Got a Barclays bank account? Here’s why you may want to switch

Barclays will soon make a number of changes to its Blue Rewards scheme, all of which are bad news for customers. Here’s what you need to know.

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If you have a Barclays current account, it may soon be time to explore your switching options. That’s because the provider is making a number of changes to its popular ‘Blue Rewards’ scheme. Sadly, all of the changes are set to make customers worse off.

Here’s everything you need to know about the changes, plus information on accounts you can switch to.

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What is the Barclays Blue Rewards Scheme?

Blue Rewards‘ is a scheme Barclays offers to its current account customers. The scheme has been around for a number of years, though it is currently unavailable to those opening new accounts.

Right now, customers already signed up for Blue Rewards can earn a monthly reward of up to £7. That’s because the scheme pays out £3.50 for each direct debit paid out of the account each month (up to a maximum of two).

In addition, the scheme pays a £5 monthly reward if you have a Barclays mortgage, £1 if you have a loan through the bank, and 3% cashback if you have a Barclays home insurance policy. The scheme also pays £1.50 per month if you’re a Barclays life insurance policyholder or £5 if it includes critical illness cover. However, this payment is only available for the first 12 months of the policy.

All of these benefits are available as long as you pay at least £800 into the account each month. A £4 monthly fee also applies.

Under the current scheme, the £7 monthly direct debit reward makes it relatively easy to net a £3 profit each month, even if you don’t use any other Barclays products.

What changes is Barclays making to the Scheme?

Barclays has announced it is making three big changes to its Blue Rewards scheme from 1 March 2022. Here’s the lowdown:

  • The monthly fee is increasing from £4 per month to £5 per month.
  • The maximum direct debit reward is decreasing from £7 per month to £5 per month.
  • The mortgage reward is decreasing from £5 per month to £3 per month.

In addition to these changes, Barclays also says anyone who earns just one monthly direct debit reward (and doesn’t earn any other monthly rewards) will have their Blue Rewards account closed from March next year.

What do these changes mean for Barclays customers?

Despite Barclays claiming that its planned changes will be accompanied by ‘new customer benefits’ – that it has not yet revealed – it’s clear the Blue Rewards scheme will be far less generous from March 2022.

In fact, those who currently gain the basic £3 net profit each month, will soon see that completely disappear thanks to the increased fee, and the lower direct debit reward set to come in.

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What other bank accounts can you switch to?

With Barclays wielding the axe to its rewards scheme, if you have a current account with the bank, you may feel now’s the time to switch.

Thankfully, there are a host of decent bank accounts available right now, whether you’re after a juicy switch bonus or ongoing cashback. Just remember that if you chase a switch bonus, always explore the full switching terms.

Santander 123 Lite

If you’re looking for an account that pays cashback, Santander’s 123 Lite account pays 1-3% cashback on bills, up to £15 per month, for a £2 monthly fee.

The account pays 3% cashback on water, 2% on energy bills, and 1% if you have a Santander mortgage. To earn the cashback, you must pay in at least £500 each month, pay out at least two direct debits, and use its digital banking service.

Halifax Reward

The Halifax Reward account pays a £5 monthly reward if you pay at least £1,500 into the account each month and spend £500 per month on your Halifax debit card. Alternatively, you can keep £5,000 in the account. 

If you wish, you can swap the £5 reward for a monthly Vue Cinema Ticket, two Rakuten TV rentals or three digital magazines. As an added boon, you can also bag £125 if you switch to this account.

First Direct 1st Account

While it doesn’t boast ongoing perks, First Direct’s 1st Account usually scores highly on customer service.

Added to that, the account offers a generous £250 0% overdraft. Customers switching to the account may also be able to score a free £100 switch bonus.

Nationwide FlexDirect

Nationwide’s FlexDirect account pays 2% interest on up to £1,500 saved for a year. This is far above interest rates offered on normal easy access savings accounts. What’s more, the account offers a decent 0% overdraft.

If you’re an existing Nationwide customer, you can also get £125 for switching, or £100 if you aren’t. 

Looking for more bank switching help? See our article outlining eight questions to ask before opening a current account.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be considered so you should consider taking independent financial advice.

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