Barclaycard Ring MasterCard Review: Low Interest
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With a low 8.5% variable APR on balance transfers and purchases, and a community-driven approach for its fees and benefits, the Barclaycard Ring™ MasterCard® might be the world's best social credit card.
Pros and Cons
- Low 8.5% variable APR
- No annual fee
- No balance transfer fee
- Profit sharing
- Uncertainty with profit sharing
- No intro APR
Excellent low interest rate credit card with no annual fee
Just about every credit card dictates its terms and conditions. Sign up for the card and you’re stuck with whatever the company tells you, from the APR to the fee details to the way the issuer handles customer calls. The Barclaycard Ring MasterCard turns that tradition upside down, by giving cardholders collectively a say in some of the details, providing them with a low interest rate, and letting them benefit when the majority of users have behaved themselves.
Who This Card Is Good For
- Cardholders who need to carry a balance: While paying off your credit cards every month is ideal, sometimes you either can’t or you may have a cash strategy that has you paying off other debts instead. With a low interest rate, the Barclaycard Ring won't hurt as much when you can't pay the balance in full. And if you have a balance going on another card with a higher APR, you'd be smart to transfer it to this one — and there’s no balance transfer fee (a rarity with credit cards).
- Anyone averse to fees: No one likes credit card fees, but in general most of us just accept that it’s a part of the deal. For the Barclaycard Ring, you can feel satisfied when you sign up, knowing there is no annual fee, no balance transfer fee, and no foreign transaction fee.
Need a Low Interest Rate? Why This Card Is a Good Choice
- You can stick with this card for the long term: Some cardholders move around from one promotional APR offer to the next, terrified of the double-digit interest rates that their cards usually charge. With the Barclaycard Ring you don’t have to sign up for a new account every few months because this card’s everyday APR is lower than most credit cards.
- There is no balance transfer fee: When you've decided to consolidate your debt onto a card with a low APR, you can often get caught in a loop of moving your balances around to whatever card has a low interest rate offer at the time. Problem is you pay a balance transfer fee every time. With this card, you won’t have to pay a balance transfer fee and could potentially save more money in the long run with a low interest rate, depending on how large your balance is.
- You’ll have support in paying off your balance: This card is meant for cardholders to motivate and learn off each other, with its social media component. If you need help making a dent in your debt, you could turn to the card community and get some advice and the motivation you need.
To learn more why the Barclaycard Ring is a good choice, including the online application, here is a link to Barclaycard's secure website.
|© Susanne Nilsson (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr|
The Barclaycard Ring offers a unique bonus program that is based on the input and actions of cardholders. It's considered the world's first "crowdsourced" credit card, where cardholders can vote on details of how the card will evolve as well as interact with one another via the community blog. The Giveback rewards are based on a "transparent calculation" and then divvied up accordingly.
It’s a novel and modern card that lets cardholders vote on what benefits or features they want and share in the estimated profit of the community's financial performance. How these benefits will compare to more traditional card programs in the long run is debatable (cash back credit cards, for example, are a more predictable way to rack up rewards), but it is certainly a creative concept.
We think it’s a card worth considering, mostly because of its low interest rate and lack of an annual fee. It’s especially useful for users who tend to carry a balance or want a new card to transfer a balance and don’t want to pay a lot to make the move (the card has no balance transfer fee, a rarity these days).
Low Fees and Interest Rate
No annual fees, no balance transfer fees, and low interest rates make this card very competitive.
Currently, it has an 8.5% variable rate, which is less than what many competing rewards credit cards charge. Even cash advances are 8.5% variable APR, which is a third of what some other competing cards charge. There is a simple $3 transaction fee for each cash advance, while other cards tend to charge a percentage, usually ranging from 3% to 5%.
For international travelers, it's worth noting that the Barclaycard Ring has no foreign transaction fees.
No Balance Transfer Fee
A common marketing point for credit cards is that you can transfer your balances over from other accounts to save money with a lower interest rate. But, you usually need to pay an upfront transfer fee of 3% or so of your transfer. With the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard, you won’t have this issue, as it doesn’t charge a fee on balance transfers. This means you can shift your other card balances to this low-interest program without adding any extra charges to your debt.
Giveback Profit Sharing Program
The Barclaycard Ring MasterCard is partially run by its cardholders. Each year, cardholders will be able to vote on the card’s policies and see how the program is doing financially. Members will have an incentive to run the card well because they will receive part of the card’s estimated profits based on the community's financial performance.
Keep in mind, this is not based on the actual profits of the program. The Giveback program is based on a calculation (available online at Barclaycard Ring's website) that determines the "profit share." Cardholders will have the option of receiving a statement credit or donating to a charity, or a combination of the two. If you opt for the charitable donation, note that it will not be eligible for a tax refund and no tax receipt will be given. However, a nice plus is that Barclaycard will match your donation, dollar for dollar.
Complimentary FICO score: a FICO score helps lenders determine your credit worthiness, so it's important for you to monitor it. Scores range between 300 and 850, and any score over 720 is considered excellent. Your track record for paying your bills on time and your debt to credit limit ratio have a big impact on your score. If you see a big drop in the score even though your payments are prompt and you don't carry a large balance, you may be a victim of identity theft. This is why it's a major advantage to have immediate access to your FICO score. For an in-depth explanation of your score and how it affects you as a borrower, visit www.creditdonkey.com/good-credit-score.html
No Formal Rewards
While the Giveback profit sharing program is certainly an interesting idea, right now it’s difficult to forecast how much you will actually make per year. This makes this bonus program a bit of a risky proposition as there are no other rewards with this card. It’s possible that you could be a responsible cardholder all year but receive no rewards from this card. However, you do see a "profit and loss statement" each month, so you do have a general sense of historical performance. For those willing to take a chance with the novel idea of community-driven credit card, it could be a great opportunity for early adopters.
If you’d rather not participate just yet, because this program is so new, it might be a good idea to wait a year or two to see how generous this program actually turns out to be.
- Low interest rate with an 8.5% variable APR on balance transfers and purchases
- No annual fee and no fee on balance transfers
- Giveback profit sharing program
- Vote on card benefits or features
- Uncertainty with the Giveback profit sharing program
- No introductory APR
The community-based blog is a plus for those who like to "get involved" and voice your opinion to someone other than a customer service rep. But you could also ignore it and still take advantage of the attractive perks the Barclaycard Ring has to offer.
If you're looking for low interest rates or are an early adopter interested in the potential upside with the community-driven nature of the card, the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard is a good choice. As far as rewards go, this card’s Giveback program is interesting and has the potential to be lucrative; however, the community-dependent nature of the card might make a traditional rewards credit card a more predictable alternative.
(Originally written by David; revised by Cynthia)
David R is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Write to David R at email@example.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.
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 January 25, 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.