Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® is a rewards credit card which you can get even if you have only fair credit. But at the same time it lets you earn the same high rewards that you normally find on top rewards cards for people with excellent credit. That makes this card stand out.
But the benefits don't stop at rewards, and even if you have excellent credit this card is still worth a closer look. This card has special perks that encourage you to build your credit, but it isn't the best card for you if paying your credit card bills on time is not a habit you possess. It also isn't a great card to get if you have credit card debt you want to transfer, and you will find out why as you read on. I've done a detailed review here so that you can have a better idea of the pros and cons of the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard®, and see how it compares to other rewards cards.
Things We Like About Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard®
No annual fee. This is a great benefit, considering you can earn up to 2x points on certain purchases! Most other cards for fair credit either skimp on the rewards, or charge you an annual fee.
Earn 2x points on purchases for gas, groceries and utilities. When you use this card to pay for gas, cover your utility bills and buy groceries, you earn 2 points per $1 of purchases. You won't earn these 2x points when you buy groceries at Target® and Walmart®, so if those are your main grocery destinations be prepared to earn lower rewards. But if you buy your groceries at other stores then this is a very rewarding grocery credit card.
You earn 1x points on all other purchases. You can also earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases and as long as your account is open, active and in good standing they will not expire. The categories of purchases which you earn high rewards for are things that you most likely spend a good amount of money on every month, which sets this card apart from other rewards cards which save their higher rewards for less common purchases like dining out and travel.
Points can be redeemed for a wide variety of things. You can use your points to redeem for gift cards, statement credit or statement credit for purchases made within the last 90 days. You can also redeem them as a deposit into your (U.S.) checking or savings account. You will need 1,000 points minimum in order to redeem (1,000 points are worth $10) for any of these options. One thing that would have been nice is if they had included a points transfer option, but considering you can always redeem for gift cards or a deposit and then gift that. There's no cap on the number of points you can redeem.
No limit on the amount of points you can earn. This allows you to collect as many points as you like and then redeem them towards a big purchase (as a statement credit), get gift cards towards things you would normally pay for, or get money deposited into your U.S. savings or checking account.
Active card members will also benefit from free access to their FICO® Credit Score online. This is a big perk which you don't get with most credit cards. If you have fair credit, tracking your credit score can help motivate you to continually improve your credit. The FICO® Score is the credit score that many lenders look at. Reports will also be sent to each of the three major credit bureaus each month to help you rebuild your credit score.
You get alerts if your credit score changes. Every time your credit score changes (good or bad) you get an alert, so you can see your progress immediately, and be alerted if something you are doing is damaging your credit score.
You may get a credit line increase when you make payments on time. Barclaycard will review your credit line after you make 5 consecutive on-time payments. So paying your credit card bill in full and online won't only help you avoid paying the APR, but it will also help you get a bigger credit limit.
No over-the-limit fee. If you go over your spending limit, you won't have to pay any over-the-limit fee. Many cards charge an over-limit fee when you pay for a purchase that overshoots your credit limit.
Chip card technology gives your card global acceptance and also provides better security compared to magnetic strip cards (when you use it at chip-card terminals). EMV chip credit cards are becoming the new standard in the U.S., so this card is future-ready.
Your protected with $0 fraud liability on unauthorized charges. If your Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® is lost or stolen and used without your authorization, you will not be liable for those charges. This perk gives you a lot of peace of mind. Just make sure to report the loss or theft as quickly as possible.
Our Least Favorite Things About Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard®
No 0% introductory APR on purchases or balance transfers. Unlike many other rewards cards out there, this card doesn't have any 0% intro APR offer for new card members.
High APR on purchases and balance transfers. If you carry a balance on this card, a 25.24% variable APR will apply. Because this card is designed for people with average credit, the APR is relatively high compared to a card that's meant for people with excellent credit. I recommend that you pay off your balance each month so as not to incur any interest fees! This also isn't a good card to transfer any credit card balances onto, because it has a high APR and the balance transfer fee is 3% of each balance transfer (not less than $5).
You pay a high cash advance fee when you use this card to get cash (at ATMs, for example). The cash advance fee is 5% of each cash advance, and the minimum cash advance fee you will pay every time you get a cash advance is $10. So if you are in the habit of drawing cash from your credit card, this card can get quite expensive. Stick to using your card to pay at merchants directly in order to earn rewards and avoid paying to get cash.
How Other Cards Compare With Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard®Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a nice rewards card for those who have excellent credit (compare that to Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® which you can get with fair credit) and don't mind an introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95 (Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® has no annual fee). Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card rewards you with 2 points per $1 on travel and dining at restaurants, and 1 point per $1 for all your other purchases. This Chase card has solid travel benefits, so if you travel a lot then you should consider this card. If you just want rewards for your daily purchases, then Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® is probably a better choice, especially if you aren't sure that your credit is excellent.
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, a partner card, lets you earn 2 ThankYou Points for each $1 spent on restaurants dining and entertainment, and 1 ThankYou Point on other purchases. Points don't expire and you can collect as many as you want. By comparison, Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® rewards you for more everyday purchases, as it gives you 2X points per $1 on purchases for groceries, gas and utilities (and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases). The ThankYou rewards program you get with Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card might give it a slight advantage, as you can redeem rewards in many different ways (Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® rewards you with points which can be redeemed for statement credits and gift cards). Both cards have no annual fee, but you have to have excellent credit to apply for Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card. On the other hand you can get Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® as long as you have fair credit, so it's much more accessible.
Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card is similar to Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® because it's also a card for people with fair credit. But it lets you earn cash back rewards rather than points. You earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, which is much better than the 1% that most cash back credit cards give you. But other than the fair credit requirement and the fact that this is a rewards card (albeit cash back), it doesn't have a whole lot in common with Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard®. First of all, this card offers a 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months (23.24% variable APR after), while Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® doesn't have an intro APR offer. You pay a $39 annual fee to use Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card, while Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® has no annual fee. You can earn some decent cash back with this card, as you get cash back for all purchases you make, though you have to take what you spend on the annual fee into account.
Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® has no annual fee and lets you earn rewards at a rate comparable to most top rewards cards. You can get it even if you only have fair credit.
The Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® is an excellent choice of card for those of you who have fair credit and want a card that rewards you on all your spending. The thing I like most about this card is that you get to earn 2x points on groceries, gas and utility purchases, and face it, unless you are a restaurant critic or a travel journalist by profession, you probably spend more money on groceries, gas and utilities than what you spend on things like travel, going to the movies and eating out. So the rewards categories offered by Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® have a wide appeal. On top of that, you earn 1x points on all other purchases.
Another advantage of this card is that points don't expire and there's no redemption fee, no matter what you choose to redeem your points for. You may redeem your points as statement credit, which can be used towards paying any purchase made with this card, as a deposit into a U.S. checking or savings account, or for gift cards (which can be redeemed for stuff you would otherwise buy). So the way you redeem points is very practical and flexible as well. Just note that this is not a good card to use if you don't pay your balance in full by the due date every month, as it has a 25.24% variable APR! But as long as you do make your payments in full and on time, this is one of the best rewards credit cards you can get with fair credit.
Katrina Gutierrez is a writer at GET.com. Email: email@example.com.Editorial Disclosure: Any personal views and opinions expressed by the author in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of GET.com. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the companies mentioned, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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