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The Barclaycard Rewards Mastercard® is a cash back rewards credit card with no annual fee, a straightforward rewards program, and relatively laid-back credit requirements for applicants. It earns a flat, unlimited 2% cash back on gas, utility, and grocery store purchases, and a flat, unlimited 1% cash back on everything else.
Depending on how you spend, Barclaycard Rewards Mastercard may be a somewhat less generous version of the Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard® (note: this offer is no longer available), which earns a flat, unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. CashForward has some nice perks, such as a $200 sign-up bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days and a 15-month 0% APR introductory promotion for purchases and balance transfers
Barclaycard Rewards Mastercard is comparable some other entry-level cash back cards without annual fees, including Chase Freedom, BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card, and Discover it Chrome. It’s important to note that Barclaycard Rewards Mastercard is specifically marketed to applicants with fair credit, so it’s a legitimate contender for credit card novices in search of their first cash back cards, as well as consumers who need to rebuild their credit after setbacks such as bankruptcy (though Barclaycard Rewards Mastercard isn’t intended for people who’ve recently declared bankruptcy).
There is currently no sign-up bonus offer for this card.
Earning and Redeeming Cash Back Rewards
Barclaycard Rewards Mastercard tracks cash back earnings in point form, with 1 point always worth $0.01. You earn an unlimited 2 points per $1 spent on gas, utilities (such as electricity and water), and grocery store (excluding Walmart and Target) purchases. All other purchases earn an unlimited 1 point per $1 spent. You can redeem your accumulated cash back points for checking and savings account deposits, statement credits, and gift cards, starting at a 1,000-point ($10) redemption minimum.
There is no annual fee. Foreign transactions cost 3% of the transaction amount. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3% of the transferred amount, while cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%. Late and returned payments cost $37.
Complimentary FICO Score
Barclaycard Rewards Mastercard comes with complimentary access to your FICO score, which is accessible through your account dashboard.
This card requires fair credit. Even if your applications for other credit cards have been denied in the past, you may be eligible for this card. However, very serious credit issues, such as recent bankruptcies or multiple delinquencies, are likely to disqualify you.
- No Annual Fee. Barclaycard Rewards Mastercard does not have an annual fee. This is a nice perk for cardholders who don’t spend heavily enough (and accumulate rewards fast enough) to offset an annual fee, as well as cardholders who prefer not to cut into their annual cash back earnings with a recurring charge every 12 months. Some cash back cards for people with average credit, such as Capital One QuicksilverOne ($39), charge annual fees.
- Available to Applicants With Fair Credit. This card has fairly relaxed credit standards – it’s one of the few cash back credit cards advertised as suitable for applicants with fair credit. Most competing cards are designed for applicants with good to excellent credit, leaving millions of consumers with middling credit in the lurch.
- No Limits on 2x Rewards Categories. Barclaycard Rewards Mastercard’s 2x rewards categories don’t have spending limits or other restrictions – you can earn as many points as you wish on gas, utility, and grocery store spending. By contrast, Discover it Chrome‘s 2% cash back categories are limited to $1,000 in spending per quarter – meaning your bonus earnings are capped at $20 per quarter.
- Reasonable Redemption Threshold. This card has a relatively low redemption threshold – just $10. That’s great news for light-spending cardholders who don’t accumulate rewards quickly enough to reach higher redemption thresholds within reasonable time-frames. Barclaycard Rewards Mastercard’s stablemate, Barclaycard CashForward World Mastercard (note: this offer is no longer available), is especially bad on this point – it requires cardholders to accumulate at least $50 before redeeming.
- Automatic Credit Line Review After Six Months. If you remain current on your card payments for six consecutive months, Barclaycard reviews your account to determine whether you’re eligible for a credit line increase. Though the review doesn’t guarantee an increase, it’s nice to know that you’re automatically in line for a higher spending limit after just six months of responsible credit card use.
- No Sign-up Bonus. This card does not come with a sign-up bonus. That’s a drawback relative to many other cash back cards, which typically offer sign-up bonuses of $100 to $150.
- No Introductory APR. This card has no introductory APR for purchases or balance transfers. This places it in a distinct minority of cash back cards, most of which have introductory periods lasting at least 9 months. This is a particularly vexing drawback in light of the high regular APR for purchases and balance transfers, and makes Barclaycard Rewards Mastercard one of the least attractive balance transfer cards on the market.
- High APR. This card has a high regular APR for purchases and balance transfers – higher than virtually any other widely used cash back credit card, and a major drawback for cardholders who occasionally make late payments.
- Has a Foreign Transaction Fee. This card comes with a 3% foreign transaction fee, so it’s not ideal to use outside the United States. Some cash back cards, including competing cards offered by Discover and Capital One, waive foreign transaction fees.
The Barclaycard Rewards Mastercard® isn’t very exciting or innovative. Whereas more generous stablemates get lots of promotional firepower, Barclaycard treats Barclaycard Rewards Mastercard as a glorified afterthought.
But that doesn’t mean that Barclaycard Rewards Mastercard doesn’t have a place in the wallets of millions of Americans. Thanks to its laid-back credit standards and solid rewards program, it’s a legitimate choice for aspiring credit card users who lack great credit but wish to earn a little something back on their spending. Folks who’ve been turned down by more generous credit cards are welcome – and encouraged – to apply. After a year or two of responsible use, they may just find themselves in line for cards with more generous rewards programs, more expansive fringe benefits, and better rates and terms.