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Updated March 2, 2016

Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard Review

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.
This article contains references to products from our partners. We receive compensation if you apply or shop through links in our content. You help support CreditDonkey by reading our website and using our links. (read more)

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, grocery stores (excluding Target® and Walmart®), and utilities. 1x points on all other purchases.

12/6/2016 Update: We're sorry, Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® is no longer available on CreditDonkey. This offer may have been discontinued or may no longer be available to new applicants.

Overall Score

3.8

Rewards

4.5

Interest Rates

3.0

Fees

3.5

Benefits

4.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Earn reward points for statement credits
  • No annual fee
  • 25.24% Variable APR

Bottom Line

Good rewards credit card for people with fair credit

Did you know: There is a newer Barclaycard rewards credit card. The Barclaycard CashForward offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

Rewards with No Annual Fee

Credit cards these days have awesome rewards ranging from crazy sign-up bonuses to high rewards. But they're only for people with excellent credit.

So what about those in the middle? Those of you working on your credit, but not quite high enough yet to be favored by the credit card gods? Thankfully there's the Barclaycard Rewards Mastercard. It's a good rewards credit card for those 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 (like the Barclaycard Ring).

Why This Card is a Good Choice

  • You only need fair credit: The credit card is available to people with just fair credit. In comparison, many rewards credit cards are only for people with excellent credit.

  • You want to earn points in the categories that matter. The best kind of cashback credit cards reward you for common purchases you make anyway. The Barclaycard Rewards gives you 2x points on gas, utility and grocery store (excluding Target® and Walmart®) purchases. 1x on everything else. Most likely, these are already a pretty big chunk of your monthly expenses. So this card makes for a good primary card.

    This card is also easy to use, as you also don't have to remember to sign up for bonus categories (unlike with some cards).

  • No limit on how much you earn: This card’s rewards are pretty simple; the points system is consistently applied, there’s no limit on how much points you can earn at the higher, 2-point tier.

  • You want points that are easy to use: You can redeem your points for statement credit or a deposit into your U.S. checking or savings account. You can also choose to exchange for a gift card. Redemptions start at 1,000 points for $10.

  • 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.

Rewards

© 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 store (excluding Target® and Walmart®), 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, for a deposit to a U.S. checking or savings account, or for gift cards. A statement credit will reduce your credit card 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: 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.

Points don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing. You risk losing your points if your account is inactive. Your Account cannot have been inactive for 7 billing cycles in a row (representing approximately 7 months). “Inactive” means you have no balance, no payments, and no transactions.

Build Credit

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 free online access to your FICO credit score. 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.

Pros

  • Earns reward points on all purchases; points can be redeemed for statement credits (minimum $10)
  • Earns unlimited double reward points on gas, grocery store (excluding Target® and Walmart®), and utility purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Available to applicants with fair credit

Cons

  • Relatively high purchase APR, currently a variable 25.24%
  • No introductory APR

How It Compares

Barclaycard Rewards vs Barclaycard CashForward: Do you have excellent credit? Then you may want to consider Barclaycard CashForward instead. In our opinion, this is the more superior card, but you'd need excellent credit to quality. You get 1.5% cashback on every purchase, as well as a sign-up bonus promotion. There is also no annual fee.

Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard vs Chase Freedom Visa:
Do you have good to excellent credit? The Chase Freedom has an interesting rewards structure. Every 3 months, there are rotating bonus categories where you can earn up to 5% cash back, and 1% on everything else. Past categories have included gas, supermarkets, restaurants, and Amazon. However, there is a limit ($1,500 in combined purchases each quarter) and you will need to remember to sign up for the categories each quarter.

But if you don't mind doing a bit of homework and the categories match your lifestyle, you could potentially earn more rewards with the Chase Freedom.

Bottom Line

For applicants with a fair credit score, the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard is a solid choice. It has a good rewards structure where you earn double points on gas, utility and grocery store (excluding Target® and Walmart®) purchases. Plus there is no annual fee. It also helps you build credit by reporting to the three major credit bureaus.

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)

12/6/2016 Update: We're sorry, Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® is no longer available on CreditDonkey. This offer may have been discontinued or may no longer be available to new applicants.

David R is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Write to David R at davidr@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped families make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

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 March 2, 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.

Disclaimer: The information for the Chase Freedom has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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Compare Barclaycard Rewards to:

Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
Apply for Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 Miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile for every dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
  • Check your first bag free on every Delta flight - that's a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
  • Settle in sooner with Priority Boarding.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Introductory Bonus Airline RewardsAirline RewardsCar Rental InsuranceExtended WarrantyPurchase Protection$0 Fraud LiabilityEmergency Assistance
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
16.49% - 25.49% Variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95

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About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy financial decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.