Barclays Bank is a good place to plan savings for the long term, thanks to its high-interest savings accounts and certificates of deposit. Barclays doesn't operate any physical branches in the US, which limits your access to funds. However, this does make it possible for the company to offer much higher returns on your deposit than a brick-and-mortar bank.
Review: Should You Bank With Barclays?
When it comes to choosing banks, Barclays is best-suited for the single purpose of building long-term savings. It doesn't provide any checking account services, and its savings and CDs earn the most interest when you avoid withdrawing money on a regular basis. However, customers who rely on in-person services and ATM access won't find either option available at Barclays. This makes it better as a secondary bank than as a place for all your accounts.
Unlike most online banks, Barclays doesn't provide any ATM access to your deposits. The only way to transfer funds is by ordering an electronic transfer through the phone or bank website. This can be a major concern for consumers who aren't comfortable having such limited access to their money. While deposits at Barclays are protected by FDIC insurance, people who aren't used to banking online may find it more trouble than it's worth.
On the other hand, the bank's exclusive focus on savings accounts and CDs means that limited accessibility may not actually be a huge issue. All of Barclay's banking products perform best when they're left untouched, especially the CDs, which come with steep penalties for customers who withdraw money prior to the end of the CD term. Since you'll have to leave your money in place anyway, the lack of ATMs and branches won't hurt as much as you might think.
Barclays Savings Account Features
Barclays' high interest rates apply to all its products, with one slight advantage over what you'll find at other banks. The bank offers two different savings accounts: the Barclays Online Savings Account and the Barclays Dream Account. While both the Online Savings Account and the Dream Account earn 0.40% APY with no fees and no minimums, the Dream Account can earn a little extra. You earn a 5% bonus on earned interest every six months so long as you avoid any withdrawals and make at least one deposit every month.
Bonus on Earned Interest
|Barclays Online Savings||0.40%||$0||-|
|Barclays Dream Account||1.30%||$0||2.5% bonus on 6 months' interest for zero withdrawals AND 2.5% bonus on 6 months' interest for 6 consecutive monthly deposits|
Though we haven't found a bonus like this one in any other online savings accounts, its usefulness is limited by the Dream Account's $1,000 limit on monthly deposits. If you make zero withdrawals and deposit the maximum $1,000 every month, you would still need to keep up the same pattern for a full year for any significant benefit. If you're saving more than $1,000 each month, we recommend adding a second high-yield option like Barclays' own Online Savings Account.
Barclays Certificates of Deposit
Barclays' CD interest rates remain above-average relative to the bank's closest online competitors. A comparison of Barclays CD rates with those at three leading banks shows that Barclays falls behind slightly in shorter term lengths, but stays even or ahead in multi-year CDs.
CD Rates on a $5,000 Deposit
Capital One 360
Marcus by Goldman Sachs
Barclays is slightly better for anyone interested in 3-month CD terms, but its rates are mostly equal to or lower than those set by Ally Bank and Capital One. We can only recommend Barclays for your CDs if you want to keep your certificates of deposit at the same bank as your existing Barclays savings account. This may make it easier to manage your money and make transfers when you need to.
How Does Barclays Compare to Other Banks?
Since Barclays is an online bank in the US, it's better to compare its policies and rates against similar banks that reach most of their customers through web and mobile services. We made a head-to-head comparison of Barclays with four of its biggest competitors and found that Barclays' limited selection of accounts makes it more appropriate as an additional choice, not a main banking option.
Barclays vs. Ally
Ally Bank is an online bank with a much bigger range of products than Barclays. Ally offers not only savings and CDs but also checking accounts, credit cards, mortgages and auto loans. In addition, its high interest rates and strong reputation for responsive customer service makes it a consistent favorite in our reviews of online banks. Ally delivers on all of the areas Barclays won't or can't deliver: nationwide ATM access, checking accounts and better interest rates across the board.
Barclays vs. HSBC
Comparing Barclays and HSBC in the United States is a bit like comparing apples to oranges. Even though HSBC's footprint in the US is relatively small, its physical presence is much larger than that of Barclays, which sticks to an online-only model. HSBC follows most of the standard fee structures and rates of a big brick-and-mortar bank, which means that it provides in-person banking and ATM access but falls far behind in its interest rates.
For example, the highest rate on an HSBC savings account requires at least $100,000 in deposits and amounts to just a few basis points. Realistically, most customers at HSBC would likely earn something closer to 0.01% or 0.05% on their savings accounts. While Barclays easily beats HSBC here with its 0.40%% rate, few people would find it useful to swap a full-service bank for Barclays' limited set of offerings. Instead, it would be preferable to open a Barclays savings account as a supplemental source of interest, while staying with a bank like HSBC for your daily checking account.
Barclays vs. Capital One
Capital One is the rare bank that delivers both brick-and-mortar services and strong interest rates. It does this through the Capital One 360 line of products, which are accessed and managed with online tools rather than branch locations. Capital One 360 Savings earns 0.40% APY on any balance, which makes it weaker than either of Barclays Bank's savings options but still better than most other choices.
More importantly, Capital One 360 includes checking accounts with debit cards and ATM withdrawals, a service unavailable with Barclays. Capital One also provides credit cards and loans through its branches, and its mobile app ties all of these products together for a fuller banking experience. Once again, we recommend treating Barclays as a secondary interest-earning option alongside other accounts at a bank like Capital One.
Barclays vs. Goldman Sachs Bank USA
Goldman Sachs Bank's Marcus High Yield Online Savings account earns 0.60% APY on any amount you deposit, with no monthly minimums or maintenance fees involved. Crucially, Marcus also imposes a much higher maximum: you can keep up to $1,000,000 in the account and still earn the full rate, giving it the advantage over Barclays in deposit size. If you aren't already banking with Barclays, we recommend starting your shopping at Goldman Sachs Bank USA.