Introduction - Though Barclays is a UK bank, it has a credit card presence in the US and is a issuer of quite a few affinity cards. The Barclays Rewards MasterCard is their own basic rewards card among their credit card offerings. We'll take a close look at it.
How Do You Earn Barclays Points? - Like all regular reward cards, you earn reward points based on the amount you spend on the card. For regular purchases, that is one reward point for every dollar you charge to the card. But in addition to that, you will earn double points for spending on gasoline, utilities and grocery expenses (note: it has to be an actual supermarket or grocer - discount warehouses do not count).
You can earn unlimited reward points and you can use points to redeem any purchase that is $25 and above. The points can be redeemed for airline tickets, used to redeem purchases at merchant and restaurants. Once you use your points to redeem for purchases you make, you will receive a statement credit.
Free FICO Scores - Barclays announced on 4th November 2013 that holders of several of their cards (including this one) will be able to see their FICO scores when they log into their account dashboard. That is no cost to this. This is a great because because no other major issuer has this feature and you normally have to pay for your FICO scores.
But You Have to Use Your Card - While looking at Barclays card page, I noticed that you have to be an active user (you should not let the card be inactive for more than 90 days) or you risk having your account closed and your points forfeited. I think this is actually a good thing because it cost issuers to maintain accounts (least of all inactive accounts).
Incentive to Sign Up - As an incentive to sign up new accounts, Barclays is offering 5,000 bonus points for new sign ups. You also get an introductory 0% APR for both purchases and balance transfer for 15 months. That is one of the most attractive 0% deals in the market today. For folks looking to do a balance transfer, this is definitely a card to consider.
How Does the Barclays Rewards MasterCard Compare To Other No Annual Fee Cards?
In our reviews, we like to compare the cards we are reviewing to their peers. For reward cards, this gets a little tricky because they come in all shapes and sizes. The rest comparison will be with no annual fee reward cards. They would include cards like Chase Sapphire (no annual fee version), Citi ThankYou Preferred, Discover Miles, Blue Sky from American Express.
One area where the Barclays card stand out is that they offer you double points for gasoline, utility and grocery spending. None of the no annual fee reward cards that we are aware of allow you to earn double points on these items. For example, the Premier Rewards Gold from Amex does allow you to earn double points on gasoline (but the card has a $175 annual fee). So in terms of earning points, the Barclays Rewards MasterCard stacks up pretty well with other no annual fee reward cards.
I can't really say in terms of rewards because I personally do not have this card and you need to have this card to access their reward program portal. But from what we can gather from their site, it is a really simple program whereby you simply purchase things on your card and you use points to redeem for them. In a sense, it resembles the Blue Sky and Discover Miles Card but it is even better. The Blue Sky and Discover Miles gives you statement credit for "travel expenses" whereas Barclays let's you claim statement credits for any purchases you make.
Is the Barclays Rewards MasterCard Good - In the competitive landscape of rewards card, the Barclays Rewards MasterCard has a couple of nice features going in its favor. Firstly, you can earn double points on gasoline, utilities and groceries. The reward program is also simple, which would appeal to many folks. It has has a great 0% deal that you might want to take advantage of.
Barclays Application Page - Below are screen shots of the application page should you decide to apply for this card.