Barclays International bank accounts are based either in the UK, Isle of Man or Jersey – all considered ‘safe’ jurisdictions given their strong reputation for political stability and effective regulation. A choice is offered between jurisdictions.
Barclays International requires a minimum customer deposit of £25,000 (or equivalent) and allows the holder to keep dollar, sterling or euro currency with a contactless Visa debit card to access funds.
No monthly fees are charged unless the balance falls below the minimum (£20 per month in this case).
Online and 24 hour telephone banking are available - although mobile banking is restricted to sterling accounts.
International payments can be made to approximately 90 countries across 60 currencies - however transfers cost up to £40 (£25 online). Transfers via SEPA Credit Transfers to European countries cost £15 online.
International savings account interest rates are typically low (0.25% up to £24,999) and international investments are restricted to Barclays Wealth clients with upwards of £100,000 to invest.
As well as initial and ongoing advice fees charged by Barclays Wealth, the costs associated with managed funds and structured notes are generally high with disappointing returns.
Barclays International offers a quick, easy-to-use FX service, which allows clients to trade in up to 70 currency pairs, and keep on top of the risks posed by currency fluctuations.
Whilst the service is comprehensive, giving clients all the tools they need to manage their money internationally, banks tend to take big commission out of FX transactions, and we believe there are better alternatives when you need to change money.
Barclays offers UK mortgages to international clients, providing a range of fixed and variable rate mortgages as well as buy-to-let mortgages, and whilst rates may be competitive, it often pays to shop around and compare providers.
For those clients who maintain a minimum of £100,000 with Barclays International, they offer access to an International Investment Adviser, who will advise on a range of diversified funds, specialised funds and structured notes.
Whilst Barclays International maintains that they will provide access to some of the world’s leading fund managers, banks tend to sell their own products that often have high charging structures and deliver mediocre performance.
As for structured notes, steer clear!