Barclays Bank Review

Barclays Bank, one of the oldest banks in the world, was founded in 1690. Today, it offers services in 40 different countries to 48 million customers from its London headquarters. U.S. operations are mostly online and offer competitive annual percentage yields for both certificates of deposit and savings accounts. Aside from savings accounts, it offers credit cards and loans. Barclays Bank is ideal for customers who want a savings account with online-only access.

How Barclays Stacks Up

Pros
  • Higher APYs for CDs and savings accounts
  • Low overdraft fees
  • No monthly maintenance fees or minimum balances
  • Mobile and online banking
Cons
  • No checking accounts
  • Only one savings account
  • No ATMs or branches
  • Online-only service

 

What’s interesting about Barclays Bank

Barclays Bank is a reputable bank that has corporate banking, investment services and wealth management in the UK and other countries. While the services it offers in the U.S. are limited, customers can benefit from the higher-than-average APYs, which are consistent across both CDs and savings accounts. Customers can also benefit from having no monthly maintenance payment for their savings account. Additionally, there are no minimum account balances to worry about. With convenient mobile banking and online bank features available, Barclays offers credit cards and personal loans. Barclays also has FDIC insurance that extends up to $250,000 in coverage for each depositor.

Things to consider

Drawbacks with a bank like Barclays include limited online only access and no checking accounts. There are also no ways to make deposits in person, as there are no physical branches. This can pose a problem for customers who prefer face-to-face banking with tellers. Additional concerns include that there is only one type of savings account and there is no access to a Barclays ATM. Customers who want to withdraw money have to transfer it to a different account or request a check to be mailed to them. Deposits can only be made via direct deposit e-transfer, remote deposits and snail mail.

Checking and Savings Accounts

As Barclays Bank is London-based, a limited number of online banking products are available for its customers in the U.S. This means Barclay’s doesn’t offer checking accounts, instead preferring to focus on savings accounts.

Barclays offers a single savings account option that customers can access online. There are several benefits for customers, including:

  • No monthly maintenance fees to pay
  • No minimum account balances to maintain each month
  • Easy online account set up with a valid ID and social security number
  • 24/7 access to accounts (but accounts are limited to six different transfers monthly)
  • The ability to add direct deposit to their savings account
  • An APY that’s higher than most online banks

Given that there are no branch locations or ATMs, customers have four different ways to deposit money into their savings accounts. These include:

  • Using their laptop or smartphone to access the remote deposit feature in the Barclays Bank account app
  • Setting up direct deposit through their employer
  • Making a wire transfer into their account electronically
  • Mailing their checks to Barclays directly

Money Market Accounts

Unfortunately, Barclays does not offer a money market account to American customers. However, there are plenty of alternative options if you’re seeking a solid online only money market account. BMO Harris, Citibank and BBVA all offer solid APYs on their accounts. Citi doesn’t even require you to have a minimum balance, which means your money gets put to work faster.

CDs

Barclays Bank offers some of the highest rates for its CDs. There are nine different terms that customers can choose from when saving money in a Barclays CD account. These include:

  • 3 months, which offers a rate of 0.35% APY
  • 6 months, which offers a rate of 0.65% APY
  • 9 months, which offers a rate of 0.70% APY
  • 12 months, which offers a rate of 2.10% APY
  • 18 months, which offers a rate of 2.10% APY
  • 24 months, which offers a rate of 2.10% APY
  • 36 months, which offers a rate of 2.10% APY
  • 48 months, which offers a rate of 2.10% APY
  • 60 months, which offers a rate of 2.20% APY

When a CD is about to come to term, meaning that the money has stayed in the account for the agreed upon time frame, customers can roll over their CDs into a new CD account. They will receive 30 days notice that their CD is about to mature.

If a customer wants to withdraw their money before the end of the term, they will face a penalty of 90 days of interest, regardless of the term length.

The benefits to having a CD with Barclays include that there are no maintenance fees to pay each month and customers don’t have to worry about a minimum balance in their accounts.

IRA Accounts

As with money market accounts, Barclays doesn’t offer IRA accounts, but there are plenty of banks that do. Fidelity is known for their retirement accounts, plus they offer a ton of financial tools that can help you plan for retirement. This bank also has brick-and-mortar locations across the U.S., so it’s perfect for people who prefer to bank in person. Charles Schwab also offers IRAs, and a Schwab IRA doesn’t have a minimum deposit or balance requirement, nor do they charge you fees to maintain your IRA account.

Credit Cards

Barclays Bank lacks in checking and money market account options, but it more than makes up for those weak spots with credit card offerings. Barclays offers about 23 different types of credit cards, including Visa and Mastercard options. Customers can benefit from all kinds of travel rewards and cash back rewards privileges. Reward tiers include lucrative offers with top brands like:

  • Airlines like American Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue and Frontier Airlines
  • Cruise lines like Holland America, Carnival and Princess Cruises
  • Retailers like Barnes & Noble
  • Transportation providers like Uber
  • Travel providers like Priceline

Personal Loans

Barclays’ loans are fairly simple. Until October 2018, Barclays’ personal loans were by invitation only. The bank sent letters to individuals it thought most likely to qualify, and then opened the loans to the public. That being said, it still sends out invitations as well. You can pre-qualify on its website without it affecting your credit score, but once you actually apply for the Barclays loan, it will have an impact. There is no credit score minimum explicitly stated, but a score of 700 or higher is thought to be the threshold — higher than other similar lenders.

Terms vary from 36 to 60 months, and interest rates vary from a low of 4.99%, a number that is lower than many other lenders as well. There are no origination or other fees, and decisions generally only take one business day. Once you are approved, you’ll receive your funds within 24 to 48 hours.

There’s no minimum income stated, but the loan you qualify for will be based on your ability to repay. Borrowers must be over 18, U.S. citizens and have a Social Security number to apply.

Mortgage Loans

Because Barclays is based in the U.K., it does not offer mortgages or other home lending products to U.S.-based customers. If you’re looking for a mortgage, lenders like Rocket Loans and Chase offer great products; or if you are a veteran with good credit, Navy Federal Credit Union or USAA mortgage products might be a good option for you. All offer reasonable rates and terms.

Of course, the better your credit, the better the mortgage rate you will get from any lender, and that may also depend on the size of the down payment.

Mortgage Refinancing

Like mortgages, Barclays does not offer mortgage refinancing in the U.S. Vendors like SoFi or Rocket Mortgage will be a better bet for these products. Both have offerings for those with mediocre credit scores, albeit at higher interest rates. Those with good to excellent credit will find reasonable rates and terms from both of these lenders.

A mortgage refinance is often a good way to unlock the cash value you have in your home, lower interest rates and even obtain lower payment options. The value of your home and the equity you have will largely determine these rates.

Home Equity Loans & HELOCs

Barclays does not offer HELOC or home equity loans to U.S. customers, either. As the bank is based in the U.K., it can’t legally do so unless they partner with a U.S.-based bank. Citibank, Chase, or even your local credit union may offer the best rates and the best home equity or HELOC products to meet your needs. Remember, a home equity line of credit may be available at a reasonable rate by your current mortgage holder, so it is often best to check with your current lender first.

Car Loans

Barclays only offers car loans in the U.K. If you are eyeing a car that is below $35,000 or have enough of a down payment so that you need to borrow less than that, you can certainly use a personal loan to purchase a vehicle, but your interest rate may be higher than if you get an actual auto loan. LightStream offers excellent car loans if you have good to excellent credit, but banking giant Capital One has loans for anyone with a 500 credit score or higher with reasonably competitive rates and terms.

The Final Word

Barclays Bank has a lot of benefits for customers despite not offering checking accounts. Customers can enjoy higher than average APYs on savings accounts and CDs. They can also benefit from not having to pay monthly maintenance fees for accounts. Additionally, there are no minimum deposits for savings accounts or CDs. With a variety of CDs available and several types of credit cards with cash back incentives and travel rewards, it’s no wonder Barclays is popular among customers. Its website and app make it easy to bank online by laptop or mobile device, and customers can get a good return on their invested savings. However, there are a few drawbacks.

Having no physical branches or ATM locations might be a turnoff for some customers who prefer brick-and-mortar locations. Other inconveniences include a few hurdles with making deposits. If you don’t mind these small nuisances, though, the advantages like higher APY and lower costs more than make up for them. Customers just might have to split between Barclays and another bank to get the best of both worlds (in this case, checking and savings).