If you're a Barclays current account holder and haven't yet signed up to its Blue Rewards scheme, join by 31 Jan 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. Meanwhile, Co-op Bank's also launched a new reward scheme which can pay at least 48/year.

These aren't best buys neither scheme is 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 150 for doing so). But if you do have a Barclays or Co-op account and are planning to keep it, these reward schemes are no-brainers.

Both schemes actually allow you to earn even more if you jump through certain hoops. With Barclays you can get up to 156/year (172 in the first year with the boost) if you hold additional financial products, while with Co-op, using your debit card could boost your total earnings to 66/year.

Martin Lewis
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Barclays doubles rewards for a month

The Barclays* 'Blue Rewards' programme launched last April 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 normally 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 around 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.

Those who sign up to Blue Rewards through Barclays' app or online by 31 January 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. Barclays says it doesn't tax its rewards, but customers should check if they need to declare anything as income tax.

Bank with Barclays or Co-op? Get at least 48/year free as banks boost rewards
Bank with Barclays or Co-op? Get at least 48/year free as banks boost rewards

Barclays won't tell us exactly how many of its existing customers can get the double rewards but the bank says "a considerable number... who already qualify for Barclays Blue Rewards have yet to take it up". See the New Blue Rewards scheme MSE news story for more details on how the programme works.

Co-op Bank launches reward scheme

Meanwhile Co-op Bank has just launched its own new reward scheme called Everyday Rewards, which will allow customers with any of its standard current accounts to earn up to 5.50/month.

Unlike Barclays Blue Rewards, there is no monthly fee to participate in the scheme. It'll automatically pay you 4 each month you:

  • Pay in 800 (again, that's equivalent to an annual pre-tax salary of around 9,800).
  • Stay in credit or within any agreed overdraft.
  • Receive paperless statements.
  • Log in to online banking or the mobile app at least once.
  • Pay at least four direct debits.

You can also earn 5p every time you use your debit card, up to a max of 1.50/month.

You'll be eligible to earn rewards if you have a Current Account, Current Account Plus, Privilege Account and Privilege Premier Account, though youll have to nominate an account over the phone (call 03457 212 212) or in branch before you start earning rewards.

Customers who qualify for rewards will get a monthly email with a summary of the amount earned, and you can choose to receive the money into your Co-op account, or donate it to one of five charities: Amnesty International, Hospice UK, Oxfam, Refuge or The Woodland Trust.

The 4 payment is made net of basic rate tax, so if you're a higher or additional rate taxpayer, you may have to pay extra tax on it. However, the extra money you earn from debit card payments isn't taxed, as it's classed as cashback.

How do these compare with other current account reward schemes?

Both schemes detailed above are worth joining if you already have an account with Barclays or Co-op Bank, but there are better incentives out there if you want to switch accounts.

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 the Barclays and Co-op schemes compare 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)
Barclays Bank* None Up to 13/mth or 156/yr reward 800 Two direct debits Up to 156 (after fee) (ii)
Co-op Bank None Up to 5.50/mth or 66/yr reward 800 Four direct debits Up to 66
Clydesdale Bank* 150 2% up to 3,000 1,000 Two direct debits 48
First Direct* 150 None 1,000 None None
Halifax* 100 5/mth (after tax) 750 Two direct debits 60
HSBC* 120 None 500 None None
Club Lloyds* None 4% up to 5k (iii) 1,500 Two direct debits 157
M&S* 100 gift card 10/mth for a year 1,000 Two direct debits 120 gift card
Nationwide* None 5% up to 2,500 for 12 months (iv) 1,000 None 98 (1st yr only)
Santander* (v) None 3% on 3k-20k (vi). Plus up to 3% cashback on certain bills 500 Two direct debits 413 (after fee)
TSB* 100 5% up to 2,000, plus 5% cashback on 100 contactless spend each month 500 Two direct debits 138 (vii)

(i) Approx gross reward you'd earn in a year after basic rate tax if you were to hold the max balance. (ii) After 3/mth fee. Barclays doesn't tax the rewards, but customers should check if they need to declare anything as income tax. (iii) 1% under 2,000, 2% on 2k-3,999.99, 4% on 4k-5k. (iv) 1% after year one. (v) Santander's 123 account has a 5/mth fee. (vi) 1% on 1k-1,999.99, 2% on 2k-2,999.99. (vii) 78 from interest plus 60 (tax free) from cashback.

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