With roots going all the way back to 1670s London, Barclays is one of the oldest banks in the world. They currently operate in 50 countries, offering investment products along with personal banking solutions, corporate banking, and wealth solutions. And while their brick-and-mortar branches are exclusively located in the U.K., they offer competitive online banking products in the United States.
Whether you’re looking to set your money aside in an award-winning online savings account or even lock it into an even higher yield CD for a few years, Barclays is worth a look. Not only are their interest rates some of the highest available, but the bank has almost 350 years of history and experience. You know that your savings are safe with Barclays, even with an account that is entirely free.
Here’s a look at what Barclays has to offer for your personal savings, and why you should consider opening an account with this historic banking institution.
Who Is Barclays Bank?
As mentioned, Barclays has a lengthy history as a trusted and well-established bank. Their roots go all the way back to London in 1670, though the bank as it exists today wasn’t officially founded until 1896. So, depending on how you want to look at it, the bank is somewhere between about 125 and 350 years-old.
The investment bank is still headquartered in London, with brick-and-mortar branches scattered throughout the United Kingdom and a handful of other European countries. However, they actually offer banking services — in the form of personal banking, corporate banking, wealth management, or investment services — to customers in 50 countries around the world.
For its U.S.-based customers, Barclays’ services are limited but competitive. They offer high-yield savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs) with top-of-the-market interest rates. Barclays is also FDIC-insured, meaning that your money will be protected up to the federal maximum. Their accounts are award-winning with a number of features, and best of all? They’re free.
Even though you won’t be able to walk into a local Barclays Bank here in the States, they make it easy for you to manage and access your funds whenever you need to do so.
Whatever your financial situation or future plans, a high-yield savings account should play an integral role. It’s the perfect product when you need to tuck away money for an emergency fund, future vacation savings, or even your savings for a future home or car down payment. It doesn’t matter why you’re saving; what matters is that you keep your money safe and allow it to earn you the highest return possible in the process.
If you keep your money in a checking account or one of any number of “everyday” savings accounts, you might be missing out on quite a bit of interest earned. Not only that, but holding savings in the same account (or even with the same bank, depending on your discipline and spending habits) could result in you overspending or giving in to temptation, keeping you from meeting your financial goals.
That’s why you should consider high-yield savings for your funds… and Barclays has just the account for you.
As of this writing (October 14, 2021), national savings interest rates are a measly 0.06% APY or less, which doesn’t do a whole lot for you or your savings account. However, by switching your funds to a high-yield savings account from Barclays Bank, you could instead earn more than 22x that — right now, interest rates from the historic bank are an impressive 0.40% APY.
Not only will you earn more on your principal balance over the course of your savings, but thanks to compound interest, your money will grow exponentially. As you continue to save in a Barclays savings account, your interest will earn interest of its own, growing your money faster than ever (even if you don’t add anything else to the account).
Want to know just how much you could earn with a Barclays savings account, or just want to know how long it will take you to reach a specific savings goal? The bank’s online Savings Assistant can show you exactly. Just enter how much you are looking to save, what you have now, and how much you can contribute each month.
They will then tell you just how long you will need to save until you have enough. That way, you can adjust your savings accordingly!
There are times when a high-yield savings account isn’t the best place for your money, though. If you are going to be saving for a longer period of time and are sure that you won’t need to touch the funds in the interim, you could earn even more with a certificate of deposit (CD). The caveat is that you absolutely must be sure that you can afford to make that money inaccessible; if you have that flexibility, though, the interest you could earn is significantly more.
If you’re looking at opening a high-yield savings account through Barclays Bank, you’ll be glad to know that you can do so fee-free. So not only will you earn interest that is some of the highest available, but you will also avoid the fees that so many other banks charge for opening or maintaining an account.
You won’t find any minimum deposit requirements at Barclays, either. So, you’re welcome to open your account with $1 or $100,000. There is also no minimum balance requirement, so you can keep as much (or as little) in your account at any time, without fear of penalty or having the account closed. The only caveat is that in order to earn the posted APY, you’ll need to have enough money in the account that you would earn at least $0.01 in interest.
Barclays doesn’t charge any monthly maintenance fees for holding a savings account with the bank. No matter how long you’ve been a customer, how you use the account, or your plans for your funds, you won’t be charged any fees as a savings account holder.
Last but not least, you will also avoid deposit and withdrawal fees by banking with Barclays. Federal withdrawal limits still apply, so you will not be able to make more than six ACH withdrawals in a statement cycle. If you do, you risk your account being fined or possibly even closed, especially if it’s a regular occurrence. But, of course, this is a federal law and not a Barclays rule, so you’ll find this everywhere.
Withdrawals and Deposits
Even though you won’t be able to walk into a Barclays branch in the U.S., the bank still makes it easy for your to add or withdraw funds with your high-yield savings account. Both deposits and withdrawals are free, too.
To deposit funds into your savings account, you can:
- Set up a direct deposit from your employer, Social Security, the IRS, etc.
- Initiate a one-time transfer from a connected bank account
- Set up recurring transfers from an external bank account
- Deposit a check using Remote Deposit, from your smartphone or computer
- Mail in a check for deposit
If you need to access your funds from savings, you also have options for withdrawals. You can:
- Initiate a one-time transfer to an external bank account (wire or ACH)
- Request an official check from the bank
Regulation D from the FDIC prohibits bank accounts classified as “savings” from allowing more than six withdrawals in a single statement cycle. If you exceed this limit, either by ACH transfer or requested checks from the bank, you could put your account at risk. You may incur a fee or, since Barclays doesn’t offer checking accounts that they could switch your savings account to, you could see your account closed without warning.
Barclays does not offer personal checks or ATM debit cards for use by their online savings accounts.
How to Open a Savings Account
Opening a high-yield savings account from Barclays is easy and straightforward. The process can be completed online in just a few minutes’ time.
There is some information you will need to provide when opening your new savings account, so be sure to have the following on-hand:
- Your home address and phone number
- Your SSN
- Your date of birth
- Your email address
- Account and routing numbers for the bank account you’d like to use to fund your new savings account (unless you plan to mail in a check)
As we mentioned, no minimum deposit is required in order to open a new high yield savings account with Barclays.
Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
As great as high-yield savings accounts can be, they aren’t always the ideal place to put your money. If you plan to save your funds for a longer period (12 months or more, usually) and know for certain that you won’t need to touch that money during that time, you can actually earn more with a CD.
Certificates of deposit, or CDs, are savings vehicles intended to earn you an even higher interest rate than savings accounts, while still giving you a safe place to tuck your money. In exchange for that higher interest rate, though, you promise to leave that money alone until the CD matures. If you withdraw the funds early, there are pretty steep penalties involved.
The longer you hold your savings in a CD, the higher the interest rate you can earn. In a sense, you’re rewarding for setting your money aside for as long as you can.
Now, if your plan is to utilize your money in the next 3, 6, 9, or sometimes even 12 months, you can typically get a better interest rate from a high yield savings account. However, if your plan is to save without touching the money for at least a year, a CD can offer a significantly higher APY. With Barclays, for instance, a 12-month CD will earn you considerably more than putting that money in a savings account through the same bank for a year.
Not sure which CD term length you should choose, or want to know just how much you will earn when all is said and done? Barclays makes it easy with their online CD saving calculator. Simply visit their site and choose the amount you want to put in a CD. You can then click through the various term lengths to see how much you could earn and help you choose a product.
Interest rates are changing all the time, of course. As of today (October 14, 2021), though, Barclays offers CDs with interest rates ranging from 0.10% to 0.25% APY. With FDIC coverage this is much safer than the current overheated stock & asset markets.
The most important thing to remember before opening a CD, either at Barclays or another bank, is that you must be absolutely sure you won’t need those funds before it comes to maturation. If you don’t have alternate savings or a sufficient emergency fund saved up, you risk needing to withdraw funds early — and that comes with a heft early withdrawal fee that can not only eat up any interest earned, but also dip into your principal deposit.
Early Withdrawal Penalties
It’s absolutely free to open a CD through Barclays, and you don’t have to worry about monthly maintenance fees, either. There also isn’t a minimum amount that you’ll need to deposit in order to open your CD. However, if you need to pull your funds out of your CD before it matures, that’s where you’ll find the fees… in the form of early withdrawal penalties.
Early withdrawal penalties for Barclays CDs are based on the original term length of the certificate when you made your initial deposit. At Barclays, they are as follows:
- If your CD term was 24 months or less, your penalty is 90 days’ simple interest.
- If your CD term was greater than 24 months, your penalty is 180 days’ simple interest.
No matter how much you deposit, these penalties can be pretty painful. Depending on how long the original term was, how much you deposited, and when you withdraw your money, you could easily see all of your interest earned eaten up. Not only that, but you could even be fined more than you earned in interest, dipping into the original principal that you deposited.
Some banks offer no-penalty CDs that will allow you to withdraw your funds anytime without penalty. However, the interest rate offered is typically lower than traditional CDs. At this time, Barclays does not offer a no-penalty CD option.
How to Open a Barclays Bank CD
Think that a certificate of deposit is the right place for your savings, and like the look of Barclay’s rates (and lack of fees)? Then it’s easy to open up a CD online in a matter of minutes.
In order to open and fund your new CD(s), you’ll need a few pieces of personal information handy. These include your:
- Name and address
- Phone number
- Date of birth
- Email address
- Bank account and routing number for the account you’ll be using to fund your new CD (unless you’ll be mailing in a check)
Of course, there is no minimum deposit required to open your Barclays CD. The entire process only takes about 3 minutes, as well.
Checking Accounts and Money Market Accounts (MMAs)
In some ways, it’s great to have all of your financial accounts in one place, from savings and checking accounts to CDs, MMAs, and even an IRA. However, it’s not always the best idea, especially if you struggle to stay on track with your financial goals. For some people, it might actually be optimal to keep everyday checking accounts separate from savings accounts.
With Barclays, though, you don’t even have a choice: the bank doesn’t actually offer checking or money market accounts (MMAs), so you’re limited to the savings products that we already covered.
If you’re looking for an MMA, there are many online banks offering great rates and fee-free accounts. However, you should note that interest rates on MMAs are often very comparable — if not identical — to those offered by high-yield savings accounts. The only difference is the access to personal checks and/or ATM debit cards that can sometimes be given with MMAs. If you don’t need these, though, Barclays’ savings accounts will definitely still meet your needs.
Barclays Bank Mobile App
For US-based customers, Barclays offers a banking mobile app called Barclays US Savings. Through the app, you are able to deposit funds to or from your high-yield savings account, as well as deposit checks on the go.
You can also deposit checks from your tablet or personal computer, by using the Deposit Checks feature online. You’ll need to take a photo of the front and back of the check before submitting it to the bank. There is a $10,000 total daily limit for mobile deposit, with a $5,000 per-check limit and up to 10 checks per day.
Is Barclays Right for You?
If you are looking for a high-yield savings account or certificates of deposit that is both free and offers one of the highest interest rates around, Barclays might be the bank for you. While their products are online-only in the United States, they make managing your savings easy, quick, and best of all, lucrative.
Their interest rates are some of the highest around, whether you’re looking to put your money in an accessible savings account or lock it into a CD for a longer period of time. You won’t have to worry about account fees or minimum deposit requirements with either option, and their app and online platform make it easy to manage your funds. But even though the bank serves 50 countries across the world and has been around for 350 years, there are no branch locations in the States.
To learn more about Barclays Bank or open one of their many free, high-interest savings accounts, visit their site here.