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Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard: Uncapped Cash Back on Gas and Groceries

Dec. 9, 2015
The Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard®: Uncapped Cash Back on Gas and Groceries
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  • Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard®
  • Chase Freedom®
  • Chase Slate®

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 If you’re looking for a straight-to-the-point cash-back credit card that offers solid rewards on everyday categories, the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® could fit the practical bill. This card doesn’t have the glitz and glamour of some other higher-tier rewards cards, but it’ll certainly do the job for most spenders.

The Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard®: Benefits and basics

The Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® earns 2 points per dollar spent on gas, groceries and utilities with 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. Points can be redeemed as cash-back statement credits and various gift cards starting at 1,000 points for $10.

Beyond the basic reward structure, several other features make the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® a standout piece of plastic.

Complimentary FICO Score

Growing your credit score means knowing your credit score. Because the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® offers a free monthly FICO score on your statement, you’ll know how your score is changing based on your spending activity from month to month. If you’re doing the right things, your score will go up. If you see your score falling, you’ll know that it’s time to make adjustments.

Unlimited bonus rewards

Most rewards cards put limits on how much spending is eligible for bonus category rewards. The Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® is an exception, earning an unlimited 2 points per dollar spent on gas, groceries and utilities. Uncapped points on common categories means a fast-growing rewards balance, if you spend heavily on the bonus options.

No annual fee

It’s not uncommon for rewards cards to come with an annual fee that might make you wonder whether signing up (or renewing) is worth the cost. But the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® does not fall into this pile; its annual fee is $0.

The Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard®: Pitfalls and other possibilities

Every card has its shortcomings, and the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® is no different. Here are a few of its drawbacks.

No bonus categories beyond 2x

The Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard®‘s bonus categories cap out at 2 points per dollar. While not a deal breaker by any means, other credit cards offer 3 or even 5 points per dollar on certain spending categories.

TheChase Freedom®, for example, offers 5% cash back on bonus categories that change each quarter (up to $1,500 spent quarterly), with an unlimited 1% earned year-round on all other purchases. Bonus categories typically include spending at places such as grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, wholesale clubs and a variety of other retailers (online and brick-and-mortar). And though the categories do change, each is typically common enough for most people to continue earning 5%.

New cardholders even have the chance to nab a sign-up bonus: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And, if you’re looking to finance a purchase, theChase Freedom® comes with a promotional APR: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases, and then the ongoing APR of 14.99% - 23.74% Variable APR.

With an annual fee of $0, theChase Freedom® matches the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® on yearly costs and provides an added bump on cash back throughout the year.

No promotional APR period

Many of the top-tier rewards cards come with a promotional 0% APR on purchases, balance transfers or both. The Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® comes with no such luxury. If you’re looking to finance a purchase or transfer an interest-accumulating balance, there are better choices.

One such option — and one of the best balance-transfer cards on the market — is the Chase Slate®. While most cards charge a hefty tariff on transfers (usually 3% to 5%), the Chase Slate® lets you Save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee and get 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and $0 annual fee. Plus, free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠ The free transfer is joined by the card’s promotional APR period: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 16.49% - 25.24% Variable APR.

A lengthy and cost-effective 0% APR, a $0 annual fee and a free monthly FICO score make the Chase Slate® a worthy competitor to the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® — if you’re looking to transfer a balance.

Is the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® right for you?

If gas, groceries and utilities are among your most frequent purchases, the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® will have you earning unlimited cash back every time you swipe. If you don’t mind sacrificing the stability of fixed rewards, though, you might be able to net a higher rewards percentage with a card that has rotating categories.