Barclays is offering new customers double Blue Rewards for a year if they switch their current account to the bank.
The add-on feature available on its Bank Account and Premier Accounts costs £3 per month and offers cash loyalty rewards, including a £14 per month boost for having two active direct debits.
The bank says the double-up perk could be worth £384 to customers. But there is one big catch: to earn this you would have to have a mortgage, personal loan and home insurance policy with the bank too.
That said, with first-year earnings of £132 (after fees) for just holding the current account does it beat some rival deals? We take a look.
Cash incentives: Does Barclays beat the rest?
In the first year the Blue Rewards feature pays double for new customers.
That’s £14 per month for the basic reward for maintaining two direct debits from your account, £10 for having a mortgage with the bank, £3 per month extra for home insurance customers and £2 for having a personal loan.
In total that’s an impressive £384 (£348 including fees).
More realistically, looking just at the current account itself, if you maintain the two direct debit requirement, after the first year you would earn £132 (after fees).
Customers also get one per cent cashback when they shop with certain retailers. There are 150 signed up including the likes of Gap, Office, B&Q, Currys PC World, Boots and Waterstones.
Cashback will also be doubled to 2 per cent. Remember to earn the cash you need to click through your online banking or mobile banking when spending.
After the first 12 months cash payouts fall back to standard levels. If customers fulfill all four its worth £16 per month, or £192 per year. If you take account of the £3 monthly fee, that’s £156.
For just the current account it pays just £48 per year after fees.
So can it be beaten?
The top value switching incentive currently on offer comes from M&S Bank. It is handing over £185 in vouchers over the course of the first year including a £125 gift card to sign up and a £5 monthly top up.
That’s worth £53 more than Barclays’ basic Blue Rewards payout, but only really if you shop at M&S.
However, the M&S deal also pays you 1 point for every £1 spent on your M&S debit card in store in the M&S Loyalty Scheme and you get a £100 free overdraft buffer.
The HSBC-owned bank is offering a choice of either an online self development course, a £150 Expedia e-voucher or gadgets including Bose on-ear wireless headphones, a Bose Soundlink2 bluetooth speaker, the new Amazon Echo Spot or a Fitbit Charge 2 Special Edition. The bank rates highly for customer service and the account comes with a £250 free overdraft buffer.
If it’s monthly rewards you are after another alternative is Halifax’s Reward Account , which pays a £75 cash bonus to sign up, and £3 in monthly rewards on top. In a year this amounts to £111.
It’s less than Barclays but the cash is paid within 7 days of you switch, quicker than most rivals.
Depending on what you use your account for and whether you keep a balance in it, you may earn more long term with an account paying interest. You can find out more about the top-paying current accounts for in credit interest here.
Check out our regularly updated guide, Five of the best Current Accounts for more on the top accounts and how to switch.
How to get your hands on the cash
Customers signing up and turning on Blue Rewards before June 29 will receive double the amount of Barclays Blue Rewards for the following 12 months.
To earn the cash you must use the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) to move. The Blue Rewards scheme requires a minimum £800 monthly deposit and at least one active direct debit.
The perk is available on the Barclays Premier Account.
If you are an existing customer you can still earn the boost, but only if it is not your primary account already. This involves using the CASS to move over direct debits and standing orders from another account.
If your Barclays account is your primary account and you haven’t signed up yet for the Blue Rewards scheme, if you register now through online banking the bank will double your rewards, but only for the month of May.
This is Money’s verdict
Realistically most people will be likely to use the account for the monthly reward for maintaining the two direct debits.
If you have other products from Barclays, that’s an extra bonus, but it certainly won’t be worth opening up a string of other Barclays products just for the small rewards boost, particularly if they are more expensive.
For example, Barclay’s personal loan of between £7,500 and £15,000 comes with an interest rate of 4.9 per cent APR, this compares to the top deal of 2.7 per cent from Sainsbury’s Bank on the same amount.
That said, if you look at the Barclays Bank Account by itself with Blue Rewards, it could be worth considering anyway for the potential first year earnings as the above comparisons show.
Remember though, after the first year is up and the rewards drop there are better alternatives, so make sure to search around again.
And watch out, the account comes with fairly hefty penalties for straying into an overdraft.
The simple fees sound cheap, but they can quickly mount up. There is a £15 buffer, after that anything below £1,000 cost 75p per day, up to £2,000 costs £1.50 per day and anything beyond that costs £3 per day.
THIS IS MONEY’S FIVE OF THE BEST CURRENT ACCOUNTS