First look: Barclays Features Store current accountWhich? reviews new build-your-own packaged account
05 June 2012
Barclays has launched a new interactive tool which allows new and existing customers to build their own packaged account.
Under the new Feature Store scheme, customers can add bundles based on the lifestyle themes of home, technology and travel onto their current account at an extra cost.
Who is the Barclays Feature Store available to?
The bundles are available to those with a free bank account, as well as customers with the Barclays Premier current account that charges a £10 monthly fee.
The introduction of the Features Store means Barclays has withdrawn its Current Account Plus, Additions Active and Premier Life accounts to new customers. Existing customers with these accounts will be able to keep them.
Which? research shows that about 18% of members have packaged accounts as their main current account. Packaged accounts can be good value for those who use some or all of the benefits and are aware of their limitations. But most people would be better off opening a high-quality, free current account and shopping around for the add-ons.
The Barclays technology pack
So are the new Barclays current account bundles worth paying for? The technology pack includes mobile phone insurance for one handset for a sole account holder, or two handsets if it's a joint account. It also offers cover for gadgets such as laptops, digital cameras and MP3/MP4 players worth a combined retail value of £750. For Premier Account holders the insurance covers two mobile phones for a sole account holder or four for joint accounts, while the gadget cover is increased to £1,000. Barclays will only allow you to make one successful claim on your mobile phone every 12 months though.
The pack costs £7.50 per month, or £90 a year, regardless of which account a customer holds. While you can get iPhone cover for £5.99 on Protectyourbubble.com, adding gadgets on top is likely to push payments above £7.50.
Many people will find they already have insurance for their mobile phone through their home insurance policy. We think that opening a separate mobile phone insurance policy is usually a waste of money.
The Barclays travel pack
For standard account customers, the travel pack includes European family travel insurance cover for them and their partner (up to age 70), plus any children under 18 (or 23 if in full-time education).
The pack also includes RAC roadside and at-home assistance. The pack costs £8.50 per month, or £102 a year. We calculated that going direct to RAC and taking out travel insurance with Best Buy equivalent, Topnotchcover, will cost consumers about £8 more a year.
Barclays is also offering a Travel Plus pack which provides comprehensive breakdown cover, again with RAC, worldwide family travel insurance and airport lounge access. This costs £13.50 a month, or £162 a year, for standard account holders and £11.50, or £138 yearly, for those with a Premier account.
The Barclays home pack
For £6 a month, or £72 a year, Barclays’ current account customers can get satellite and TV cover, extended warranty cover, access to a PC troubleshooting service, a lifestyle manager and a legal and tax helpline.
No pressure to sign up to Barclays Feature Store?
Barclays, which only managed to score 54% in our last bank account customer satisfaction survey, has insisted staff will not be given incentives to upsell any features, and anyone who wants to keep their existing account as it is can do so. The Features Store is available online, in-branch or over the telephone.