Barclays Rewards MasterCard Review: A Promising New Card From an Old Bank
One of the most venerable banks in the world is now offering a rewards credit card to consumers in the United States. The Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard® - Excellent Credit is another in the recent trend of credit card offerings that go back to basics with a straightforward, non-rotating rewards system.
Barclays promises that the Rewards MasterCard will provide cardholders with extra rewards for the things they buy most every day. Let's take a look at whether or not the Barclays Rewards MasterCard lives up to its promises.
First, a Little History
Barclays has been around for more than 300 years. The founders began as goldsmith bankers in Lombard Street, London, in 1690. The name didn't include "Barclay" until the son-in-law of one of the founders joined the business. Over time, the name evolved, and Barclays is one of the most trusted and well-known banks in the world.
Through the centuries, Barclays has helped finance fast passenger ships, car manufacturers, and mass transit systems. The bank even remained open during the Blitz of 1940, when the Luftwaffe bombed London. Barclays was also responsible for the UK's first credit card, the Barclaycard, and the world's first ATM. Today, Barclays sponsors sports teams and youth initiatives.
Now, Barclays is working to establish itself in the United States, and one of its offerings is the Barclays Rewards MasterCard.
How This Card Works
The Barclays Rewards MasterCard comes with a straightforward points rewards system. You receive two points for each dollar spent when you buy gas and groceries. You also receive two points per dollar for utility payments made with your credit card. All other purchases earn one point for each dollar.
You can redeem your points like cash to pay for purchases you have already made, meaning that your points are essentially redeemed for statement credit. This system means that you don't have to worry about blackout dates and other restrictions on reward redemption. Barclays doesn't limit your ability to earn points and cash back/statement credit.
Because there are no category rotations, you don't have to sign up to receive your rewards each quarter. You just make purchases as always to receive your rewards points.
You won't pay an annual fee with this Barclaycard. Additionally, there is a 0% APR on purchases, good for 12 months. Barclays is also a running bonus promotion. You receive 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in qualified purchases in 90 days — enough to redeem for $100.
Barclays won't charge you a fee if you are over the credit limit.
As with many other credit cards, you receive standard benefits, including $0 fraud liability, travel insurance, and other perks. This card comes with MasterCard benefits, and you qualify for them depending on which account you end up with. Platinum, World, and World Elite benefits apply, depending on which version of MasterCard you receive as your Barclays Rewards MasterCard.
While you won't pay an annual fee, and you don't have to worry about over the limit fees, there are some other costs associated with this card. After the introductory period ends, you will have to pay interest on carried balances. Right now, you will pay 14.99%, 19.99%, or 24.99%, depending on your credit situation.
The cash advance APR is 25.24%, and there is a penalty APR that can result if you pay late. The penalty APR can be up to 27.24% The regular balance transfer APR is 4% (or $10, whichever is more), and there is a foreign transaction fee of 3%.
With the Barclays Rewards MasterCard there is also the chance of paying a late fee of $35 and a returned payment fee of $35. So, if you pay late, you will have to pay the fee, and you could be subject to the higher penalty APR.
The main benefit of the Barclays Rewards MasterCard is the generous bonus points on everyday purchases like groceries, gas, and utilities. This means that you don't have to worry about signing up for different categories each quarter. The types of purchases that garner you bonus points also make it easy to incorporate your credit card spending into your regular budget. Since you buy gas and groceries on a regular basis, this card rewards you for common purchases, rather than requiring you to go out of your way for entertainment and restaurants to get more points.
Additionally, the ease of redeeming rewards, and the fact that there are no blackouts and no limits, makes this program straightforward and easy to deal with. The bonus cash back, and the 12-month introductory APR, are also great features.
It's also a nice touch that there is no over the limit fee, along with no annual fee.
In order to participate in the rewards program, your account has to be in good standing. Also, read the fine print since there are account activity requirements associated with this card.
It's also a bit disappointing that there are foreign transaction fees. Many credit cards are moving away from these fees, and one would hope that a bank with an international reputation and presence wouldn't charge foreign transaction fees.
The "regular" balance transfer fee of 4% is also a little on the high end; there are cards that will do it for 3%.
Who This Card Is Best For
The Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard® - Excellent Credit is ideal for someone who is interested in earning extra rewards for everyday purchases. It's perfect for the consumer who puts all of his or her groceries and gas on the credit card and then pays the balance at the end of the month. It is also a great card for those who can arrange to pay their utilities automatically by credit card; you can get double the points without having to think about it.
Someone who regularly carries balances and who has fair credit probably won't see many benefits from this card, since the interest rate will be on the high end and offset the value of the rewards points.