Overview: Barclays Online Savings Account
If you are in the market for a new savings account, then you may have already come across the name Barclays and read some Barclays online bank reviews. Barclays, a prominent financial services company worldwide, has only recently expanded to the United States market. Based in London, the bank operates on a global scale: it has 7,000 branches in 50 countries, providing services for over 48 million clients.
The company’s guiding principles reflect its desire to help improve the world financially. Its official statement of purpose is “Helping people achieve their ambitions – in the right way,” and the bank ascribes to the following pillars of value: respect, integrity, service, excellence, and stewardship. Clearly, the bank has been doing some things right to become such a gargantuan, international entity.
You may have noticed that there are very few Barclays locations in the United States. In fact, there is only one branch – located in Delaware. Due to this lack of physical presence, you may feel some skepticism about using a bank with which your interaction is almost entirely online.
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Normally, the best way to find out information about a bank is to physically visit it. Since this is trickier to do in the case of Barclays, the next best option is to do some research and read Barclays online bank reviews.
However, many online reviews written by clients only inform you about an individual’s experience with the bank. The reviews can also be biased for many different reasons. The best place to start your research is a comprehensive review of the bank’s services.
This is where we come in. The purpose of this article is to provide you with a neutral, balanced Barclays savings account review. Our goal at AdvisoryHQ is to help you make smart financial decisions. We believe that the best way to accomplish that goal is to equip you with honest financial information, thereby giving you the power to decide wisely.
We will begin with a quick description of the history of the bank, followed by a detailed examination of the services it can provide. By the end of our Barclays online savings review, you should feel confident in making an informed decision about the bank’s savings options.
From Early British Beginnings to Global Expansion
Barclays prides itself on its longevity as a financial institution, as its founders started the business in 1690. Its modern logo, a blue eagle, is rooted in the original sign of the business in 1728, which was a black spread eagle. Over the years, Barclays acquired smaller English banks and grew in popularity.
Barclays expanded overseas in 1925, opening operations in South Africa, Egypt, and later, India. Over the next hundred years, it continued to grow into a leader in the international financial sector.
While it may be old, it can hardly be called old-fashioned. Barclays promotes the fact that it hired the first female bank manager in the UK. In addition to that, it accomplished a few other firsts: launching the first credit card in the UK, unveiling the world’s ATM machine, and being the first bank to accept the virtual currency bitcoin.
Now, its goal in the United States is to provide American customers with a hassle-free, online savings experience. Let’s continue on to explore the options available for US clients.
Financial Services at Barclays
Depending on where you are located around the world, Barclays offers different financial services. Due to this, it can be confusing to find accurate information about what services are offered in your area. If you are based in the US, it is necessary that you read a Barclays online savings account review specific to American customers – like this one!
For clients based in the United States, the bank’s primary services are online savings accounts and CDs. Officially known as the Barclays Bank of Delaware, the bank is a member of the FDIC, so the accounts are insured.
One important prerequisite to note about Barclays before we delve into the services offered is that in order to open an account, you must have a different external account with a US bank or finance company. Therefore, a Barclays account cannot be your first financial account.
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Online Savings Accounts
The online savings account option at Barclays has been lauded as an excellent option for those looking to exclusively open an account for savings. It was ranked third in the Huffington Post’s review of the 10 best savings accounts for 2015, based off of a list by GOBankingRates.com.
With a rate of 1.00% APY (annual percentage yield), Barclays offers one of the highest interest rates available. At the time of the rankings, it was only topped by MySavingsDirect and GE Capital Bank (1.05% APY).
However, at the time of this article, MySavingsDirect accounts now have an APY of 1.00% as well. The point of this statement is not to imply that one is better than another but to emphasize the importance of checking the most updated rates and fine print before you make a decision.
Compared to the national average of savings account interest in 2015, a low 0.06%, Barclays offers a competitive rate. However, the criteria for a good savings account are not based on APY alone. It is also crucial to consider the minimum opening deposit, any monthly fees, and daily balance requirements.
Barclays shines here, as well, by not requiring any minimum deposit to open an account and not charging any monthly maintenance fees. To further attract clients, the bank provides tools like the Savings Assistant to help you plan for your savings goals.
What we have listed above are the enticing components of a Barclays account. Now, a few details on a more technical note: deposits can be made through remote deposit (with a computer or smartphone), through direct deposit from another account, ACH transactions or by mailing in checks.
With a Barclays online savings account, you can make up to six transfers per month. Any more will incur fees (this is limited by federal law). Funds can be withdrawn to your external account, or they can be mailed as a check. If you need any assistance with your account or transaction, you can call customer support seven days a week, from 8 AM to 8 PM ET.
This would not be a thorough Barclays online banking review if we did not cover the online CDs that the bank offers. A CD (certificate of deposit) is a different kind of savings option that allows you to choose a specific time frame for the interest to accrue. Neither deposits nor withdrawals can be made during the term.
If you are considering a new CD, Barclays is definitely a good place to look. According to Forbes, online banks (like Barclays) and credit unions provide the best rates for CDs, in comparison to brick-and-mortar banking institutions.
Barclays offers 9 different terms for its CDs, ranging from 3 months to five years. The rates begin at 0.35% APY and increase to 2.05% for the longest term.
How does Barclays stack up? Doughroller.net has a handy tool for ranking CD options. In comparison to 32 other CDs, Barclays had the fourth best rate for a 5-year term and was the only one of the top 17 to require no minimum deposit.
Its website has a CD calculator to help you figure out your earnings ahead of time. It also provides a CD laddering tool.
CD laddering is a technique to split your CD deposit into multiple CDs, giving you more flexibility in regards to when you can withdraw your money. While CDs were more lucrative in the past than they are now, Bankrate.com asserts that CD laddering is still a viable way to earn additional interest. Barclays’s support of the technique demonstrates its consideration for its clients.
Upon maturity, CDs can either be withdrawn or renewed at the current APY. Interest is compounded daily and added to the account monthly, and it can also be paid out each month. Terminating a CD before the term has finished will subject you to fees.
Now that we have covered the two basic account options in our Barclays online savings review, we will move on to the specialty account option. For people who are serious about saving and can commit to some additional requirements, Barclays offers the Dream Account. While the Dream Account does subject the account holder to some strict rules, the payoff can be quite rewarding.
Like the Online Savings account, the Dream Account does not require any specific minimum opening balance or qualifications in order to open an account.
However, to sweeten the deal, there are two ways the account rewards you. When you make monthly deposits for six consecutive months, you get a 2.5% bonus on the interest earned over that period. The deposits have no minimum, but they cannot be higher than $1,000.
Similarly, when you do not make any withdrawals for a six-month period, you get another 2.5% bonus on interest from those months. Both rewards can be earned in the same time period, so you could enjoy a 5% bonus.
With this rewards system, the Dream Account allows you to benefit from making smart savings. In fact, it won Time Money’s award for Best Standalone Savings Account in 2014. If you are searching for a Barclay savings account review because you are serious about saving, then the Dream Account may be your best option at Barclays.
Accounts for Minors
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One final service to mention in our Barclay savings review before we discuss some customer feedback and draw our conclusions is the Account for Minors option. The Account for Minors allows kids to start learning the value of saving early and feel empowered for future financial success.
Both Online Savings accounts and Dream Accounts can be opened for minors under the age of 18. They must be opened jointly with the assistance of an adult account holder, such as a parent, grandparent or other guardian.
Children can get their own ID and password to check on their balance as well as make deposits and see their account activity. Withdrawals must be done by the adult accountholder.
With the same interest rates as the regular accounts, the Account for Minors lacks the increased interest rates of accounts for kids at other banks. DepositAccounts.com lists six banks with higher interest (up to 4.00%) for children’s and students’ accounts.
Barclays Online Savings Reviews and Customer Feedback
Some of the reasons that it can be tricky to find valid information about Barclays and Barclays online bank reviews is the huge amount of clients the bank has and its global presence. Reviewers tend to post comments on various websites without clarifying whether they are in the United States and using the online savings services or if they are located in other countries.
Therefore, it can take a lot of sifting until you get to a Barclays savings account review that is actually relevant. For example, on MyBankTracker.com, there are 30 reviews for Barclays Bank of Delaware with a total score of 2/5 stars (the website itself gives it an A+ rating).
This seems bleak, until you begin to read the reviews themselves. Upon close inspection, it is clear that many of the reviews are for services like the Barclaycard Credit Card, loans, and branch locations outside of the United States. As a result, the rating does not accurately reflect customer satisfaction for the online banking options.
The primary complaints on the reviews that are actually about the online savings accounts mention an inability to reset your password online, long transfer times, the $1,000 hard limit on the Dream Account, and some customer service problems.
With a little more digging, it is possible to find sites with more customer feedback that is about the savings accounts, thereby providing accurate ratings. On WalletHub.com, the bank has a 4.2/5 rating based off of 12 reviews that praise the customer service, ease of use, and high interest rates.
Another site, DepositAccounts.com, gives Barclays an “A” health rating and a 4/5 based on 77 customer reviews. A few of these reviews are for the wrong services, but overall, most of them are for the savings accounts. A Barclays savings review or two complain about a lackluster website and online errors, but most reviews express a satisfactory experience.
For an additional Barclays online banking review, check out this one from Nerd Wallet.
Analysis: Is Opening an Account at Barclays Online Banking Right for Me?
Making financial decisions is no easy task, but we hope that the compilation of the information in this Barclays online savings review can save you some time and effort.
In conclusion, Barclays Online Banking services are viable options for people in the United States who are looking for a new online savings or CD account. There are multiple factors to consider if it is the perfect one for you.
As mentioned above in this Barclays savings review, the Online Savings account has a great rate and few requirements. If you know that you can make consistent deposits and will not need to dip into your savings, the Dream Account can offer an even better rate and bonus rewards. The CDs are also quite competitive.
Some customers may not like the fact that the bank does not offer checking accounts, its presence is entirely online, and there is no email or 24/7 contact option for customer service. As mentioned earlier, Barclays accounts must link to an external account, so people who are opening their first account are not eligible.
The Dream Account also has strict requirements, and deposits over $1,000 will be rejected. The Account for Minors may be convenient, but it does not offer a great interest rate in comparison to other children’s accounts nationwide.
If the positives outweigh the negatives for your specific financial situation, then the online savings account options at Barclays might be just what you are looking for. If you have further questions, a call to a customer support representative or a visit to the bank’s website should hopefully clarify any concerns.
After finishing this Barclays online savings account review, we hope that you have a deeper understanding of the services the bank can provide for you and that you feel equipped to make a sound financial decision.
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