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Barclays Online Savings Account 2020 Review

| Money Rates Columnist.

barclays-online-savings-accountHeadquartered in London, Barclays Bank is a global financial institution.

Not only can you get a credit card with Barclays, but you can also open an online savings account.

One of the banks that consistently offers higher interest rates according to the America's Best Rates Survey, here's more on what Barclay offers savers.


Barclays Online Savings Account Essentials

The Barclays online savings account comes with a number of features, including these highlights:

  • Competitive annual percentage yield (APY) on savings
  • Direct deposit to easily add money to your account
  • No minimum deposit to open an account
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Barclays savings assistant
  • Convenient access to your account through Barclays mobile apps
  • Deposit checks via your mobile device

MoneyRates Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons

With any savings account or banking account, it's helpful to know what the positives (and potential negatives) are before depositing your money with a bank. Here's how the Barclays online savings account measures up:

Pros:

  • No minimum-balance requirement makes it good for beginning savers
  • No monthly maintenance fees mean you get to keep more of the interest you earn each month
  • The APY is competitive at 18X the national average

Cons:

  • There's no ATM card available for this account, so withdrawals are limited to electronic transfers

Barclays Online Savings Account Rates

The current APY Barclays offers for this high yield savings account is very competitive. They don't offer a tiered rate; you'll earn the same APY across all balances regardless of whether you save a little or a lot. You might find that attractive if you're just getting into saving.

Your savings is FDIC-insured and, compared to other online banks, Barclays offers a rate that's among the highest in the industry. Synchrony Bank, for example, offers a similar APY to savers.

It's not, however, the highest APY you can find with an online savings account. Banks such as BrioDirect and UFB Direct offer savers even more incentive to open an account, based on their interest rates. But when looking for a new savings account, it's important to consider the bigger picture rather than focusing on rates alone.


Barclays Online Savings Account Monthly Fees

With some brick-and-mortar banks, it's common to pay monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance fees on savings accounts. For example, you might be charged $5 or $10 per month to maintain your account. The only way to avoid those fees may be to maintain a minimum daily balance or have a certain number of direct deposit transactions each month.

Barclays Bank, on the other hand, doesn't charge any monthly fees - maintenance or otherwise - and there are no annual fees associated with an online savings account to deal with either. That's a positive, since fees can just nibble away at the amount of interest you earn and keep your money from growing to its full potential. In terms of the fees, Barclays is similar to what you can expect with other online banks that can afford to charge fewer fees owing to lower operating costs.


Other Savings Account Fees

Generally, Barclays is light on fees when it comes to its savings accounts and other savings products. But there are a few important fees to know about:

  • Excess Withdrawal Fee: $5 for each withdrawal or transfer over the limit of six allowed per month
  • Stop Payment Fee: $0
  • Cashier's Check Fee: $5
  • Returned Deposit Items: $5 per item, up to $50 per day
  • Non-Sufficient Funds Fee: $5 per item
  • Statement Copy Fee: $0.50 per statement
  • Rush Mail Delivery: $25
  • Legal Documents: $0
  • Account Research: $0

Most of these fees you probably won't ever have to worry about as long as you're not depositing a check that bounces or making transfers that your balance can't cover.

The most important fee to watch out for is the excess withdrawal fee. Federal regulations limit you to six withdrawal transactions from a savings account per month; and once you go over that limit, your bank can charge you a fee. In some cases, the bank could even go as far as closing your account or converting it to a checking account.

Barclays charges $5 for each withdrawal transaction over six, so this fee could easily add up if you're taking money out of your savings frequently. Bottom line, it's best to treat your savings like savings and let the money stay in your account to avoid this fee.


More Barclays Online Savings Account Features & Benefits

One neat thing you get with the Barclays online savings account is the savings assistant. With this feature, you can set (and hopefully reach) your savings goals.

It's a simple feature to use. You open your account if you haven't done that yet, then enter the amount you want to save, the amount you already have saved and how much you can add to savings monthly into the savings assistant. The calculator then tells you how long it will take you to reach your goal.

That's a helpful tool to have if you're new to saving or you've struggled to stay on track with your savings before. Other account benefits and features include:

  • Convenient transfers between banks
  • Easy account management online and through the Barclays mobile app
  • Direct deposit to grow your savings each payday automatically

Are There Other Ways to Save with Barclays Bank?

Aside from the online savings account, you can also save with Barclays using online CDs.

CDs offer terms ranging from three months to 60 months. The longer your CD term, the higher the APY. Compared to the online savings account, you could earn a higher APY with online CDs, but there is a catch.

With the online savings account, you can make up to six withdrawals per month if necessary. With online CDs, you're required to keep your money in the CD until it reaches the end of its maturity term. Then you can withdraw it, along with the interest earned, or roll it over into a new CD.

Breaking into a CD account early can trigger a penalty equal to a percentage of your interest earned. So a CD may be a better choice if you want to earn a great rate while saving for a long-term goal, like a down payment on a home.

There are no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements to open a CD. And you could open multiple accounts if you're interested in setting up a CD ladder. Laddering CDs allows you to space out maturities and earn different interest rates on savings using CDs with varying terms.

At this time, you can't open a checking account with Barclays bank. But you can open credit cards with Barclays, including rewards card options.


How to Open a Barclays Online Savings Account

Opening an account with Barclays is pretty straightforward. You can open your account online in just a few minutes. Here's what you need to get started:

  • Your name
  • Social security number
  • Date of birth
  • Country of citizenship
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Home address
  • Occupation
  • Opening deposit amount
  • Routing number and account number for the account your initial deposit is coming from

You need to tell Barclays whether you want to open an individual or joint account. If you're opening a joint account, you need to provide the same personal information for the co-account owner.

Once your account is open, Barclays makes two small test deposits that you need to verify. This helps Barclays verify your external account.

Lastly, you need to create a login to use when managing your account online. You have the option to set up multi-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security to your account.

To set up a direct deposit, you need to provide your Barclays account number and routing number to your HR department or any other entity that's setting up direct deposits for you. You can also make deposits using remote deposit, schedule an ACH transfer or mail a paper check to Barclays.

When using remote deposit, you'll need to keep these deposit limits in mind:

  • Check amount maximum: $5,000
  • Daily amount maximum: $10,000
  • Check number maximum: 10 checks in a single day
  • 10 business day maximum: $50,000 / 20 checks

Barclays customer service is available both in the U.S. and internationally by phone. You can also connect on social media via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.


Is a Barclays Online Savings Account Right for You?

Opening a Barclays online savings account could be a good option if you're looking to earn a solid interest rate on savings with no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements. Plus, you can supplement your savings account with CDs to maximize interest rate earning potential.

One thing to consider is how easily you can get access to your savings when you need it, since there is no ATM card available. If you're comfortable being able to move money via ACH transfer, then the Barclays online savings account is worth a look.

Of course, take time to compare interest rates, fees and the minimum-balance requirement at other banks before making a final decision.

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