The Two Minute Review
If you want a big name with lots of branches then Barclays could be the way to go. However the account features, rewards and app are all uninspiring.
- 🏦 Lots of branches.
- 🙂 Strong brand and deposits are FSCS protected.
- ☎️ Middle of the pack for customer service.
- 📱 App is lagging behind more modern rivals both in terms of features and design.
- 💸 Premium account is ridiculously exclusive.
Ranked #16 of 25 personal current accounts in the UK.
What The Experts Say
“Barclays have received such negative reviews, however do bear in mind that with such a big bank, this is inevitable.”
What Users Say
Each year the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) commissions an independent report that asks a thousand customers of each of the major banks in the UK how they feel about various aspects of the service they are getting. The results put Barclays in 6th position.
Click to see the full picture.
Barclays has a Trustpilot rating of 1.5 but here at The Grade we like to dig a bit further.
When you exclude reviews the company has itself invited and look just at organic reviews, the average score is actually 1.32. In terms of organic Trustpilot rating this means Barclays is number 21 out of the 25 personal banks/current accounts we review.
At the last check, Smart Money People had collected 4,438 reviews which gave Barclays an average score of 4.7 out of 5.
Barclays in a Nutshell?
Barclays Bank is a British multinational investment bank and financial services company. It was founded in 1690 in London and has grown to become one of the largest banks in the world, with operations in over 40 countries.
In the UK, it is known as one of the “big four” banks with 1,600 branches and a huge 24 million customers. When it comes to British banking, they don’t get bigger than this.
Opening a Barclays Account
You can open an account via Barclay’s website or app. You will need:
- ID (Passport, driving licence or biometric residence card).
- Proof of address (Driving licence, high street bank statement, a recent credit card statement of utility bill etc).
Account opening can be authorised within a day but it can take another 10 days for your card to get sent out to you. There isn’t the option of virtual cards during this time but you can get your account number and sort code by contacting Barclays.
What Accounts Do They Offer?
Barclays Bank Account
This is the account for most of their customers. You have to be over 18 and a UK resident.
You can get an arranged overdraft (at 35% interest!), but won’t get interest on your credit balances. You also get access to the app (reviewed below).
You can sign up for their Blue Rewards programme if you have two Direct Debits a month paid out of your current account – they will then charge you £5 a month for being a Blue Rewards member.
For this you get access to some other Barclays features such as a Rainy Day Saver Account. However, the main benefit of this is that you get £5 paid into your account each month. This will go up to £8 if you have a mortgage with Barclays and there are additional benefits for loans, home and life insurance. Without these products we don’t think it is worth it, because essentially you will be paying a £5 fee only to get £5 back.
All foreign currency transactions come with a 2.99% fee which is much less competitive than lots of the newer challenger banks are offering.
Overall, we think this is probably the most boring account in the UK – but you get the big name of Barclays with all the security that brings.
This account allows you to quickly run up Avios points – however, its restrictions are very restrictive. you need to have:
- a before-tax salary of 75k or more and be prepared to pay this into the account.
- 100k in savings with Barclays (including Barclays UK investments).
Woo! That is a selective account.
Here’s what you get:
- Interest-free overdraft of £500.
- You can bolt on an Avios rewards package for £12 a month. If you got all the rewards possible through this package you would get about 20.5k points. According to The Points Guy that is worth roughly £220. There is also currently a switching offer for first-time customers worth 25k. If you value flying BA this could be a useful perk.
- A black debit card if that’s your thing.
- Fee-free international payments.
- Up to £1,000 withdrawals.
Overall, the account could be useful for travellers who send money abroad regularly, but challenger banks allow you to do this quite cheaply and are not anywhere near as restrictive. There are also lots of credit cards out there offering excellent air mile rewards.
How good is the app and digital banking?
It’s fine for the basics. It lets you view your balance, transactions and subscriptions as well as update details and freeze/unfreeze cards if lost then found again.
There is a feature to see your spending breakdown by category, but it feels like a lacklustre effort to catch up with newer banks. For example, you can’t set savings goals or set aside money into savings pots.
There is an offers section where you can earn cashback on purchases and a “loyalty” section where you can sign up for loyalty cards at various retailers (e.g. Iceland, Wasabi etc). Both of these are nice touches, but more is needed to compete with the digital banks.
We spend hours reading user comments to see what feedback people are giving. Here are some positive and critical comments that stood out to us:
Taking back control!
I find that Barclays provides the ease-of-us products that make banking an easy process. The mobile app is excellent and extras such as the card freeze makes finances less stressful. In branch, the self-service machines are easy to use but there are always people on hand to help those who might not be as tech savvy. Great service all around.
Feel very safe with Barclays
Barclays have a great communication in regards to picking up suspicious activity. Most of the times it is myself and I authorise the activity but once they picked up fraudulent activity that was blocked successfully and a new card was in the post the next day.
Friendly bank offering a wide range of products to suit everyone. Staff in branch can not do enough to help and the mobile banking app is one of the best around enabling you to do almost everything from the app.
Need to give better savings rates
Whilst general daily banking is good and the mobile banking app is handy, it would really be a good thing to start upping the savings rates on some accounts.
Not Outstanding but good solid performance over 30 years
I’ve generally been very pleased with Barclays Bank who have looked after me, answered my questions and generally been there when I needed them over the years which is all you can ask for in a “big bank”. My only complaint is no branch near my home anymore – understandable but annoying at times.
Really difficult to get a paper bank statement posted
Is Barclay’s A Good Bank?
Barclays is ranked #16 of 25 personal current accounts in the UK (click to see full list).
Are there better current accounts on the market? We’re calling out the following accounts as excellent:
They have a grade score of 76 - ranking them as the second-best UK bank. A long-standing reputation, great digital experience and top-notch customer service make them an excellent choice for most people.
We are sorely missing their £175 introductory offer however and hope they bring it back to market soon.