Barclays Bank Review

Barclays Bank provides some of the most competitive savings and CD rates on the market with minimal fees, but at the cost of physical locations.

The Verdict

Barclays Bank is a great choice for those seeking low-fee, high-interest savings accounts

Barclays Bank is a saver's bank.

Your money will earn interest at a rate far higher than what a traditional brick-and-mortar bank will offer.

Think 1% versus .1%.

As with most online banks, the main benefit of Barclays Bank to the average consumer is the ease of setting up and enjoying relatively lucrative savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CD).

This Barclays Bank review will help you decide whether the company is the right choice for you.

Barclays competes with the highest-rated banks on the market. Few banks offer savings accounts that pay 1.30% interest and CDs with up to 2.35%.

The downside is that Barclays doesn't offer checking account services and has little to no physical branches where customers can go to when they need assistance.

Survey Showed Online Banks Gained Customers while Traditional Banks Lost (2016)

Barclays has no maintenance fees and low penalty fees. With very few brick-and-mortar locations, Barclays has lower operational costs compared to the average bank, and thus can afford to charge lower fees to customers.

The Dream savings account was a great option but has been discontinued. Barclays Bank's Dream account offered even better interest rates for depositors who met its criteria, but Barclays ceased to offer it last October.

Customers who were lucky enough to qualify and open such an account will continue to benefit from it.

Barclays' competitors have physical branches but lower interest rates. Online access makes it easy to reach your funds from anywhere in the world.

Another bank may have a physical branch, but it likely can't offer the same savings rate.

Customers looking for a similar online banks without brick-and-mortar locations may want to look at our Competition section below.

Why You Should Consider Barclays Bank

You should use Barclays Bank if you want high-interest savings with minimal fees

Barclays Bank first appeared in the United States in 1890 under the name Colonial Bank, not taking the name Barclays until 1924.

The company has operated in some capacity or another since 1690 when a couple of goldsmith bankers—the minds behind the modern banking system—founded the company.

The bank took on its present name when James Barclays, the son-in-law of one of the founders, joined the company.

Barclays has a long and storied history but is best known not only for issuing the first credit card in the United Kingdom but also for opening the world's first ATM in 1968.

We shouldn't confuse Barclays bank with Barclayscard.

Barclayscard issues some of the best rewards credit cards. The Barclays Arrival MasterCard is one of the highest-yield options for a travel rewards card.

Barclays also issues an Apple-specific rewards credit card, in addition to financing Apple purchases.

Deciding if Barclays is the right bank (not credit card issuer) for you is simple. Just ask yourself:

  • Are you looking for an online savings account with high APY and no monthly fees?
  • Do you want a savings account that compounds interest on a daily basis?
  • Do you hate minimum balance requirements and charges?
  • Do you hate having to go to the bank?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, Barclays Bank may be the right choice for you.

Millennials Savings Balance Versus Xennials (2017)

Why People Love Barclays Bank

People love Barclays Bank for the high-interest rates

Barclays' online savings accounts reduce the overhead the bank might normally face, resulting in accounts with higher yearly interest rates, low maintenance fees, and no annual fee.

What fees do exist are lower than competitors' rates.

Barclays has one of the highest online savings APYs at 1.30%. The only bank offering higher yield savings is CIT Bank with 1.35% APY. Synchrony also offers 1.30% APY but has higher penalty fees than Barclays.

No minimum balance is required. While you probably want to keep as much as possible in your account to take advantage of the high APY, you don't have to worry about fees being levied on your account should your balance fall really low.

If you happen to overdraft, the NSF fee is only $5 compared to $30 with other banks.

The interest compounds daily. If you start with $500 in your account and add $100 each month, you'll end up with a total of $1,815.13 after only a year and earn $15.13 in interest alone.

The CD program offers one of the highest online APYs available. At 2.35%, Barclays offers one of the highest CD APYs today.

Unlike competitors, Barclays only has a $1 minimum balance for CDs and a tiered interest program if you want to commit to less than five years.

Biggest Consumer Complaints

Barclays Bank customer service needs improvement

Online banks have to provide excellent customer service so consumers can reach them as easily as possible and receive the assistance they seek in times of need.

Customers can't just walk into a location and talk face-to-face with a representative like they can with a brick-and-mortar bank, which puts online-only institutions like Barclays Bank at a disadvantage.

Barclays Bank receives consistent reports of extremely poor customer service.Multiple customers experienced fraudulent accounts being opened in their name and were subsequently unable to reach a representative over the phone.

Other customers spoke to support representatives but felt their concerns were dismissed.

Despite Barclays' strengths, customer service is one area the company could greatly improve on.

Barclays offers no checking accounts. Barclays savings accounts have great APYs, but the bank does not provide customers with the ability to open checking accounts.

There are no ATM networks, branches, or even a mobile app for US customers. It seems strange that an online bank would lack a mobile app. Barclays mobile app is for its credit card holders, not for its bank customers.

The Competition

The main Barclays Bank competitor is Synchrony Bank

Synchrony Bank backs a large number of store-branded credit cards. If you own a store credit card, it's probably issued by Synchrony.

Synchrony is also an online bank like Barclays.

The differences between the two companies are found in their fees and customer service.

Both Barclays and Synchrony offer 1.30% APY with their savings accounts.

Neither bank has monthly service fees. But Synchrony has fine print that drives up fees if you're not careful.

Both banks have nationwide reach.

The difference?

Synchrony Bank has a debit card that works at a million ATMs across the United States. Barclays does not issue a debit card that connects to its savings account like Synchrony does.

Barclays cash withdrawals are made by transferring funds to another bank and pulling the funds from there.

Synchrony doesn't charge fees to withdraw from a non-Synchrony ATM, although the ATM owner might. Synchrony also reimburses up to $5 in fees per statement cycle.

Banking Channel Customer Satisfaction Survey (2016)

Barclays has no minimum balance. Synchrony waives its monthly maintenance fees as long as account holders keep at least $30 in their account.

Neither company has notable customer service. Barclays customers struggle to reach a real person on the phone.

While Synchrony customers are able to get in contact with an actual human, the representatives are reportedly unhelpful.

Synchrony offers more account options. Both banks offer savings accounts and CDs, but Synchrony customers can also open money market accounts.

Barclays is the better choice because of a lack of fees. The purpose of a savings account is to put money away and let it grow.

You don't want to deal with maintenance fees that sap those funds.

While Barclays may not have the ATM availability Synchrony has, you will (hopefully!) not withdraw money from your savings too often anyway.

You should also consider that most purchases these days are made online, so transferring from your Barclays savings account to your primary checking account makes perfect sense.

The only real reason to go with Synchrony over Barclays is if you want a money market account rather than a savings account.

If you like Barclays Bank, then here are a few other competitive products to consider

Synchrony isn't the only competitor to Barclays, just the largest.

HSBC offers checking accounts. Compared to Barclays, HSBC charges higher fees and offers lower savings APY.

HSBC's primary benefit over Barclays is the inclusion of checking accounts and the existence of physical locations customers can visit.

Capital One 360 offers 1% APY. Capital One 360 has no monthly fees and requires no deposit to open or keep the account.

Customers looking for higher rates can open a 360 Money Market account with a deposit of $10,000 or more.

Check out our Capital One 360 review.

Ally Bank offers 1.25% APY. Like Barclays, Ally charges no monthly maintenance fees and offers six free transactions per cycle.

Unlike Barclays, Ally provides customers with the ability to open a checking account.

The Question Everyone is Asking Now

"What is a Dream Savings Account and how do I open one?"

Barclays offered a special savings account that yielded bonuses to customers if they met certain criteria.

As of October 17, 2017, the account is no longer being offered. Barclays has announced they will honor the terms and conditions of any accounts opened before that date.

The Dream account yielded a 2.5% interest bonus to customers who made a deposit at least once per month for six consecutive months.

If customers made no withdrawals for six consecutive months, they could earn another 2.5% bonus.

Barclays capped contributions to these accounts at $1,000 per month to limit the amount earned from the bonuses but provided a "Dream Assistant" to help consumers calculate how much they needed to contribute to reach a specific goal.

How the Company Works

Barclays Bank offers high-yield savings accounts and certificates of deposits

Barclays Bank offers two primary services: savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs).

A Breakdown of US Households With Certificates of Deposit (2017)

Funds can be withdrawn at any time from savings accounts. These accounts require no minimum balance to maintain and yield 1.30% APY.

Barclays online savings accounts also have an interest rate of 1.29% —14 times higher than the national average.

Savings accounts have no maximum deposit amount. If you make more than six transactions in a month, Barclays will charge a $5 fee for every subsequent transfer.

Online savings accounts grant account holders 24/7 access to their funds. Deposits can be made through direct deposit, with a mailed check, or via ACH transfer.

Barclays Savings Assistant is a powerful tool used in conjunction with these accounts to determine how long it will take to reach a set savings goal.

The rates and low fees on this savings account make it one of the best options on the competitive market at this time, although the lack of a debit card might be a deal-breaker to certain customers.

Certificates of deposit limit accessibility to funds, but have higher rates. Barclays offers multiple interest levels for various lengths of time, allowing for more flexibility with your investment.

  • 3 month CD – 0.35% APY
  • 6 month CD – 0.55% APY
  • 9 month CD – 0.60% APY
  • 12 month CD – 1.50% APY
  • 18 month CD – 1.55% APY
  • 24 month CD – 1.70% APY
  • 36 month CD – 1.95% APY
  • 48 month CD – 2.00% APY
  • 60 month CD – 2.35% APY

The interest of a CD compounds daily. CDs carry no hidden fees or minimum balances, and it is easy to transfer funds into these accounts.

If account holders require more flexibility with their money, Barclays offers a CD ladder which provides access to some of the investment each year.

The provided CD Ladder calculator and CD calculator can help you decide which option is best.

The CD rate is extremely high. To put it in perspective, a $10,000 investment for 60 months would yield a total of $11,231.54 when the account matured.

Key Digital Services

Barclays Banks online services lag behind the competition

Barclays Bank's two strongest resources are the Savings Assistant and the CD Calculator.

The company lacks a mobile app for its online banking. A quick search of the app store will reveal a Barclayscard app, but that is only for credit card holders. It doesn't benefit US-based customers with online savings accounts.

Barclays provides animated demonstrations. Barclays has a tool that helps explain how to use the Barclays Online Banking website but offers little benefit outside of that.

The Savings Assistant calculates how long it will take to reach a savings goal. The tool is a simple web-form that asks your goal, how much it costs, what you have saved, and how much you can contribute month.

Clicking "Calculate" gives you a length of time, but nothing else.

The CD Calculator displays your return after a set time. If you enter an opening deposit amount and a duration of time, this tool calculates the return on that investment. It is useful for determining complex math, but for little else.

Barclays excels in certain areas, but its key digital services leave something to be desired.

Monthly Consumer Use of Emerging Channels for Banking (2016)

How to Find a Branch Near You

You can use their online branch locator, or download their app on Google Play and iTunes.

Barclays Bank Routing Number

Routing number: 031101321

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a Dream account and how can I open one?

    As of October 2017, the Dream Account is no longer offered. The account was a special savings account that yielded an interest bonus to account holders that met certain criteria.

  • What bonuses can I earn with the dream account?

    Dream account holders earn 2.5% interest if they make a deposit each month for six consecutive months, as well as another 2.5% interest if they do not make a withdrawal for six consecutive months.

  • How do I open a Bank of America account?

    Your best option is to apply online for a checking account, savings account, CD or IRA. You'll receive approval in one or two business days.

  • What credit score do I need to qualify for the Barclays personal loan or line of credit?

    Barclays offers high-yield rewards cards or low-fee personal loans, both of which require an excellent credit score to qualify.

  • Are there any overdraft protection plans offered by Barclays Bank?

    Although Barclays doesn't offer any overdraft protection plans, overdraft fees are only $5 compared to the $30 or more charged by other banks.

  • Will I be able to use the Barclays debit card online?

    The Barclays savings account does not issue a debit card. To withdraw funds, you must transfer from your Barclays online account to an external bank account.

  • How many locations are there?

    Barclays' online savings accounts have no physical locations. Barclays Bank is an international company with operations in more than 50 countries.

  • How can I withdraw money from my savings account?

    You must select the desired amount from your savings account and transfer funds to an external account.

  • What online services does Barclays Bank offer?

    Barclays provides its customers with a savings assistant to calculate how long it will take you to reach your goals based on current savings and projected monthly contributions, a CD ladder calculator, and a CD calculator.

  • Can I request a copy of my credit report from Barclays Bank?

    If you are a Barclayscard member, you have free access to your Experian credit report.

  • Is Barclays Bank available in all states in the US?

    Yes, Barclays Bank has nationwide reach.

  • Is there a mobile banking service available for Barclays Bank?

    Barclays Bank does not offer a dedicated app for mobile banking.

  • Do products/ services offered differ from state to state?

    Barclays services remain the same no matter what state you live in.

  • Does Barclays Bank use credit scores when determining to give you a loan or a credit card?

    Your credit score is taken into consideration during evaluation for a personal loan or credit card.

  • Does Barclays Bank report to any of the credit unions?

    Barclays is most likely to pull your TransUnion score but may report to any of the three unions.

  • What are its financial strengths?

    Barclays Bank has an A rating from Standard & Poor and an A1 rating from Moody's.

  • Are there physical branches?

    There are no physical branches for Barclays' online savings accounts, but Barclays Bank as a whole has physical locations all over the world.

  • Where can I find the routing and transit number for my bank?

    Your routing number is the first set of numbers printed on the bottom-left side of your check.

  • Can I withdraw money from any ATM using my card?

    Barclays' online savings accounts do not issue a debit card, so you cannot withdraw money directly from them. You must first transfer the funds to an external bank prior to withdrawal.

  • Are the rates offered by Barclays Bank competitive compared to other banks?

    Barclays' rates are some of the most competitive on the market at 1.30% APY for savings accounts and 2.35% APY for CDs.

  • What are some of the perks offered by Barclays Bank that I won't find in other banks?

    Barclays sets itself apart by requiring no minimum balance and charging lower penalties and annual fees compared to other institutions.

  • How user-friendly are the online services offered by Barclays Bank?

    Barclays' online tools are intuitive and easy to learn, but their customer service has been the subject of criticism.

  • Are there any exclusive offers for veterans or military members?

    Although Barclays Bank's savings accounts have no special offers for military members, active service members may qualify for 0% APR through the Servicemember's Civil Relief Act.

  • Can I use ATMs outside of the bank range to withdraw money?

    Barclays' online savings accounts do not issue a debit card, so you cannot withdraw money directly from them.

    You must first transfer the funds to an external bank.

  • What are the fees and charges for withdrawing from other ATMs?

    Usage fees vary between ATMs.

  • How safe is banking with Barclays Bank?

    Barclays Bank is a member of the FDIC, which means the first $250,000 in each account is protected.

  • Who do I contact in the event of identity theft?

    If your identity has been compromised, contact Barclays' security team immediately at 866-928-8598.

  • How are the savings account rates for this bank compared to others?

    Barclays has one of the highest savings account rates at 1.30%. While other banks may offer rates at 1.35% (and above), few offer the low fees that Barclays does.

  • What are some ways that the Barclays Bank gives back to the community?

    Barclays employees log more than 30,000 hours of volunteer work each year, and the company's US headquarters is in a historic building whose renovation Barclays funded.

  • Are the funds FDIC insured?

    Barclays accounts are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000.

  • How do I sign-up for Barclays Bank?

    To open a Barclays account, visit the sign-up page and follow the steps.

    There are no sign-up bonuses to be aware of, but you should link your primary accounts on the fourth stage of the process.

    You can link up to three separate bank accounts to Barclays, allowing for easy transfer of funds. Average ACH transfers take between two and three days.

  • How can I close my Barclays Bank account?

    Closing a Barclays account is more difficult than opening it.

    You will need to write to the bank or visit them in-branch.

    Though there are no physical branches for the Barclays online account, one of the other physical branches may be able to assist you in closing your account.

    If you have earned interest but have not yet been credited, you will receive this amount when you close your account.

  • How can I reach an actual human at Barclays?

    The fastest way to reach a person is by calling 1-877-523-0478.

    Even if this does not get you to the department you want to reach, you can be redirected to an actual human and not a computer.

If you're a frequent international traveler, Barclays online savings accounts are a good option

The high-yield savings account and even higher-yield CDs provide fantastic rates for those seeking a return on their investment, but the poor customer service is a major downside.

The lack of U.S.-based ATMs and physical locations are another mark against Barclays.

That said, customers that want an online account may not mind the lack of physical branches.

No maintenance fees and minimal penalty charges may be worth the trade.

Barclays is one of the best online banking options out there, but it does have limitations (no debit card is tough) that you'll need to consider while you're enjoying their savings rate.

Do you use Barclays Bank?

How has Barclays Bank worked out for you?

Any helpful tips or stories to share with the rest of us?

Let us know in the comments below.

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