Barclays Rewards MasterCard For Average Credit - Review
 

BarclayCard® Rewards MasterCard® - Average Credit Review

Picture of Item Reviewed
Editor's Rating:
One of the rare reward cards that explicitly says that they are targeting folks with average credit (around 650 to 700), which is great news for many people since you would be stuck with high fee cards otherwise. You also get to earn double points on gasoline, grocery and utility expenses. A nice reward program, no annual fee makes this card a no brainer if your credit is simply average. Card members will also be able to get their FICO scores from account for free (announced on 4th November on Barclays Facebook page).
Intro Purchase APR Regular APR Annual Fee Issuer Credit Needed
N.A. 24.99%*(variable) $0 Barclays Bank Average
Feature Summary
  • No annual fee
  • Earn double points on for gas, grocery and utility spending
  • Suitable if you have average credit
  • Can get FICO scores

Barclays appears to be taking the route of Capital One whereby they are explicitly targeted people with different credit scores with the same card. But the interest rates vary depending on one's credit. This is in huge contrast to most card issuers, where a specific card is targeted at a certain market segment (many times based on credit score).

So this version of the card is for those with average credit. There are different terms and conditions if you have excellent credit.

So what is the different in terms in you have average credit vs excellent credit? - Well, the first difference is obviously the interest rate. If you have average credit and get approved for this card, your interest rate (APR) will be 24.99% (this is a variable rate tied to the prime rate). If you have excellent credit and get approved, your interest rate will range between 14.99% and 24.99%. That means there is a chance you might get a rate that is ten percentage points lower. If you carry a balance, this might mean a big deal. If you don't (which we always recommend), then it does not matter anyway. But hey, if you credit is not as good as someone else, then you should expect to get a higher rate.

What Do Both Versions Have In Common? - They both have no annual fees. They both allow you to earn double points on gasoline, grocery and utility spending. They even have the same card design. So you cannot distinguish "status" by looking at the card! One great thing that they have in common is that you can access your FICO scores when you log into your account. Barclays announced this on 4th November 2013 on their facebook page and this card was included in the list.

How does this card compare with Capital One Cards targeting people with average credit? - In my review of the version for excellent credit, I did some comparisons with other no annual fee reward cards and found this card to be superior in the sense that you could earn double points on gasoline, grocery and utility spending. Many other similar cards only allow you to earn one point for every dollar that you spend (think Citi Thank You cards).

But I thought that for this version, a better comparison would be with other Capital One cards since they are the other issuer that specifically targets those with "average credit". And right off the bat, I would say that this card is superior to all of Cap One's cards. Why? Because Capital One charges an annual fee for all their "average credit" cards. For example, the Capital One "Platinum" Card has an $19 annual fee. The Capital One cash rewards comes with a $39 annual fee. Their "Classic Platinum" version also has a $39 annual fee. Furthermore, none of them pays double points or cash back on any expense category like this card does. 

A great card to get if you have fair credit - If you have average credit (think 650 to 700), this is card you should strongly consider. To be honest, you might get approved for better cards from other issuers that are targeting the prime sector as long as you do not have any negative items on your credit reports for the last couple of years. But to be safe, this card specifically targets those with average credit and there is a good chance of getting approved. I would urge you to pay your bills in full because the interest you will be paying isn't particular low or attractive for you to carry a balance.

If your credit is not good enough to get higher end cards, this is a good one to start building up your score (Barclays explicitly says that their cards report to all three major credit bureaus) and earning some rewards at the same time without having to pay any annual fees. The bonus you have with this card is that you can get access to your FICO scores without having to pay for it.