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Barclaycard Ring: Now an Ideal ‘Get-Out-of-Debt-Free’ Card

Credit Cards, Low Interest and No Fee Credit Cards
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BarclayCard Ring

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Some credit cards were born great; some have greatness thrust upon them. The latter applies to the Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard®, which has become one of the most valuable “get out of debt free” cards available.

For years, the Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® was a solid low-interest card. But five years after its launch, Barclaycard gave it an introductory 0% annual percentage rate period, catapulting it to balance transfer greatness. The catch: You’ll need excellent credit to qualify.

Why you should get the Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard®

You can wipe out debt with no interest or fees. The Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® is like a regular balance transfer credit card turned up to 11. Its powerful arsenal of features helps you trim costs as much as possible, including:

  • No balance transfer fees, ever. Most balance transfer cards charge a fee of 3% to 5% when you move debt. Some cards waive this fee for a short period. The Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® simply doesn’t charge it.
  • An annual fee of $0.
  • A long promotional APR period: 0% on Purchases for 15 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 15 months (on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening), and then the ongoing APR of 13.99% Variable APR.

This rare combination makes it a more cost-effective choice than competing balance transfer offers. The only other credit card from a major issuer with this trio of benefits is the Chase Slate®, which comes with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee for the first 60 days, then a fee of 5% of the transferred balance or $5, whichever is greater.

It lets you vote on product features. Most credit cards don’t solicit feedback and new ideas from cardholders. But the Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard®, which has fostered a tight-knit online community, is not like most cards. You can suggest product improvements and vote on card changes. It also shows its members the card’s profit-and-loss statements, another unconventional move for a card from a major issuer. And you earn rewards based on the card’s financial performance. 

It doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. It’s devilishly hard to find a low-interest credit card with no foreign transaction fees. Generally, that feature is touted by travel cards with high APRs — not low-interest cards. But the Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® nixes these 1% to 3% fees, making it a fine card to take abroad. Because it’s a MasterCard, you’ll be able to use it in just about any country.

» MORE: Barclaycard credit card mobile app review

Why you might consider another card

It requires excellent credit. There’s a paradox with balance transfer credit cards: The more you need one, the harder they can be to get. That’s the problem with the Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard®, which requires its applicants to have excellent credit. If you’re knee-deep in credit card debt, maintaining sterling credit and a low debt-to-income ratio is a big ask.

If your credit is less than excellent, look to the Chase Slate®. It offers almost identical benefits to the Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard®, but is available to people with average credit. Keep in mind, however, that the issuer may give you a smaller credit line if you have a lot of debt, which can affect your ability to take advantage of a balance transfer offer. If that happens, here’s what you can do about it.

Rewards are tied to the card’s performance. Credit cards generally pay out rewards based on how much you spend, but the Giveback program that the Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® offers is more complicated. Like a credit union profit-sharing dividend program, it depends mainly on two factors: how much you spend and the card’s financial performance. But this system is unpredictable. If the card doesn’t do well, you might not earn any rewards.

If you want a card that will help you earn big rewards after you’re done paying down debt, regardless of its balance sheet, consider the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. It offers high flat-rate cash-back rewards, and it features a long 0% balance transfer period. However, it charges a balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount of the transfer or $5, whichever is greater.

You also can check out the NerdWallet best credit cards page for more information on how these balance transfer cards stack up.

Is the Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® right for you?

The Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® is a slam-dunk card for a very specific person: someone who’s trying to get out of debt and has excellent credit. If that’s you, this card is a near-perfect match.

This article has been updated. It was originally published May 23, 2016. 

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