Review of: Barclays
Reviewed by: Eric Rosenberg
Last modified: May 18, 2018
Barclays is the second biggest bank in the United Kingdom but is not as well known on this side of the pond. Here in the U.S., besides its credit card business, Barclays offers a simple online-only bank with high-interest savings account options. While it offers only two types of accounts, its interest rates are among the top of all banks nationwide. However, keep in mind there are no local bank branches in the States.
If you’re looking for an online bank that delivers an excellent annual percentage yield (APY) on savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs), Barclays might be a good choice for you. After all, nearly 50 million people worldwide entrust their money to the Barclays brand. But is Barclays the right bank for you? We took a close look at the bank’s savings products, and this is what we found.
|Access||iOS App, Android App|
|Amount of Branches||None|
|Customer Service||Phone: 24/7; Email|
To say that Barclays has been around for a while would be an understatement: The London-based company has roots going back to 1690 and has operations in every continent but Antarctica. Barclays has come a long way in its more than 300 years. Here in the U.S., consumers can use the bank’s operations headquartered in Delaware. This subsidiary came into being in 2003, when Barclays bought Juniper Bank and rebranded it.
For consumer banking, Barclays offers an online savings account and online certificate of deposit (CD) accounts. Through October 17, 2017, the bank offered a rewards savings account called a Dream account, but this has been discontinued. At this time, savings and CDs are the only two account types offered.
What Is Barclays?
Barclays is an online bank with no local branches. You can deposit and withdraw funds from a linked checking or savings account at any bank in the United States using electronic funds transfers, or you can deposit checks remotely using your smartphone, laptop or desktop computer.
While most banks limit remote check deposits to mobile apps for most individuals, Barclays offers a feature called Deposit Checks that allows you to upload a picture of the check from your desktop or laptop computer. So even if you don’t have a smartphone available, you can take a digital photo or scan of the check and upload it from your computer. This includes third-party checks, money orders and foreign checks, making Barclays one of the most flexible for remote check deposits.
Barclays offers accounts for minors, which gives young people under 18 years of age the ability to deposit checks, log in and view account balances, and view account activity with their own username and password. Withdrawals must be entered by a joint account-holding adult.
Barclays has a useful tool to help you create a CD ladder, which is a series of CDs with maturity dates spread over time. This allows you to get faster access to your money, should you ever need it, or you can close one CD with a limited interest penalty instead of losing interest on your entire CD balance.
Barclays works with most personal finance apps.
How Barclays Works
While Barclays Bank does not offer any branches for in-person banking or customer service, it offers some of the highest interest rates available today among any banks in the United States. Among major, nationwide banks, Barclays ranks in the top three.
Barclays’ savings account pays 1.50% APY, which is 0.11% lower than the current best paying savings account in the United States. That rate is much higher than the average savings account rate you’ll see from major brick-and-mortar banks. For comparison, Chase and Wells Fargo currently pay 0.01% on their basic savings accounts.
Barclays offers two types of accounts: an online savings account and online CD accounts.
Barclays Savings Account
Barclays Online Savings Account
The Barclays Online Savings Account is a standard, FDIC-insured savings account that is accessed primarily online. There is no minimum deposit required to open a new account. There are no monthly maintenance fees or fees for any regular activity on this account.
The current interest rate is 1.50% APY, which can change at any time with market interest rates. This tied for the eighth best savings account rate available today in the entire United States, according to Bankrate.
|Available For||Taxable, Custodial|
Barclays CD Rates
Barclays Online CDs
Barclays Online CD accounts are available for terms from three months to 60 months (five years). A three-month CD offers 0.35% APY as of this writing, and the 60-month CD offers 2.80% APY. Interest rates increase with CD term. Unlike a regular savings account that can have an interest rate change anytime, CD rates are locked from the point they are opened until maturity.
There are almost no fees from Barclays Bank. If you close a CD early or a deposit check is returned, then fees may apply. Because you can’t write checks from your account, you should never see any insufficient funds fees.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent Rates — Barclays' interest rates are among the best in the nation.
- Remote Check Deposits — There are many options for depositing checks remotely, including via mobile device and desktop.
- Easy Online Interface — Barclays provides easy self-service through online banking.
- No Fees — Fees are few and far between at Barclays.
- No Account Minimums — You don't need a minimum amount of cash in your accounts to start earning interest at an excellent rate.
- Limited Customer Support Options — In contrast to rival online banks, Barclays offers limited customer support options (no live chat, no branches, etc.).
- No ATM or Check Access — You can withdraw your funds only by electronic transfer or from another linked bank.
- Limited Account Options — Barclays offers no checking or money market accounts.
Barclays is far from the biggest and best-known bank in the United States, but it does one thing very well: online savings accounts. If you have simple online savings needs and just want a safe place to park your cash with a top interest rate, Barclays is perfect for your needs.
Barclays is best for emergency funds, down payments, and other large, long-term savings. However, it is not a full-service bank with checking and other accounts, so you can’t do all of your banking under one roof if you choose Barclays for your savings.