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Barclaycard Ring: A Low-Interest Credit Card That Listens to You

Aug. 8, 2018
Credit Cards, Low Interest and No Fee Credit Cards
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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

This offer is no longer available

The Chase Slate® is no longer available on Nerdwallet. The terms of the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® also changed in July 2018, so the information below may no longer be accurate. For current offers, see NerdWallet’s best balance transfer credit cards.

The crowdsourced Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® is like a credit union credit card, without the credit union: It comes with a strong sense of community and a low interest rate.

Through the card’s crowdsourced product management system, cardholders have a direct say in product changes, a feature no other major credit card offers. And if you plan to carry debt for several years, this low-interest card’s ongoing rates will likely save you more than most introductory 0% APR offers.

But it’s not an easy card to get — you’ll need excellent credit to qualify.

Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®: Benefits and basics

The Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® minimizes cardholder expenses across the board, while letting cardholders suggest product improvements through its online community. Its best features include:

No fees (for the most part). The Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® comes with an annual fee of $0, no balance transfer fees on transfers that post to the account after 45 days of account opening, and no foreign transaction fees, making it an economical choice for someone carrying a balance or traveling abroad. It comes with a flat $3 cash advance fee and late fees up to $26, but you can avoid these by paying on time and not using your card to take cash out of the ATM.

Low ongoing interest rates. 0% on Balance Transfers for 12 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening, and then the ongoing APR of 13.74% Variable APR. That’s unusually low — and much lower than the average credit card APR, which is about 12%, according to Federal Reserve data. Unlike with other cards, that flat APR applies for all transactions, including purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.

A card with an introductory 0% APR period would be a better fit if you had a big purchase you could pay off quickly. You’d likely still have a lower average interest rate with a 0% APR card even if you paid the ongoing interest rate for a few years, but that average interest rate would get higher with time. When carrying a debt for more than about five years, the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®’s low ongoing APR will likely save you more in the long run.

Voting on product features. If you want to bend your bank’s ear, the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® is your card. You’ll be able to suggest new card features to the community managers directly and weigh in on new product ideas, the sort of influence you wouldn’t be able to get with any other type of credit card.

You’ll also get to see the profit and loss reports for the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®, and earn a small payout through the card’s Giveback program every six months if you meet certain spending requirements. These rewards can be redeemed as a statement credit or check. This profit-sharing system is similar to the loyalty-based dividends many credit unions pay their members: The more money the card makes, and the more you use it, the more you’ll get back.

Using Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® as a balance transfer card

The terms on the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® make it an attractive balance transfer option for certain consumers.

The typical balance transfer credit card has a 0% introductory APR for 12 to 18 months, after which the interest rate rises — usually to a higher rate than that on the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®. Most of these cards also charge a balance transfer fee of 3% to 5%, although a handful do not.

The lower ongoing rate on the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® coupled with the absence of transfer fees means that if you had a debt that you needed only a few months to pay down, you could save money by moving it to this card vs. a 0% balance transfer card with an upfront fee.

Further, because there are never balance transfer fees, keeping this card in your wallet gives you the option to execute multiple transfers over time. Say you have a big purchase coming up that you’d like to pay down over a few months. Put it on your rewards card to earn cash or miles, but avoid paying the high APRs typically charged by rewards cards by shifting the balance to the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®.

Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®: Pitfalls and other possibilities

The Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®’s consumer-first vision comes with some costs. Here’s where this card falls short:

Requires excellent credit. The Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® is designed for people who plan to carry credit card debt long-term and want an issuer that will be open to suggestions. That’s an easy sell. The trickier part is, you need excellent credit to qualify. And if you’re dealing with chronic debt, you might not have the best credit.

If you’re starting with fair credit, consider the Chase Slate® instead. It comes with an APR period that’s hard to find when you have subpar credit: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 16.49% - 25.24% Variable APR. It also has a $0 introductory balance transfer fee during the first 60 days.

Ongoing interest rate could be lower. The Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®’s APR is low, but it’s hardly the lowest available. If you wanted a lower rate, you’d probably be better off with a card from a credit union. Credit unions generally let only members apply for cards, but sometimes, establishing membership is easier than you’d think.

Rewards tied to the credit card’s performance. Profit-sharing is nice, but unpredictable. If you want to have more direct control over how many rewards you’re earning, go for a card with a long 0% APR period and a clear-cut rewards program. The Discover it® Cash Back, which offers rotating 5% bonus categories and 1% on everything else, could be a good alternative.

Is the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® right for you?

The Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® is designed for a very specific person in mind: someone who plans to carry credit card debt long-term, wants an issuer that listens, and has excellent credit. If you’re that person, the card is a good match.

Information related to the Chase Slate® has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Claire Tsosie is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: Twitter: @ideclaire7.