Barclays Bank Review: High-Yield Savings Accounts and Not Much Else

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Online banking is a great way to manage your money without having to schlep to a brick-and-mortar location. Managing your money through an online vendor can also help you avoid many of the monthly fees associated with traditional banks.

Many digital-first banks offer a full range of financial products, including regular deposit accounts. But if you’ve already got your checking account taken care of, you might still be in the market for high-yield savings options. Barclays offers two competitive online savings accounts that can help you achieve your medium- and long-term financial goals.

That said, Barclays does not currently offer a basic checking account, so it’s not a viable option for an all-inclusive online banking experience. And if you’re committed to managing your finances via mobile, Barclays leaves a lot to be desired. Here’s what we love — and don’t love — about Barclays online banking.

Barclays Bank Review: The Pros and Cons

What we like:

  • Neither Barclays’ online savings accounts nor their CDs carry monthly fees, minimum opening deposits, or monthly deposit maximums.
  • The Barclays 1.60% APY savings account interest is much higher than the national average, as is its 1.85% APY CD rate.

What we don’t like:

  • No checking account option means you’ll still need another bank account.
  • Barclays doesn’t offer business banking, either.
  • Although Barclays’ interest rates are significant, other banks in the digital-first space are competitive — and offer a wider range of financial products.
  • The digital app is, per user reviews, inconvenient to the point of unusability.

Checking

Barclays doesn’t offer a checking account at this time.

Savings

Grade: B

Barclays online savings account offers an interest rate of 1.60% APY — which is significantly better than the national average of 0.07%, per the FDIC

However, other online banking options boast similar (or better) interest rates while also offering checking account options and other financial products. For instance, Simple’s high-yield account earns up to 1.75% APY and is also tied to a regular deposit account.

Barclays also offers CDs, which are a good option for longer-term savings goals. Barclays’ CDs come in 3-, 4-, and 5-year term lengths, and each carries a fixed interest rate of 1.85% APY. (The national average for these is 0.45%, 0.49%, and 0.58% APY, also per the FDIC.)

Neither the savings accounts nor the CDs carry any opening deposit minimums or monthly fees. However, CDs must be funded within 14 days to avoid closure, and early withdrawal penalties may apply if you take out the funds before the term is over. 

Barclays also assesses a Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) fee for savings account overdrafts, which is $5 per item at the time of this writing (with no listed per-day minimums).

Small Business Banking

Barclays doesn’t offer small business banking, though it does have a separate corporate banking entity.

Convenience

Grade: B-

Although Barclays is primarily an online bank, it does offer a few in-person branches, both in the U.S. and abroad. Barclays has one branch in each of the following states:

  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • Texas

You can see a full list of its international branches at this webpage.

However, you don’t need to visit in person to access Barclays’ customer service. Its customer service phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET toll-free at (888) 710-8756. (The automated system is available 24/7.)

Mobile Banking

Grade: D

Although Barclays doesn’t offer a wide range of financial products, it does give its users the opportunity to manage their finances via a mobile app available for both Android and Apple users. However, it’s worth noting that the U.S. version of the app carries a surprisingly low rating of 2.3 stars on the App Store, and just 1.6 stars on Google Play.

Barclays’ apps offer users mobile check deposit, the ability to initiate one-time transfers to linked accounts, and an account overview so you can keep track of your balance. However, users complain of multiple glitches and bugs, as well as latency and login errors.

Our Bank Review Methodology

The Penny Hoarder’s editorial team considers more than 25 factors in its bank account reviews, including fees, minimum daily balance requirements, APYs, overdraft charges, ATM access, number of physical locations, customer service support access and mobile features. 

To determine how we weigh each factor, The Penny Hoarder surveyed 1,500 people to find out what banking features matter most to you. 

For example, we give top grades to banks that have low fees because our survey showed that this is the No. 1 thing you look for in a bank. Because more than 70% of you said you visited a physical bank branch last year, we consider the number of brick-and-mortar locations. But more than one-third of you use mobile apps for more than 75% of your banking, so digital features are also considered carefully.

Ratings are assigned across the following categories:

  • Personal checking accounts
  • Personal savings accounts
  • Small-business banking
  • Convenience
  • Mobile banking

Credit card and loan products are not currently considered.

Jamie Cattanach’s work has been featured at Fodor’s, Yahoo, SELF, The Huffington Post, The Motley Fool and other outlets. Learn more at www.jamiecattanach.com.