How does Barclays' new rewards scheme compare? Bank account customers can earn up to £180 a year

15 April 2015

A Barclays bank ATM

Barclays is launching a new rewards programme which offers its customers up to £180 a year in cashback. 

Available from 20 April, the Barclays Blue Rewards scheme pays cash incentives to all current account holders who pay in at least £800 a month to their account, set up online banking and arrange for at least two monthly direct debits to be paid out. 

Customers can earn extra cash rewards if they hold a mortgage or home insurance with Barclays, and they can also access exclusive cashback deals with a range of the bank's retail partners. 

Find out more: Bank accounts - more than 50 current accounts compared

What does the Barclays Blue Rewards scheme offer? 

For a fee of £3 per month, customers who sign up to the programme will receive fixed cash rewards, regardless of how big their credit balance or monthly income is.

  • Current account holders who sign up to the programme receive a £7 monthly cash reward (all customers therefore receive a net cash gain of £4 per month);
  • Existing and new mortgage customers will receive £5 per month for the term of the mortgage;
  • New insurance customers or existing customers who renew their existing policy/re-insure with Barclays will receive £3 per month.

Customers can therefore earn a net profit of up to £15, or £180 a year, paid into their 'digital rewards wallet'. This can be transferred into a Barclays account at any time via online banking.     

On top of these fixed rewards, customers can earn cashback when shopping with Barclays' Smartspend shopping partners, such as Expedia, Gap and Boots. By adding signing up to Barclays Blue Rewards, you can add an extra 1% cashback to your spending. 

Find out more: How to find the best current account - what to look out for

How does Barclays Blue Rewards compare?

The competitiveness of this scheme depends on how much money you tend to keep in your current account, and whether you're happy to have a Barclays mortgage and/or Barclays home insurance.

If you sign up to the scheme without adding a mortgage or insurance, you can only earn £48 a year in fixed rewards plus cashback with Smartspend shopping partners. How much you earn in cashback will depend on whether you regularly shop with shops in the scheme - and how much you spend. 

Pounds and pence rewards

The Halifax Reward current account currently offers £5 a month (£60 a year) to current account customers who deposit £750 each month, remain in credit and pay out at least two direct debits, as well as a £100 switching incentive for new customers. 

Although Barclays Blue Rewards pays less to just current account owners, this is paid irrespective of whether you're in credit or in debit. 

Traditional credit interest accounts

If you tend to keep a fair amount of funds in your current account, you could earn even more by opting for an account that pays credit interest. 

  • Clydesdale/Yorkshire Bank pays 2% on balances up to £3,000 - a return of £60 for basic-rate taxpayers over a year
  • Nationwide pays 5% in-credit interest on balances up to £2,500 for the first 12 months (1% thereafter), so basic-rate taxpayers could earn a maximum of £100 in the first year. 
  • Tesco Bank pays 3% on balances up to £3,000, resulting in a maximum of £72 after basic-rate tax
  • Lloyds Bank pays 4% on balances up to £5,000, so basic-rate taxpayers could earn £160 per year. 
  • TSB pays 5% in-credit interest on balances up to £2,000, so basic-rate taxpayers could earn a maximum of £80 a year.   
  • Santander's account has a £2 monthly fee, but offers 3% interest on balances of up to £20,000. That's a maximum of £480 a year for basic-rate taxpayers, so may be the best option for those with large balances. 

Each of these current accounts has certain terms and conditions which customers must adhere to in order to earn interest. 

Our best current accounts if you're in credit table reveals more. 

More on this...