Barclays Online Savings review
Barclays Online Savings is a simple, no-frills and no-fees savings account with a competitive interest rate. It’s a good savings vehicle if you already have a separate checking account and you’re comfortable with online banking; it’s not the right fit if you’re looking for a hybrid checking/savings account or prefer in-person banking.
- Saving money
- Minimal fees
- Online banking
A savings account is a great place to park cash for an emergency fund, a short-term financial goal, or a down payment on a house or car. Online savings accounts typically offer higher interest rates and less fees than the savings accounts offered by traditional brick-and-mortar banks, and Barclays Online Savings is one of the most competitive available.
What is Barclays Online Savings?
Barclays Bank PLC, the company behind Barclays Online Savings, is a London-based international bank launched in 1690. Today, the company offers banking services to 48 million customers worldwide, and its U.S. division is based in Philadelphia.
Because the company has an American arm, US customers don’t need to deal with currency conversion or any complicated tax scenarios when they open an account. Although Barclays Bank began in the U.K., it’s not considered a foreign bank for American consumers.
Additionally, much like any other traditional bank, Barclays deposits enjoy FDIC Insurance coverage of up to $250,000 per depositor.
How does the Barclays Online Savings account work?
Barclays Online Savings accounts are online only; accountholders don’t have access to brick-and-mortar bank branches. Not having bank branches allows Barclays to keep overhead costs minimal, and those savings are passed on to customers in the form of a high interest rate (currently 0.90% APY) and minimal fees.
Barclays Online Savings accountholders can set up automatic deposits or one-time transfers from an external bank account. The account also supports remote deposits, in which you can upload a photo of a check from your computer or mobile device. Accountholders also have the option of making deposits by mailing checks to Barclays’ office in Illinois.
The account allows unlimited withdrawals and transfers, and customer service reps are available from 8:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m. EST seven days a week.
How much does the Barclays Online Savings account cost?
The Barclays Online Savings account has no monthly maintenance fees or annual account fees. Its most notable fee is a $5 non-sufficient funds fee — in other words, a penalty if you overdraw your account. But keep in mind a $5 fee is far less than the $30+ mainstream banks charge when you overdraw a savings or checking account. Other fees of note include:
- Returned deposit: $5
- Cashier’s check: $5
- Paper statement copy: $0.5
- Rush document delivery: $25
Barclays Online Savings account features
- 0.9% APY
- No monthly maintenance fees
- No minimum opening deposit
- Remote check deposits
- Access to customer service seven days a week
- Mobile app and desktop access
Some particularly good use cases for a Barclays Online Savings account include:
Meeting short-term savings goals
Are you saving for something that costs a few hundred dollars? The Barclays account makes for a great sinking fund. You can transfer a small amount of money into the account each month, and in a few months you’ll meet your savings goal.
Creating an emergency fund
A high-yield savings account like the Barclays Online Savings account is a great place to build an emergency fund. It offers a competitive interest rate, but your funds are still easily accessible if you need them quickly (unlike less liquid avenues, like investing in stocks).
Gathering a down payment
If you’re saving up for a down payment on a home or a car, a high-yield savings account is one of the best places to stash your cash. Unlike investing accounts, where you run the risk of losing your hard-earned funds, the money stored in a Barclays Online Savings account is guaranteed to be safe and accessible even in economically uncertain times.
Who is the Barclays Online Savings account for?
The Barclays Online Savings account is a great fit for those who are comfortable banking online and who already have a checking account with another financial institution.
Who shouldn’t use the Barclays Online Savings account?
The Barclays Online Savings account might not be a good fit for those who are accustomed to banking in person at brick-and-mortar branches, and who are not comfortable banking online.
As a bona fide savings account, it’s not an ideal solution for those seeking a hybrid checking-savings account to handle all their banking needs.
Pros & cons
- Competitive APY — 0.9% is right up there with the best high-yield savings accounts offered in the U.S.
- No account minimums of any kind — Some banks require a minimum balance to open an account or earn at their highest interest rate.
- Minimal fees — You won’t pay any fees provided you use the account as it’s intended, and fees for atypical uses are low.
- Customer service — Barclays reps are available seven days a week.
- Online only — No physical branch or ATM locations in the United States.
- Limited features — No checking account capabilities.
- No chat or email support — Service reps are available by phone or postal correspondence only.
Barclays Online Savings vs. competitors
Before signing up for a Barclays Online Savings account, it’s a good idea to check out some of the other high-yield savings accounts competing for your deposits. Here’s a comparison of Barclays with two strong alternatives.
Chase Savings℠ offers a very low APY, and it’s therefore not competitive with Barclays for long-term savings. However, Chase from time to time will offer an impressive $150 welcome bonus to applicants that open up a savings account.
To get the $150 bonus you must make at least $10,000 in deposits within the first 20 days of opening the account. It would take a little over two years to earn the equivalent amount in interest on a $10k balance in the Barclays account.
Unlike the Barclays account, Chase Savings℠ technically has a $5 monthly account fee. But it can be waived in a variety of ways, the simplest way being to maintain a balance of $300 or more in your account.
Chime’s APY is lower than Barclays’, but it might be a good fit for those looking for an account with spending and saving functionality. Chime comes with a debit card, bill pay, and it supports both direct deposits and remote check deposits.
Chime also offers features that allow you to automate your savings. You can choose to round up your purchase amounts to the nearest dollar and deposit the difference into your savings balance, and you can automatically transfer a percentage of your paycheck into your savings.
The Barclays Online Savings account is one of the simplest tools available for saving money. It offers a high yield on your savings and does so without the need to keep a minimum balance or worry about fees.
Barclays isn’t the best option if you enjoy having access to in-person banking, or if you’re looking for a mixed account that offers features for both checking and savings. But if you’re comfortable with a fully online banking experience, it’s a great option.
Chime Disclosure - Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.
1Chime cannot guarantee when files are sent by the IRS and funds can be made available.
^Early access to direct deposit funds depends on payer