Barclays Feature Store: build your own packaged current account
Barclays has launched a new Features Store for its current accounts, allowing customers to turn their account into a bespoke packaged account.
However, the Barclays offer seems to avoid that – you pick exactly what additional services you want from your account, so you can ensure you only pay for the stuff you actually want!
Let's take a closer look.
The bank accounts
First of all, it's important to note that the Features Store is available for use alongside two bank accounts from Barclays.
The first is the basic Bank Account. This is very much a minimalist account, offering no interest on your cash and an overdraft rate of 19.3% per annum.
There's also the Premier Current Account, which is a packaged current account in its own right even before you visit the Features Store. The account sets you back £10 a month, for which you get a dedicated local 'Premier Banking Manager', priority tills in selected branches, an interest-free overdraft of up to £1,000, membership of the Life's Rewards loyalty programme and access to the Barclays Premier Lounge at the O2 before big events.
That doesn't scream great value for £120 a year to me, in all honesty.
The Features Store
The Features Store is clearly inspired by the iPhone – the additional features appear like apps, which you can 'drag' over into your account. Many of them are free, such as the ability to use your debit card abroad, eStatements or a personalised card.
However, it's the packs that you have to pay for that are more interesting. They are:
- Home pack: £6 per month
- Tech pack: £7.50 per month
- Premier tech pack: £7.50 per month
- Travel pack: £8.50 per month
- Travel pack plus: £13.50 per month
- Premier travel pack plus: £11.50 per month
Here's what's included as part of the Home pack.
- A PC troubleshooting service
- The Barclays Concierge Service (sorting out things like theatre tickets, dinner reservations, etc)
- Legal and tax helpline
- Satellite and TV equipment cover (protected against breakdown or accidental damage for two years on top of the manufacturer's cover)
- Extended warranty on domestic appliances
There are two different Tech packs to choose from. As the name suggests, the Premier Tech pack is only available to customers who go for the Premier Current Account.
With the basic Tech pack you get:
- Mobile phone insurance (worldwide protection against theft, breakdown and accidental/malicious damage). Up to two handsets covered for joint accounts.
- Gadget cover (worldwide protection for up to £750 against theft, breakdown and accidental/malicious damage).
The Travel packs
There are three Travel packs to choose from, though the Premier Travel Plus Pack is only open to Premier Current Account holders.
With the basic Travel Pack, for £8.50 a month you get:
- RAC Roadside and At Home Assistance in the UK
- European family travel insurance
- Card Secure
The Premier Travel Plus pack offers the same features, just for £2 less a month.
When you add one of these packs to your account, you get the added bonus of an interest-free £200 overdraft facility.
Is it worth it?
Personally, I'm in no rush to sign up to the Bank Account. I don't travel enough to make use of the travel packs, and if I wanted to insure my gadgets, I'd rather go for a standalone policy, than switch my current account for the sake of the cover. We've written about the value standalone policies offer before in How to insure your gadgets.
Having said that, I actually like what Barclays is doing. By allowing you to build the bank account you want, you can ensure that your bank account offers the added extras you value the most. But you still need to read the small print for yourself and ensure that you can't get better value insurance separately though.
And remember, some accounts won't charge you for extra features like this. For example, the Nationwide FlexAccount offers free annual mutli-trip European travel insurance, and you don't have to pay a penny for the privilege.
What do you think? Will you be making use of the Barclays Feature Store? Would you be more likely to go for a packaged current account if you could dictate the features you were paying for?
- The end of free banking: winners and losers
- Who owns your bank or building society?
- M&S Bank to launch
- Compare current accounts