Barclays Bank – Current Account
Barclays Bank Plc is one of the biggest and most reputable banks , not just in the United Kingdom ,but also in the world. When I first went on a summer internship to London, a friend recommended I open a bank account with Barclays ,as they were pretty well-known. Based on the fact that Barclays’ Atm’s can be found pretty much anywhere in the United Kingdom and due to the fact that a friend recommended Barclays to me , I made my decision to open a current account with them. By the way , a current account is the same as a checking account in the US.
To open a bank account I needed 2 things :
- Proof of Identification – I used my passport.
- Proof of Address – I used a letter from the owner of the apartment I was renting from as proof of address.
You are not required to make any initial deposit when opening a Barclays Account , which is pretty cool. I visited a local Barclays branch close to where I was working to open my account. The whole process took probably about 15 minutes to complete.Your debit card is posted to the address you provide - I received my card 5 working days later. The really great thing about Barclays and most of the other major banks in the UK is that you are not charged any banking fees ever! You will only be charged a fee if you use an ATM that is not affiliated with Barclays.
Another really great thing about Barclays is its security measures that is in place when it comes to online banking. You have to apply for online banking separately. After applying for online banking you will receive something called a “PINsentry” – it is basically a little handheld tool that you use every time you want to make an online transfer or payment from your Account. The usual password and membership number/username is in place , exactly as it is at other banks. The PINsentry however is definitely the thing that adds a lot more security to online transactions , as you are asked to insert your card into the little machine before you are able to gain access to your account, that enables you to make transfers and payments.
The PINsentry basically works like this:
- Insert card into PINsentry.
- Enter your card’s password. (aka ATM password)
- Your receive a unique code that needs to be entered in order for you to make online transactions.
I think this a great extra tool to ensure Online security and to help combat online bank account fraud. By the way this is only used when making online transactions and your debit card functions exactly the same as every other debit card ,when doing normal things – for example paying for groceries or gas. (You just swipe and sign as usual….. )
Another great thing that swayed me towards Barclays is something called the : “Global Alliance”. The Global Alliance is basically an agreement that Barclays has with certain major banks in the world. This agreement allows a Barclays account holder to use his/her Barclays debit card at atm’s within the alliance, free of charge. I am for example able to use my Barclays debit card at all Bank of America Atm’s free of charge ,as they are in the alliance. A normal currency conversion fee will be applicable , but this will always be applicable when exchanging one currency for another. The debit card can be used at all other ATM’s outside the alliance , but an additional fee will then apply.
Banks in the Global Alliance:
- ABSA – South Africa
- Bank of America – USA
- BNP Paribas – France
- Deutsche Bank – Germany , Spain
- ScotiaBank – Canada , Mexico , Guatemala
- UkrSibbank – Ukraine
- Westpac - Australia , New Zealand , Pacific Islands
As you can see the Global Alliance basically covers most of North America and Europe and saves a lot of hassle from having to exchange currencies, as the Barclays card can basically be used as a travel card as well. Overall I can say that I have been impressed by Barclays Bank’s professionalism and as of yet I have not had any major issues with the Barclays Group. The zero bank fees , security and the fact that I can use my Barclays card pretty much anywhere is definitely something that initially drew me to Barclays and something that will keep me with them for a long time to come.