Barclays Bank: from across the pond to your computer
A relative newcomer on the banking scene in the U.S., Barclays Bank has a long and storied history overseas. It traces its origins back to 1690 when two goldsmith bankers began doing business in London. The Barclay name was first associated with the bank in 1736 when James Barclay, son-in-law of one of the original bankers, became a partner in the firm.
In the years that followed, Barclays Bank would gain a reputation for being an innovator in the financial industry. In 1966, the Barclaycard became the UK's first credit card, and the following year Barclays rolled out the world's first ATM. In May 2012, Barclays began offering deposit accounts to U.S. customers, and by November 2012, the bank announced it had surpassed $1 billion in deposits.
Online savings accounts and certificates of deposit
For its U.S. operations, Barclays Bank has opted not to have a traditional system of local branches. Instead, it offers savings accounts and certificates of deposits (CDs) through its online bank.
CDs are available with terms ranging from three months through five years. In addition, Barclays Bank savings accounts offer the following features:
- No minimum balance
- No hidden fees
- No monthly maintenance fees
- Daily compounding of interest
- FDIC insurance
As an online bank, Barclays says it offers some of the highest bank rates available. Online savings accounts can be linked to other bank accounts and used in conjunction with direct deposit as well. Although there are no branches, customers have 24/7 access to their account through the Internet.
Best bank for savings accounts
Barclays Bank's online savings accounts have garnered a lot of attention since their debut. In November 2013, the bank was recognized by MONEY Magazine as one of the best banks in America for savings accounts, sharing this honor with GE Capital Bank.
With Barclays receiving such high praise early in its foray into the U.S. market, it isn't surprising the bank has grown so quickly. In addition to its deposit accounts, Barclays Bank also offers the Barclaycard, which is used by more than 7 million U.S. customers. Worldwide, Barclays operates in more than 50 countries, where it offers services such as retail banking, investment services and corporate banking services.
It remains to be seen if U.S. residents will eventually have access to the full array of services offered by Barclays Bank. But for now, consumers at least have access to high-yield savings accounts and CDs from an institution with more than 300 years of experience in the field of finance.