to do so, your membership may be cancelled, though you'll still be able to use your linked current account as normal. If your membership is cancelled, you won't lose any Rewards earnings you've already accumulated, as these will either be transferred automatically into your linked current account or you'll be sent a cheque in the post. You'll be given two month's notice of this happening.

Barclays wouldn't tell us how many existing customers are affected by the new online or app banking requirements, other than saying it was a "very small number". The bank has 17 million UK current account customers.

You can no longer earn cashback on purchases from 22 June

Separately, Barclays is also axing its cashback scheme for purchases from 22 June 2021 for both regular current account customers and Blue Rewards members.

Currently, all Barclays current account users who are registered for online banking or the Barclays app have free access to its online cashback portal. This lets you earn up to 10% cashback when shopping online or via the app at certain retailers, which in the past has included B&Q, Currys and Waitrose. Meanwhile, Blue Rewards members can get an additional 1% cashback on top.

Barclays' cashback offering has never been a major selling point of its current accounts though. Popular cashback sites such as Quidco* and TopCashback* typically offer a greater choice of retailers and often feature higher rates of cashback. For a full breakdown and more options, see our Top Cashback Sites guide.

Barclays may not be best for you – and other banks pay up to £100

Bank accounts don't always have the best deals on mortgages, insurance and personal loans, so it's not necessarily worth getting them just for schemes such as Blue Rewards – always do a comparison before you take out insurance, a mortgage or a loan to ensure you're getting the best deal. See our Mortgage Best BuysInsurance guides and Cheap Personal Loans guide for more info.

With the basic level of Barclays Blue Rewards you'll also only earn a minimum of £36/yr, but you can currently get more cash than that elsewhere:

  • First Direct pays new switchers a £100 cash bonus if you pay in £1,000+ within three months.

  • Virgin Money gives you 12 bottles of wine (valued at £138), plus £50 to charity and 2.02% interest on up to £1,000. You just need to complete a switch (including at least two direct debits), download and register for the mobile banking app, and add £1,000 to the linked savings account (and keep it there until you get your Virgin Wines code).

Check our Best Bank Accounts guide for a full list of the top current accounts, and other rewards and switching incentives on offer.

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