Barclays Blue Rewards review: Changes are here

Is it worth adding the fee-paying extra to your Barclays current account?

Barclays customers generally get a poor deal for bonuses and freebies compared to other banks, so how do the Blue Rewards scheme match up?

And now the bank has increased the monthly fee for its Blue Rewards scheme and reduced the benefits, I’ve taken a look at whether it’s worth even staying with Barclays if you’re already a customer.

What are Barclays Blue Rewards?

Barclays Blue Rewards is an add-on you can choose to put on your Barclays current account.

You’ll get a monthly reward and money back on specific Barclays products (mortgages, home insurance and loans) if you meet some basic criteria and pay a monthly fee.

How Barclays Blue Rewards changed

Customers received an email in late November 2021 sharing changes were happening on 1 March 2022.

When it launched in 2015 you got £7 back for a £3 fee, worth £48 a year. Then in 2019 the fee increased to £4, leaving an annual profit of £36. Now these following changes are cutting most customers profits to zero.

The fee has gone up

First, the fee is increasing by £1 to £5 a month. This makes it one of the most expensive add-ons for current accounts. The first month you’ll pay this increase will be April 2022.

The reward has dropped

And it gets worse. Rather than £3.50 per Direct Debit, you’ll now get a £5 reward in total. This means you’ll be paying a fiver to get a fiver. The first month you’ll get the lower payment will be April 2022.

The mortgage bonus is cut too

There’s some more bad news, though this will only impact a few customers. The extra reward given for having a Barclays mortgage will drop from £5 a month to £3 a month. Those customers will be an extra £24 worse off each year.

Other features stay the same

The 3% cashback on home insurance and £1 life insurance reward stay the same. You’ll also still get access to the Blue Rewards Saver paying 0.4% (which can easily be beaten elsewhere).

There will be new offers

Though Barclays dropped the cashback feature of Blue Rewards earlier in 2021, it will launch some ‘exclusive offers’.

These haven’t been particularly exciting so far. There was an offer for one to one money coaching, but numbers were very limited and places went very fast. Otherwise it was just a handful of prize draws.

Are Barclays Blue Rewards worth it?

Andy’s Analysis

Blue Rewards have always been the poor cousin to better schemes from Halifax and Lloyds, and even Natwest/RBS. I only really recommended signing up if you already had a Barclays account or if you can take advantage of the rare switching incentive that doubled the bonus for 12 months.

The changes put not just Blue Rewards, but also Barclays, right at the bottom of the pile.

For those that don’t have a mortgage or life insurance with Barclays there’s no reason at all to pay £5 a month just to get £5 back.

All I can think is that the ‘exclusive offers’ might have a few standout savings. So rather than money off here and there, maybe it’ll be freebies. Or, fingers crossed, maybe Barclays will start offering cash bonuses for switching.

So far that’s not happened. Which means I’m leaving Blue Rewards. If it changes I’ll let you know.

How to sign up for Barclays Blue Rewards

First, you need to have a Barclays current account. Once you’ve got this, you need to sign up for Blue Rewards, which you can do from your online banking.

Who can get Barclays Blue Rewards

Then, to get the monthly reward, you need to pay in £800 every month, have two Direct Debits and use either online or mobile banking.

> Sign up for Barclays Blue Rewards

How to cancel Barclays Blue Rewards

If you decide you don’t want to continue with Blue Rewards you can easily cancel it in your online or app banking. I did in on the app in just a few seconds.

  • Open up your app and choose Blue Rewards from the home screen
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the screen
  • Select “Leave Barclays Blue Rewards”
  • Tick the box at the bottom of the screen
  • Press the “Confirm” button

Any money you have left or pending in the Blue Rewards wallet will be moved to your current account. If you wish to rejoin you’ll have to wait at least two days.

How to get Blue Reward payments

If you meet all the requirements, the bonus cash is paid – but not directly into your current account. Instead it goes into a digital Rewards Wallet. To access this money you need to transfer it out of your Rewards wallet. You do this via your online or app banking.

I think the Blue Rewards wallet is all a bit complicated. Surely it would be a lot easier to just give customers the money straight into their account, as Halifax does with its Reward account? Maybe it’s to get everyone used to paying a fee!

Alternatives to Blue Rewards

Barclays isn’t the only bank to offer extras, and the benefits are much better elsewhere. You could choose to switch your account to a different bank (and maybe nab a switching bonus) or you can simply open up extra current accounts. Here are my picks and links to reviews with further details:

10 thoughts on “Barclays Blue Rewards review: Changes are here

  1. I would mention that Blue Rewards Savings Account now pays 0.40% not 0.15% as mentioned in Previous post

  2. Sarah Louise Neave February 2, 2021 at 6:32 pm

    If you leave your rewards in your reward wallet will they pay you interest, like you get with a savings account?

    1. Nope! Sadly it just sits there so you need to transfer it out.

  3. Just tried to join Barclays. I saw there was mention of CASS on the application page which seems to be a bit indirectly located (https://www.barclays.co.uk/current-accounts/bank-account/) – went with “Apply with Blue Rewards”, followed all the way through to successful completion, seeing the option to switch accounts at the end, only to discover it starts up a whole new current account application all over again. On contacting their help I’m told I have to go to a physical branch to complete the switching application. Complete mess and waste of time.

    1. That’s a nightmare. If they want new customers they should make it easier to join, not harder!

      1. Indeed! And I can’t even cancel the application without visiting the branch, which means they could charge their £3 fee in any case, hardly convenient for rural customers. Never had this when opening and switching with other banks.

  4. If you sign up to Barclays Blue Rewards before 29th June 2018 the usual £7 per month reward for paying in £800 per month and having 2 direct debits is doubled to £14 per month for first 12 months. Against the monthly fee of £3, this gives a profit of £11 per month….£132 over the 12 month period. After that it would reduce to £7 monthly rewards against the £3 fee: still a profit of £4 per month.

  5. Its worth mentioning Barclays offer cashback, and an impressive 10% from Currys and Argos, so if you are splashing out on a say a big tech purchase, its worth it. If you are with Blue, it goes up to 11% (whoopee).

  6. Pingback: The best bank switching, cashback and interest offers: Includes new M&S Bank £220 bonus - Be Clever With Your Cash
  7. Pingback: Barclays Blue Rewards: Does the advert add up? - Be Clever With Your Cash

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