Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard Review
For people with fair credit looking to earn rewards with no annual fee, the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard is a solid pick. It offers 2x points on three common expense categories — gas, groceries, and utilities.
Pros and Cons
- Earn reward points for statement credits
- No annual fee
- 25.24% Variable APR
Good rewards credit card for people with fair credit
However, it does have its drawbacks, especially if you're the type of person who does not pay off your balance each month. The card comes with a high interest rate, which can add up rather quickly, making it best suited for people who plan to pay in full each month.
Tip: If you don't pay off your balance each month, consider a low interest credit card instead.
Who This Card Is Good For
- Cardholders with fair credit or better: The credit card is available to people with just fair credit. In comparison, many rewards credit cards are only for people with excellent credit.
- Commuters: Some cards give you extra rewards on gas but only for 3 months out of a year. With this card, you always get 2x rewards on purchases for gas (2 point for every dollar you pay at the pump), and that will add up quickly if you tend to go to the gas station once a week or so.
- Cardholders who like easy redemption policies: This card’s rewards are pretty simple; the points system is consistently applied, there’s no limit on how much you can earn at the higher, 2-point tier, you don't have to sign up every 3 months like with some cards, and you can redeem your points for statement credit if you like.
Need a Rewards Card? Why This Card Is a Good Choice
- There’s no annual fee: Getting a massive amount of rewards on a credit card is great unless you don’t use it enough to justify the annual fee. Many rewards cards tack on this extra expense but this one does not.
- It’s easy to keep track of: With some rewards cards, you have to write yourself little Post-It notes every 3 months to remind yourself which types of purchases get higher amounts of rewards over others. With this one, all you have to remember is you get extra points for gas, grocery, and utility purchases. Tie your utility bills to your account and then all you have to remember is to pull out the Barclaycard when you go to the pump and the supermarket — or just use it as your everyday card and you’ll know you’ll always get something in return.
- You get rewarded extra every time you grocery shop: Most of us spend hundreds of dollars at the supermarket every week. Unless you get most of your meals from the takeout counter, you will likely benefit more than you do now with the 2 points you’ll get back when you use this card to buy groceries. The best kinds of rewards credit card reward you for purchases you make anyway — rather than tempting you to buy purchases you don’t need just to get a few points back.
Ready to start earning rewards? You can apply online at Barclaycard's secure website.
|© Nicholas A. Tonelli (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr|
Here's the deal: Every time you buy something on the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard, you earn reward points that can redeemed for statement credits. You earn 2 points for every dollar you spend on gas, grocery, and utility purchases. You earn 1 point for every dollar you spend on all other purchases.
There is no limit to the number of points you can earn. Some rewards programs limit the number of points you can earn per year in bonus categories, so the chance to earn unlimited double points is a welcome distinction.
Once you have earned enough points, you can redeem them for a statement credit. This amount will reduce your account balance, but it will not be applied toward your minimum monthly payment. With 5,000 reward points, you would have enough for a $50 statement credit, which, on the average, translates into 1 cent of rewards for every dollar you spend. Note that you must have a minimum of 1,000 points to make a redemption. The Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard has an advantage over other cards in this regard, as many cards will not allow you to redeem rewards for less than $20.
The Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard can help you build your credit history. Every month, Barclaycard reports your payment track record for this card to the three major credit agencies.
Plus, as long as you’re an active card member, you get complimentary FICO scores. Since this a key figure lenders use to determine your creditworthiness and how much they charge you to borrow from them, it's important for you to monitor it, and this card makes that responsibility easy. Keep your eye out for sudden drops — if you have been paying on time and don't carry a large balance, a decline would be questionable and could indicate that you’ve been a victim of identity theft.
Since the Barclaycard welcomes not only borrowers who have excellent scores but fair ones too, it’s a good card to lean on if knowing your credit score is a priority. (Scores range between 300 and 850, and any score over 720 is considered excellent.) Your ability to pay your bills on time and your debt to credit limit ratio have a big impact on your score. Read this article for an in-depth explanation of your score and how it affects you as a borrower. With your Barclaycard online account, once you opt-in, you'll have instant access to your FICO score.
What's the catch? Because this card takes on applicants with fair credit, it has a relatively high interest rate. The APR on this card is currently a variable 25.24%. You need to be sure to pay off your purchases each month; otherwise your interest payments will be quite expensive and will negate any upside to the rewards you get. If you suspect you'd likely carry a balance on your next card, consider looking into a low interest credit card instead.
- Earns reward points on all purchases; points can be redeemed for statement credits (minimum $10)
- Earns unlimited double reward points on all gas, grocery, and utility purchases
- No annual fee
- Available to applicants with fair credit
- Relatively high purchase APR, currently a variable 25.24%
How It Compares
Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard vs Chase Freedom Visa: Do you have good to excellent credit? Check out how the Barclaycard Rewards credit card stacks up against the Chase Freedom, a cash back credit card.
Interest Rates and Fees
|Introductory APR for Purchases||N/A||0% Intro APR for 15 Months|
|Introductory APR for Balance Transfers||N/A||0% Intro APR for 15 Months|
|Purchase APR||25.24%* Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors||14.24% to 23.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors|
|Balance Transfers APR||25.24%* Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors||14.24% to 23.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors|
Benefits and Features
|Introductory Bonus Cash Back||Introductory Bonus Cash Back: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening|
|Cash Back Rewards||Cash Back Rewards: Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic|
|Bonus Cash Back||Bonus Cash Back: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate.
It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter.|
Bonus Categories for 2016:
Q1 (January 1 – March 31, 2016): Gas stations and local commuter transportation (not including parking, tolls, and Amtrak® purchases)
Q2 (April 1 - June 30, 2016): Grocery stores (not including Walmart®, Target®, discount or warehouse club store purchases)
Q3 (July 1 – September 30, 2016): Restaurants (details TBA)
Q4 (October 1 – December 31, 2016): Holiday shopping (details TBA)
|Point Rewards||Point Rewards: 2X points on purchases for gas, groceries and utilities, and 1X points on all other purchases|
|Gas Rewards||Gas Rewards: 2X points on purchases for gas|
|Grocery Rewards||Grocery Rewards: 2X points on purchases for groceries|
Blank fields may indicate the information is not available, not applicable, or not known to CreditDonkey. Please visit the product website for details.
For applicants with a fair credit score, the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard is a good choice. It earns points on your purchases, has no annual fee, and is a solid general rewards card.
However, if you prefer cards that are geared towards specific rewards, Barclaycard also offers additional cards such as the Barclaycard Arrival Plus ($89 annual fee).
(This article was originally written by David and has been updated by Cynthia)
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David R is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped families make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Barclaycard. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Barclaycard. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.
Disclaimer: This content was first published on March 29, 2013. This content may have been updated on January 7, 2016. Information including APR, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check Barclaycard website for updated information.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.