Barclays Bank is one of the largest banks in the UK. Its origins can be dated back to the 16th century; today it has over 17 million customers and more high street branches than any other UK bank. Barclays boasts a wide selection of accounts and products, while its mobile app and online services are some of the best on the market.
With more and more high street banks losing their customers to the world of digital banks, what is Barclays doing to maintain its widespread appeal? After all, its customer service reviews aren’t the best around, yet it’s one of the most powerful corporations in the world. Let’s take a closer look at Barclays and see if it’s the best bank to trust with your money.
About Barclays Bank
How old is Barclays?
Its origins go all the way back to the 16th century when it originated as a goldsmith banking business. After several decades of mergers and acquisitions, it traded as Barclay, Bevan, Benning and Tritton for over 100 years and subsequently Barclays and Co in 1896.
- 1690 - John Freame and Thomas Gould started trading as goldsmith bankers.
- 1736 - James Barclay, the son-in-law of Freame becomes a partner.
- 1776 - The bank becomes Barclay, Bevan and Bening, and later Barclay, Bevan, Bening and Tritton in 1785.
- 1896 - Several British banks unite under the banner Barclays and Co.
- 1958 - Barclays becomes the first UK bank to appoint a female bank manager.
- 1966 - Barclays launches the first credit card in the UK - Barclaycard.
- 1967 - Barclays deploys the world’s first cash machine.
- 1969 - Barclays fails to merge with Lloyds Bank but later merges with Martins Bank.
- 1987 - Barclays launches the Connect Card, the first debit card in the United Kingdom.
- 2000 - Barclays takes over Woolwich plc but keeps the Woolwich brand name.
- 2005 - Barclays opens its head office in Canary Wharf, London.
- 2007 - Barclays is forced to borrow £1.6bn from the Bank of England to settle debts to other banks.
- 2012 - Barclays buys ING Direct UK.
- 2015 - Barclays becomes the first bank in the UK to accept Bitcoin.
Who is the owner of Barclays?Unlike some other banks which form part of a larger banking group, Barclays plc is its own public liability company. It has various divisions and subsidiaries throughout the world, and its CEO is James “Jes” Staley.
Barclays in the news
It may be the most powerful corporation in the world, but Barclays hasn’t been without its share of controversy and bad press.
- 1998 - Barclays pays £3.6m to Jews whose assets were seized from French branches during World War II after senior officials at a Barclays branch in Paris worked with invading forces during the German occupation of France. They provided the names of Jewish employees and about one hundred Jewish bank accounts. The branch manager remained employed with the bank until he retired in the 1960s.
- 2001 - Barclays retires its ‘The Big Bank’ slogan after it closes 171 branches but doubles its Chairman’s salary, causing a huge PR embarrassment.
- 2004 - Barclays takes over the sponsorship of the Premier League.
- 2009 - The bank is accused of violating international anti-money laundering laws and settles with the government and fined $298m.
- 2012 - Barclays is forced to pay £500m in tax that it had tried to avoid paying.
Is Barclays a good bank?
There are many factors that determine if a bank is good or not, and not everyone has the same priorities for choosing a bank account. Some people value customer service, whereas others find low rates on their loan or credit card to be the most important factor.
Barclays has been involved in a fair few scandals in its time, but this is not uncommon for a high street bank. The likes of HSBC and Lloyds Bank have all had their share of bad press too.
Barclays customer service is rated 1.5/5 on Trustpilot. 87% of customers rate its customer service as poor or bad, and only 11% rate it as great or excellent.
If great customer service is important in deciding which bank to choose, then perhaps a digital bank is more suitable. They have some excellent reviews and have become hugely popular in the UK.
If low-interest rates and a good variety of bank account options are more important to you, then read on to see what Barclays offers.
Barclays plc has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It also has a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
The largest shareholder of Barclays is Qatar Holdings, and it has been claimed that Barclays is the most powerful transnational corporation in the world in terms of ownership, corporate control, financial stability, and market competition, with assets worth £1.133 trillion.
Barclays customer service
If you need to speak to an advisor to discuss a new or existing account, then you can contact Barclays via:
- Live chat
- In branch
Is Barclays customer service 24 hours?Most of Barclays’ customer service departments are open 24/7, including its contact centre, live chat, and internet banking.
Live chat gives you the ability to speak with an advisor from your computer using a messaging system on the Barclays website. We have put together all the details needed to contact Barclays, including how to access its Live Chat service.(coming soon)
How to make a complaint
There are a few different ways to file a complaint with Barclays. It has an internal complaints process that you should follow to ensure your complaint is dealt with by the right department. It also has an escalation process if you are not happy with the outcome of your initial complaint.
Find the best contact information for Barclays for new and existing customers (coming soon)
Barclays Bank boasts the largest number of high street branches than any other UK bank, with about 1,600 in operation. Throughout the world, it has a staggering 4,750 branches spread over 55 countries.
These are impressive numbers, especially for the UK which has seen over a third of its high street branches close since 2015. Barclays has closed over 300 branches during this period, but this is the lowest amount of closures out of the Big Four UK banks, with Natwest being the worst offender, closing over 600 of its branches.
Most branches are open 9:30am-4:30pm Monday to Friday, 9:30am-2pm on Saturdays, and closed on Sundays. Barclays closes its branches earlier than its competitors. However, opening times vary from branch to branch, and branches in city centres often remain open until 6pm during the week.
My nearest branch
You can visit your nearest Barclays branch to manage your existing account or open a new one with one of its advisors. Most branches also have self-serving machines allowing you to pay bills, withdraw cash, print statements, and more.
To find your nearest branch, you can use the Barclays Branch Finder.
Report a lost card
If you have lost your debit or credit card or someone has stolen it, you need to contact Barclays customer service and report it straight away. Barclays will cancel your card and order you a replacement.
You can report cards lost or stolen 24 hours a day, seven days a week by contacting Barclays customer service.
Barclays accounts and benefits
17 million people have a current account or credit card with Barclays, so it is no surprise that it has a large range of products available to suit most people’s requirements.
What types of bank accounts are there?
Barclays has credit and debit accounts available for personal and business banking, and premium accounts that reward customers with rewards and benefits. Those who may struggle to open a bank account due to a poor credit history have the option of a Barclays Basic Current Account.
Barclays has eight different current accounts to choose from depending on your requirements and eligibility.
|Barclays Current Account||Features||Eligibility|
|Barclays Bank Account|| Cashback from retailers.
Create your own debit card.
|Barclays Basic Current Account||A basic account with a debit card.||Over 18.
|Student Additions Account|| Cashback from retailers.
Create your own debit card.
Overdraft available which can be increased with each year of study.
Studying as an undergraduate or higher apprentice for more than 2 years, or more than 2 years as a postgraduate.
|International Student Additions Account|| Cashback from retailers.
Create your own debit card.
Live in the UK
Studying as an undergraduate or higher apprentice for more than 2 years, or more than 2 years as a postgraduate
|Higher Education Account|| Cashback from retailers.
Create your own debit card.
Overdraft available which decreases each year after graduation.
Completed full-time higher education in the UK within the last 3 years.
|Children’s Bank Accounts||Create your own debit card.||11-15 years old|
|Young Person’s Bank Account||Create your own debit card.||16-17 years old.|
|Foreign Current Account||Bank in the currency of your choice.||An existing Barclays current account.|
A joint account is available which you can apply for as part of the application process. If you are already a Barclays customer, you can apply to change your current account to a joint account using online or telephone banking, or by visiting your nearest branch.
For those who like to receive a few additional perks and benefits with their bank account, then a Barclays Premier account might be a good option.
Premier accounts come with some excellent benefits, including:
- Premier Rewards and Barclays Blue Rewards.
- Fee-free overdraft of up to £1,000.
- Withdraw up to £1,000 per day from ATMs.
- Exclusive black debit card.
- Fee-free international payments.
- Exclusive Premier products.
- Access to a 24/7 Premier relationship team.
Some banks offer similar premier services to Barclays. However, they often come with a monthly account fee. With Barclays, it is free to have a Premier account as long as you meet its criteria of:
- Having an annual gross income of £75,000 or more paid into your Barclays current account.
- Or, have more than £100,000 saved or invested with Barclays.
Compare the best bank accountsStill unsure if Barclays is the right bank for you? Then why not compare the best bank accounts to see what other options are available.
Besides personal banking, Barclays also has accounts available to businesses, including start-ups. In fact, Barclays has won the Business Start-up Bank of the Year award three times.
With a Barclays business account, you receive:
- Dedicated business customer support.
- Internet and mobile banking.
- Specialist support team.
- Barclays invoicing services.
- International payments.
Business customers can access various loans, savings, and investment options and a support team to help your business grow.
There are six different Barclays credit cards, called Barclaycards, to choose from. A Barclaycard is available for new and existing customers.
Balance transfer cards, cashback cards, and platinum cards are all available with various benefits, such as 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers.
Barclays also offers the Barclaycard Forward account, which is a credit card designed for those looking to build up their credit history.
Mortgages and loans
Barclays has a wide selection of mortgages available to help you get onto the property ladder, re-mortgage your existing property or switch mortgage providers.
Personal loans, car loans, debt consolidation loans, home improvement loans, and top-up loans are all available.
Saving money with Barclays is easy, and it has a variety of savings options to help you reach your goals.
ISA accounts are available, including Help to Buy, instant cash, and flexible cash accounts. Savings accounts are also available, including an online savings account, children's savings account, and premier options.
Additionally, Bonds and investments are available to eligible customers.
Some savings accounts require you to deposit a certain amount of money to open the account or deposit a regular amount each month. However, with Barclays, there are options that have no minimum deposit or monthly saving requirements.
If you need an overdraft with your account, Barclays offers them with nearly all of its accounts.
An overdraft of up to £5,000 is available with most accounts. However, some overdrafts come with a daily fee. Sometimes this can be up to £1.50 for each day you use your overdraft outside of the fee-free amount.
We always advise checking the eligibility requirements before applying for an overdraft or other credit facilities such as credit cards, loans, or mortgages. It is always a good idea to shop around and compare before deciding.
We often see banks as all take and no give. To curb this opinion, more and more high street banks are now offering various benefits and rewards.
Barclays Blue Rewards
Blue Rewards are available on all Barclays current accounts. Barclays gives its customers cash rewards when they meet certain criteria or open additional Barclays products.
To activate Blue Rewards, you will need to:
- Pay in at least £800 to your Barclays account each month.
- Pay a £4 monthly fee.
Once you have joined Barclays Blue Rewards, you will automatically receive cash rewards into a Rewards Wallet, which you can access and manage via online banking or the Barclays app.
Some examples of the cashback rewards you can receive are:
- £3.50 for each of the first two direct debits you pay each month.
- £5 a month if you have or take out a residential mortgage.
- £3 a month when you take out Barclays buildings and content insurance.
- £1 a month if you have or take out a personal loan.
- £5 a month if you take out life insurance with critical illness cover.
Although it is always nice to have some extra money in your account, the Barclays Blue Rewards only appear worthwhile if you plan on taking out multiple Barclays products and services.
Many digital banks offer a variety of benefits, such as travel insurance, phone insurance, and cashback, that don’t depend on you opening additional accounts with them.
Pingit is a mobile payment service by Barclays which enables you to send and receive payments to anyone in the UK with just a mobile phone number.
Similar to a digital bank, you can order a prepaid debit card so you can spend the money in your Pingit account online and in stores. You can use the Pingit app to check your balance, send and request payments, and manage your account.
Pingit is available for free to UK residents over the age of 16.
Whenever you use your Barclays bank account to make a purchase at select retailers, it will reward you with up to 10% cashback paid directly into your account.
It is free to sign up for Cashback, and the only eligibility criteria are that you need to be signed up for online banking or mobile banking.
You can earn Cashback rewards at retailers such as Just Eat, Boots, iTunes, and WHSmith.
How to open a Barclays account
To get up and running with a new account, you will need to meet the eligibility criteria. For most Barclays accounts, you will need to be:
- Over 18 years old; and
- A UK resident
The exception to the above is if you wish to open a Barclays Children’s or Young Person’s account, for which you don't need to be over the age of 18.
Barclays may require you to pass a credit check for some account or services, such as overdrafts or credit cards. If you fail its credit check, Barclays may suggest an alternative account for you, such as the Barclays Basic Current Account.
Open a Barclays bank account todayApply now
Switch to Barclays
If you want to switch your current account with a different provider to Barclays, then you can use the Current Account Switch Guarantee.
What is the Current Account Switch Guarantee?The Current Account Switch Service is a free service that enables you to switch your current account from one bank to another. The service takes seven days, and it moves all of your incoming and outgoing payments and current balance over to your new account for you.
To take advantage of the Current Account Switch Guarantee, you will need to let Barclays know that you wish to use the service during or after your application. Barclays will get everything moved over from your previous bank account and close it down for you, too.
Barclays will arrange for the following to be transferred from your old account to your new account:
- Your existing balance.
- Your incoming payments, such as your salary.
- Your outgoing payments, such as your direct debits and standing orders.
Any payments accidentally made to your old account will be automatically redirected to your new account and Barclays will contact the sender to give them your new account details.
If you don’t want your old account closed down, then you can request a partial switch. This isn’t covered by the Current Account Switch Guarantee and takes a little longer than seven days to complete. You will also need to move your incoming and outgoing payments to your new account yourself.
Using your Barclays account
Thanks to Barclays’ wide variety of online services and numerous high street branches, your account is always available for you to access, whether it is to pay a bill, set up a standing order, checking your balance, or making withdrawals.
When you first open a Bank account with Barclays, it will ask you to create an account for its online banking service. If you already have a Barclays account but are not registered for online banking, then you can do so on the Barclays website.
Once you are set up, you can access your account 24/7 using Barclays online banking. You will have constant access to your account information and many banking services.
Find out how to get registered and use Barclays Online Banking.(coming soon)
Telephone banking is available 24/7 including public holidays. Similar to internet banking, telephone banking gives you the ability to check your balance, make payments, and manage your account.
Find the best contact information for Barclays for new and existing customers (coming soon)
As with most major banks, Barclays also has a mobile app available for you to manage your account.
You will need to register for internet banking to use the mobile app, but once you are all set up, you can use the Barclays app in the same way as internet banking, meaning you can access your account on the go with no need for a computer or phone.
The app also has inbuilt budgeting tools to help you see where you are spending your money and compare your spending behaviour against other months.
A great feature of the Barclays app is that it allows you to add current accounts from other banks to it, so you can view all of your account balances and recent transactions from within the one Barclays app.
The app is available to download for free from the App Store and Google Play Store where it is rated 4.8/5 and 4.4 respectively.
With a Barclays account, you can transfer money anywhere in the world in a variety of currencies, including Euros and US dollars.
It is free to send an international transfer using online banking or the Barclays mobile app, but there is a fee to send an international transfer from a Barclays branch or with telephone banking - starting from £15.
Using your account abroad
You can use your Barclays account while you are out of the country to make purchases and withdraw cash from an ATM anywhere that accepts Visa debit or Visa credit cards.
Some fees apply when you use your card abroad or if you buy something in the UK in a currency other the pound sterling, such as buying something from an international website in dollars.
|Fee||Debit Cards||Credit Cards|
|Non-Sterling transaction fee||2.75%||2.99%|
|Non-Sterling cash fee||£1.50||2.99%|
When using your card abroad there is also the exchange rate to take into consideration which fluctuates from day-to-day.
If you travel abroad frequently, there are other options available which avoid the fees that Barclays and other high street banks charge. Most digital banks have zero fees for using your card abroad, and some even give you the ability to have multiple accounts with them in different currencies for no extra cost.
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