Barclays International

An independent review by our team of experts.

Review summary

Barclays International

Barclays is a British multinational bank and financial services company headquartered in London.  It is a universal bank with operations in retail, wholesale and investment banking, as well as wealth management, mortgage lending and credit cards.

Barclays has operations in over 50 countries and territories, and has around 48 million customers.

Barclays is organised into four core businesses: personal & corporate (personal banking, corporate banking, wealth & investment management), Barclaycard, investment banking and Africa.

Barclays has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.  It has a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

Overview

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!  

The pros

  • Size and global presence
  • Good online banking

The cons

  • Poor service
  • Noncompetitive in-house products
  • Unsophisticated service range
FAQs
Does Barclays International do expat mortgages?

They offer mortgages for British expats to buy back home in the UK...

They don't offer mortgages to buy abroad.

Does Barclays International offer savings accounts for expats?

Yes, but their interest rates are dire.

There are better options available for expat savers.

Customer reviews
Not the same as Barclays in the UK

I've always been a Barclays customer, so when I moved abroad I wanted to stick with a name I knew.

Suddenly everything changed though - I don't think Barclays International and Barclays in Britain can compare.

There's much less transparency - and probably because there's less competition for them abroad they don't think they need to try so hard.

Mind you, I changed to Lloyds and they are no better!

Expert verdict
Expert Assessment of Barclays International

We think that the Barclays International account for expats is adequate for retail client needs - but ineffective as a wealth creation platform for professional expatriates when compared with other available options.

“Thank you AES International for helping me and my family with your low cost no-nonsense approach. It is refreshing!”

Kristian Petersson

“With this sort of service you also expect to be paying very high fees, but it’s just not the case. I would definitely recommend AES.”

Jake van den Dries

“In the short time that I’ve been using AES I’ve made nearly ten thousand pounds and couldn’t be happier!”

Jackie Pym

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