Overview: Everything to Know About Barclays UK (Accounts, Savings, History, Services)

Barclays Bank UK is one of the biggest High Street banks in the country, but does that make it one of the best? With dozens of Barclays reviews on the internet, it can be hard work sifting through them all.

Our Barclays review aims to answer all of your most pertinent questions, including:

  • What is the history of Barclays UK?
  • What services does Barclays provide?
  • What benefits do the current and savings accounts offer?
  • What do Barclays Bank reviews say about their products and services?

Our Barclays review aims to give you all of the information you need to make an informed decision on this UK bank. Are their current accounts or savings products right for you? Is Barclays Bank UK the right place for your money? Are there any warning signs to look out for?

We will delve into the true ins and outs of Barclays UK, so that you don’t have to! Starting with how they became one of the biggest High Street banks in the UK and around the world.

barclays uk

Image Source: BigStock

The History of Barclays Bank UK

Barclays UK has a long and interesting history, which is thought to date all the way back to 1690. It began with John Freame and Thomas Gould, who were goldsmith bankers in Lombard Street, London. The name Barclays Bank UK didn’t become associated with the business until much later, when John Freame’s son-in-law joined the business.

James Barclay became a partner in 1736, before the bank moved to another property in Lombard Street. Barclays UK had a sign bearing a black spread eagle above its offices, which is a symbol still used in their branding today.

During the first half of the 1900s, Barclays Bank UK expanded its reach by acquiring dozens of small, English banks. Fast forward to today and the business has operations in around 50 countries, with over 48 million customers.

Barclays UK has had some unique moments in their long history, including some ‘world firsts’:

  • Becoming the first UK bank to hire a female bank manager (1958)
  • Launching the first UK credit card (1966)
  • Deploying the world’s first cash dispenser (1967)
  • Establishing the first ever debit card in the UK the Connect card (1987)

While we don’t have any Barclays Bank reviews from the 1900s, we can only imagine that the bank was popular at the time. As an innovative company, it seems as though they were keen to stay one step ahead of the competition. Those who wanted to be ‘the first’ to have credit or debit cards, are likely to have banked with Barclays UK.

What else has changed over Barclays Bank UK’s last 325 years? From humble beginnings at Lombard Street to a multinational financial establishment, let’s see what services Barclays Bank UK now offers.

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Barclays UK Services

Barclays Bank offers a wide range of financial services, along with the current and savings accounts. Perhaps covering such a wide array is what leads to such positive Barclays Bank reviews around the internet. Products and services include:

  • Loans, including lending for specific purchases, such as car loans
  • Credit card products, including Barclaycard Initial (a specific product to help build your credit score up)
  • Various insurances, including travel, home, and life insurance policies
  • A variety of mortgage products, including those for first-time buyers
  • Mobile and online banking
  • Free security software for all those using Barclays UK online banking
  • Helpful advice and guides, including their own LifeSkills section for young people

It seems as though Barclays Bank UK doesn’t just stop at providing current and savings accounts for its customers. Their wide range of products and services ensures that you can keep all of your financial services in one place. This is extremely beneficial for those who don’t like shopping around for things like insurance or mortgages.

Barclays Review: Current Accounts

Barclays Bank has a plethora of current account products to suit specific needs. There are two regular current accounts, three for students and graduates, two for children and young people, and two foreign currency specific.

Like we said, there are a lot! Let’s take a look at a couple of them in more detail.

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Barclays UK Bank Account

This is a flexible current account, offering pretty basic features. The benefits of this current account include:

  • Open the account online
  • Receive a sort code and account number straight away
  • Apply for an overdraft of up to £5,000 – dependant on status
  • 7-day switch service if you’re moving over from another bank
  • A debit card, which can be personalized with a photo
  • Mobile banking
  • The option to add Barclays Blue Rewards
  • The ability to add features such as home, travel or technology insurance for a premium

The drawback of this account is that you receive absolutely no interest on any money in your account. While current accounts generally aren’t used for savings, there are many providers who do offer at least some kind of interest rate to entice customers.

The biggest bonus is their Barclays Blue Rewards scheme, which you can add to your current account for £3 per month. Once signed up, you’ll get bonuses, rewards and cashback for using other Barclays products. You can also get cashback when shopping online with any of their retail partners.

Barclays Bank UK Premier Current Account

For those who require a little more from their bank, the Barclays Premier Account seems to tick a few extra boxes. Products and services include:

  • Apply for a fee-free overdraft of up to £1,000
  • Up to £1,000 daily cash machine withdrawals
  • The option to add Premier Rewards and Barclays Blue Rewards
  • Exclusive Premier products, including mortgages and savings accounts
  • 24/7 dedicated Premier customer service team
  • Bespoke Individual Reviews on your finances

Again, this Barclays UK account has no interest rate, so it would be pretty useless for savings. You also need to be paying in a minimum of £75,000 annually in order to qualify. Alternatively, you’ll need to have saved £100,000 with Barclays before applying.

Barclays Bank UK Student Additions Account

barclays bank uk

Image Source: Barclays Bank UK

Those in full-time education could most certainly do with a fee-free overdraft. Luckily, that’s exactly what the Barclays Student Additions current account offers. Features include:

  • Up to £3,000 overdraft, with the first £2,000 fee-free (subject to status)
  • No monthly fee
  • Cashback from popular retailers with their SmartSpend service
  • The ability to add features such as mobile phone and travel insurance
  • A personalized, contactless debit card

For students, this current account seems like a good deal, particularly with the added benefits such as SmartSpend cashback. You must be studying in the UK and use this as your main bank account to be eligible.

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BarclayPlus – The Children’s Bank Account

We think it’s important that banks offer products and services for children too. This account is for 11- to 15-year-olds, to help teach children the value of money. It includes:

  • 0.25% interest on every pound in the account
  • The account can be opened with just £1
  • Barclays UK mobile banking app
  • A cash card with £50 a day withdrawal limit
  • OR a debit card to shop online and in-store (£300 daily limit on cash machine withdrawals)
  • The ability to personalize the card with any photo

It may seem odd that the only current account to offer interest is the children’s one; however, it’s a great product for kids who want to save while learning more about the value of money.

Barclays Review: Savings Accounts

While the interest rates on their current accounts leave a lot to be desired, Barclays Bank does have a wide range of savings products to make up for it. This includes ISA products, bonds, investment accounts, and various savings accounts. Let’s take a look at their most popular savings products.

  • Everyday Saver0.25% AER/gross per annum variable. On balances from £1 to £10 million. Account can be accessed instantly via online, mobile, telephone or in branch.
  • Instant Cash ISA – Varying interest rates depending on the amount you have in your account. From 0.8% AER/tax-free per annum for balances up to £14,999 – up to 1% AER/tax-free per annum for balances of £30,000 and above. Instant access to the funds.
  • 8 Month Flexible Cash ISA1.10% AER/tax-free per annum for balances between £1 and £1 million. 18-month fixed rate and up to 3 free cash withdrawals (up to 10% of balance).

We found Barclays Bank UK savings accounts to offer some of the lowest interest rates on the market, but this may also be due to recent interest rate changes in the UK. If you don’t mind locking away your money for a while, the 18 Month Flexible Cash ISA seems like the best route for many savers.

Barclays Bank Reviews

So, we know what this bank offers and even about its extensive history. However, what do its customers say? There are plenty of conflicting Barclays reviews around the internet, from 1-star customer service nightmares to glowing 5-star testimonials.

According to TrustPilot, 84.5% of the 322 Barclays Bank reviews are a measly 1-star. Many people mentioned poor customer service, both on the phone and in branch. It seems as though the majority of those complaining have been with the bank for quite some time.

Barclays UK also recently hit the headlines after a 90-year-old widow found she would have to pay £177,750 to pay off the mortgage on her home. A home that was worth just £22,500 when purchased in 1989.

So, are there any positives to banking with big-name brand Barclays? Well, there are some positive Barclays reviews out there — even if they are hard to find. Just under 10% of those reviewing on TrustPilot have given the bank 4 or 5 stars. Many have mentioned how quick and easy it is to set up their bank account, which is certainly a plus.

Barclays UK is also one of the first banks to introduce the recent interest rate cuts to their mortgages. While other High Street lenders may be dragging their feet, Barclays sprang into action to ensure their customers were getting the best deal. Despite the poor customer ratings, it seems as though they really do care.


Barclays Bank UK is one of the oldest banks in the country and has some of the most innovative products on the market. However, they’re also thought to be one of the most complained about banks in the country, too.

It seems as though a refocus on customer service training could really up the standard of this financial establishment. With a little more improvement in the way they treat their customers, they could easily turn those 1-star reviews into fives.

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