Barclays Blue Reward customers must have signed up for online or mobile banking by 3 August 2021, or run the risk of their membership being cancelled.
The reward scheme is an optional current account add-on, which costs £4 a month and allows customers to earn £7 a month for fulfilling certain criteria, such as paying in £800 to their Barclays current account each month, and having at least two direct debits set up. It’s possible to earn more if you hold other Barclays financial products.
In a separate move, Barclays is also closing its cashback portal from 22 June 2021 – this is currently open to all current account customers, but Blue Rewards members enjoyed an additional 1% cashback.
Here, Which? explains what Barclays Blue Rewards customers need to do to keep their account, and reveal further cashback changes on the way for all Barclays’ current account holders.
What do Barclays Blue Rewards customers need to do?
If you’re a Barclay Blue Rewards member and want to continue to be part of the scheme, you must sign up for Barclays’ online or mobile app banking by 3 August 2021.
You may already be signed up for these services, in which case you won’t need to do anything. But if you haven’t, you can sign up via the Barclays website for online banking and its mobile app. For those who want to keep Blue Rewards, but aren’t confident with mobile or online banking, its Digital Eagles team will be available to help talk through the process.
Barclays is writing to all Blue Rewards customers to inform them of these upcoming changes; those who don’t sign up for online or app banking by 3 August will then be sent a letter giving two months’ notice of the Blue Rewards account closure. It will still be possible to sign up for online or app banking during this time.
If your Blue Rewards account is closed, note that your Barclays current account will remain open. Any rewards you’ve accrued – which are paid into your Barclays Blue Rewards virtual wallet – will be paid into your linked Barclays current account.
You will be able to sign up to Blue Rewards again at any time – along with new customers – but from 3 August the requirement to have online banking or the Barclays mobile app will have become part of the account’s formal eligibility criteria.
Barclays cashback changes
From 22 June, Barclays will stop offering its cashback scheme on purchases – currently available to all current account holders who are registered for online banking or the Barclays mobile app.
The cashback portal currently offers up to 10% cashback when you spend with participating retailers when you click on an affiliated link – which works in a very similar way to other cashback sites.
Any customers that have used the cashback portal in the past 18 months will be contacted to be told of the change – but we understand that this is only a very small number of customers.
Cashback will still be paid on qualifying purchases up to 22 June.
This comes just days after American Express announced it would be switching up its cashback scheme on some of its credit cards, meaning some customers will lose out on up to £25 cashback per year.
Why is Barclays making these changes?
A Barclays spokesperson told Which?: ‘We’re making some changes to our terms and conditions for Barclays Blue Rewards to keep them up to date and make them clearer.
‘As our Barclays Blue Rewards customers need to have online banking or the Barclays app to manage their Blue Rewards wallet, we’ve updated our terms and conditions to make it a requirement that customers register with either online banking or the Barclays app in order to be eligible for Blue Rewards.
‘We are also letting customers know that we’ll no longer be offering cashback when they shop with selected retailers through the Barclays app or online banking.’
How does other current account cashback compare?
There are several other cashback accounts on the market at the moment.
The Co-operative Bank’s Everyday Rewards account pays up to £5 a month, with no monthly fees. You get £2 a month for paying in at least £800 a month, paying out at least four direct debits, opting for paperless statements, logging into mobile banking and staying within your overdraft limit. The additional £3 is the maximum amount of cashback you can make each month from receiving 5p per debit card transaction.
You can earn up to £15 per month with Santander’s 123 account, but it costs £4 per month. It has three cashback tiers of 1%, 2% and 3%, each with a maximum earning potential of £5 per month. You can only earn cashback on certain household bills and Santander financial products, and you must also pay in at least £500 a month, pay out at least two direct debits and log in to mobile or online banking at least once every three months.
- Find out more: best bank accounts for cashback
Other current account perks
While some providers are cutting back on cashback, there are other perks to make your money work harder.
- High-interest bank accounts pay AER interest on the money you hold in the account – sometimes offering a much higher rate than you’d receive in an instant-access savings account. However, the amount you’re paid interest on is generally quite low and there may be other caveats involved.
- Packaged bank accounts offer additional financial products, most commonly travel insurance, mobile phone insurance and car breakdown cover, sometimes in addition to other perks like cashback. These accounts can save you money provided you get full use of the products.
Of course, it’s not all about the perks. You’re likely to need to interact with your current account far more frequently than, say, a savings account, so you’ll need to make sure it offers everything you need. For instance, if you prefer to go in-branch to manage your account, a mobile-only provider won’t be the best choice for you.
It’s also worth checking on a prospective provider’s reputation for customer service, as well as whether it’s signed up to the voluntary code to protect you from bank transfer scams.
- Find out more: best and worst banks