Barclays customers generally get a poor deal for bonuses and freebies compared to other banks, so I’ve taken a look to see how the Blue Rewards scheme matches up, and whether it’s worth switching for.
I’ve written a few times before about why you really should think about switching banks. I’m thousands of pounds better off since I first switched back in 2014 (and again many times since). And the bank I switched from? Yup it was Barclays. And I’m not alone at moving away.
Every month since the switching service was launched people have been leaving Barclays in droves. The last official figures show 25,797 people switched away between January and March 20178, but only 8,169 joined. That’s a loss of 17,628 customers, meaning they were the biggest overall losers. And that pattern goes back until at least 2015, if not earlier.
So why are so many people deserting this bank? Well there few benefits you get for sticking. And even less incentives for joining. There’s no high rate of interest or regular savings accounts, no cash back on bills, and no big cash bonus. But you can get all of those elsewhere.
In fact the only extra Barclays offers are the Blue Rewards.
What is Barclays Blue Rewards?
For a monthly fee of £3, Barclays will give you up £7 a month to your current account. This is made up of £3.50 for each of your first two Direct Debit payments.
The bank seems to have stopped claiming you can get £180 by joining, though there are top-ups you can earn if you have other Barclays products.
- Up to £3 a month if you have buildings or contents insurance with Barclays
- £5 a month if you have a mortgage with Barclays
- £1 a month when you have a loan with Barclays
There are also additional cashback rewards with selected retailers.
For most current account only customers this means you get £84 a year in rewards but pay £36 in fees, leaving you with £48 profit.
You can occasionally get more, whether you’re a new or existing customer.
Existing customers: Right now, there’s a promotion running until 31st October 2018 adding an extra £7 to your rewards to your first month
New customers: If you switch before 14th November you get double rewards for one year, earning you £132
How to get Barclays Blue Rewards
Compared to other banking rewards it’s a bit convoluted.
First you need to sign up to Blue Rewards, which you can do from your online banking.
Then, to get the £7 a month, you need to pay in £800 every month, have two Direct Debits and use either online or mobile banking.
Do all of those and you’ll be given £7 credit into a digital Rewards Wallet. To access the money you need to transfer it out of your rewards wallet. You do this via your online or app banking.
Is Barclays Blue Rewards worth it?
The Blue Rewards wallet is all a bit complicated. Surely it would be a lot easier to just give customers £4. Maybe it’s to get everyone used to paying a fee! And most customers will only be eligible for the £7 a month – don’t believe any marketing that says you could make £16 a month.
Of course, if you already bank with Barclays and don’t want to change your account, then this is a handy extra £48 without you really having to do much. So you absolutely should sign up. However, I’d encourage you to consider switching as you can get as much as £200 elsewhere – more if you have savings.
Newbies can also get better than £48 for switching bank so it’s low down my list. The only exception here is if you time your switch during a double rewards promotion. I did this back in the summer, switching my Lloyds account when it cut interest down to 1.5%. So that £132 over a year makes it better than most other offers.
But will I keep it once those double payments have ended? Well, if there’s a decent switching bonus that pays more than £48 I absolutely will. And you should too if you’re happy to keep switching.