Barclay Ring MasterCard Review

barclay_ring_mastercardThe Barclaycard Ring MasterCard is a low-interest credit card which is well-suited to people who routinely carry a balance on their credit card. This card is marketed as a community – based credit card where members have a voice on product changes, share in community profits and even maintain a blog. It is not a rewards card so purchases do not earn cash back, miles or points. At this time, there is no signup bonus or introductory APR offer available to new account holders. The Ring MasterCard has no annual fee.

The most appealing feature of this card is its low interest rate. Members receive a variable 8% APR (based on the Prime Rate) on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.

Other highlights of the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard are:

  • No balance transfer fees (typically 3% – 5% with other cards)
  • No foreign transaction fees (generally 3% with other cards)
  • No annual fee
  • Cash advance fee of $3 per transaction
  • Chip-card technology for enhanced security
  • Complimentary FICO Credit Score (easily accessed online 24/7)

Card members are automatically enrolled in the Giveback program which is a profit sharing aspect of this card. It is not based on the actual profits of the program and it is offered solely at the discretion of Barclaycard (and may be discontinued at any time without notice). Your specific Giveback calculations and amount will be presented online and you do not have to register or log in to receive the reward.

The Facts

Below we have broken down the specifics of the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard to help you decide if it’s a good choice.

The Good:

Low APR:

All cardholders receive the same variable 8% APR which applies to purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.   If you routinely carry a balance on your credit card, this low interest rate can save you a significant amount in finance charges.

No balance transfer fees:

If you transfer an existing high-interest credit card balance to this card, you will not be charged a balance transfer fee. Most cards typically charge a fee of 3% – 5% per transfer.

No annual fee:

There is no annual fee associated with this card.

Giveback program:

Cardholders are automatically enrolled in the Giveback program which is offered by Barclaycard. This is a profit sharing feature of this card in which funds are distributed to members solely at the discretion of Barclaycard. (Note: The program may be discontinued at any time and without prior notice.) The amount of the distribution is not based on the profits of the program but often depends on how often members use their cards and refer new customers.

Free access to FICO Credit Score:

Members have 24/7 online access to their FICO Credit Score which can be a valuable tool in managing your finances and keeping track of your credit.

No foreign transaction fee:

Account holders are not charged a foreign transaction fee when making purchases on the card while traveling internationally. Other cards typically charge 3% – 4% per transaction.

Smart-chip technology:

The Barclaycard Ring MasterCard comes with embedded-chip technology for added security when making transactions at a chip-enabled terminal.

Low cash advance fee:

Members are charged a flat $3 fee for every cash advance. Many other credit cards charge up to $10 per advance so overall, this is a reasonable rate.

Important: Cash equivalent purchases are treated as cash advances and therefore are each subject to the $3 fee. These include purchases of:

  • Money orders
  • Traveler’s checks
  • Foreign currency
  • Lottery tickets
  • Gambling chips
  • Wire transfers

The Bad:

No 0% introductory APR:

This card does not offer new members a 0% introductory APR. However, the ongoing 8% APR that is offered is very low in today’s market. Many times after an introductory APR ends, you are hit with an APR of at least twice the 8% applied here – so all in all, this is a very good deal.

Not everyone will qualify:

Generally, applicants will need excellent credit (FICO 740+) to qualify for the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard. It does not come in different versions (such as Platinum, World or World Elite) based on your creditworthiness.

The Ugly:

No rewards or cash back program:

This card does not have a rewards program so members do not earn cash back, miles or points on purchases. While you may earn some rewards through the Giveback program, these rewards are based on the cardmember community as a whole and not on your individual purchases. If you are looking for an actual rewards card, you might want to consider the Barclay Rewards MasterCard (2X cash back on groceries, gas and utilities and 1X cash back on all other purchases – all with no annual fee).

The Ring MasterCard is a solid choice for people who routinely carry a balance on their credit card and want an ongoing low interest rate (8%). There is the possibility of receiving cash rewards through the Giveback program but it is not guaranteed so this should not be considered a rewards card.