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Barclays and The Co-op wade into current account incentive battle

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

As Santander current account customers are hit with a hefty fee hike from today, competitor banks are hoping to tempt them across with new reward initiatives.

It’s been a busy time for banks in the battle to bolster current account customer numbers.

Last Monday, M&S revamped its current account switch offer so customers now receive a £100 gift card, in addition to £10/month for the first 12 months.

Then on Friday, Barclays announced new customers switching to its current account and who join its Blue Rewards scheme will be eligible for double the usual cash rewards, up to £32 per month for January only.

And today, The Co-Operative Bank has waded in to the war with its new deal giving new and existing current account customers the chance to earn up to £5.50 each month for “everyday banking” activities.

These offers come as nearly four million Santander 1|2|3 current account customers now have to pay £5/month, up from £2/month.

We’ve already taken a closer look at the new M&S scheme and here’s what we discovered.

Now we delve deeper into new schemes from The Co-Operative and Barclays.

The Co-Operative ‘Everyday Rewards’

Both new and existing customers who open the Co-Operative Standard Current Account can earn up to £5.50 each month for demonstrating “simple, every day, banking behaviours” such as: receiving paperless statements, setting up at least four monthly direct debits and logging into online banking or their mobile app at least once a month.

Co-created with customers, the new ‘Everyday Rewards’ scheme recognises loyalty, so existing customers can nominate an eligible Co-operative Bank current account that’s already open and start earning rewards.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Account holders can earn rewards of £4 a month by:

  • Paying at least £800 into the account each month
  • Staying in credit or within any agreed formal overdraft limit each month
  • Opting for paperless statements
  • Logging onto online banking or the mobile app at least once each month
  • Having at least four direct debits paid from the account each month.

In addition, customers can earn 5p every time they use their debit card up to a maximum of £1.50 a month, giving a total monthly reward of up to £5.50, or £66 annually.

The cashback will be paid into the customers’ nominated account by the end of the following month, or they can choose to donate the monthly rewards into any one of these five charitable partners: Amnesty International, Hospice UK, Oxfam, Refuge, and The Woodland Trust.

Current account battle moves up a gear in 2016

Andrew Hagger of MoneyComms said: “It’s pleasing that Co-op hasn’t gone down the route of some of its rivals who have used the smokescreen of a rewards programme to introduce a monthly account fee by the back door (NatWest/RBS and Barclays).

“Co-op Bank is living up to its ethical reputation by rewarding customers for remaining in credit or within an authorised overdraft, giving up paper statements plus the option to donate the rewards to charity.

“With M&S, Barclays and now Co-op Bank upping their game in order to win more bank accounts, there’s even more choice for customers shopping around for current accounts as the battle moves up a gear in 2016.”

Barclays doubles its Blue Rewards offering

New customers who switch to a Barclays current account and join Blue Rewards, as well as existing current account holders who’ve yet to sign up to the scheme, will be eligible to receive double the cash rewards in January, up to £32 before the £3 monthly fee is taken into consideration.

This offer’s available until 31 January, though it’s not being offered to customers who’ve already signed up to the Barclays Blue Rewards scheme. From February, the rewards will go back to up to £16, depending on which Barclays products you have.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Barclays Blue Rewards is available to customers who pay in at least £800 each month into their current account, make two monthly direct debits, are signed up to online banking or the Barclays mobile banking app and pay a £3 monthly fee.

What rewards/cashback is available?

The rewards work on a tiered basis so the more Barclays products you have, the more cash rewards you can earn, even if you dip into an arranged or unarranged overdraft:

  • Current Account customers: £7/month, so all customers receive a net cash gain of £4/month.
  • Mortgage loyalty reward: £5/month – residential mortgage customers
  • Insurance loyalty reward: £3/month – for those who take out or renew their buildings, contents, combined or Finer Home insurance cover with Barclays, and are part of Blue Rewards already or join within 30 days of their policy start date
  • Loan loyalty reward: £1/month – available on one loan at a time
  • SmartSpend cashback: Additional 1% cashback when booking with Expedia, as well as other SmartSpend shopping partners such as Boots and Debenhams. Until 31 January, customers can earn up to 14% cashback when they book travel via Expedia.

Customers collect their cash rewards in a separate digital Rewards Wallet, accessed through Barclays online banking or the Barclays mobile banking app.

The Rewards Wallet is linked to the Barclays current account of their choice – allowing customers to see what rewards they receive each month. These can then be transferred into a Barclays account of the customer’s choice at any time.

The January double rewards offer will be paid into a customers’ digital Rewards Wallet at the beginning of February.